Background: Particulate air pollution is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events although the involved mechanisms are poorly understood. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of controlled exposure to ambient air fine and ultrafine particles on microvascular function and biomarkers related to inflammation, haemostasis and lipid and protein oxidation.
Methods: Twenty-nine subjects participated in a randomized, two-factor crossover study with or without biking exercise for 180 minutes and with 24 hour exposure to particle rich (number concentrations, NC: 11600 +/- 5600 per cm3, mass concentrations: 13.8 +/- 7.4 mug/m3 and 10.5 +/- 4.8 mug/m3 for PM10-2.5 and PM2.5, respectively) or particle filtered (NC: 555 +/- 1053 per cm3) air collected above a busy street. Microvascular function was assessed non-invasively by measuring digital peripheral artery tone following arm ischemia. Biomarkers included haemoglobin, red blood cells, platelet count, coagulation factors, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor alpha, lag time to copper-induced oxidation of plasma lipids and protein oxidation measured as 2-aminoadipic semialdehyde in plasma.
Results: No statistically significant differences were observed on microvascular function or the biomarkers after exposure to particle rich or particle filtered air.
Conclusion: This study indicates that exposure to air pollution particles at outdoor concentrations is not associated with detectable systemic inflammation, lipid or protein oxidation, altered haemostasis or microvascular function in young healthy participants.