Background: Exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) contributes to increased cardiovascular risk. Land-use regression models can improve exposure assessment for TRAP.
Objectives: We examined the association between medium-term concentrations of black carbon (BC) estimated by land-use regression and levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), both markers of inflammatory and endothelial response.
Methods: We studied 642 elderly men participating in the Veterans Administration (VA) Normative Aging Study with repeated measurements of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 during 1999-2008. Daily estimates of BC exposure at each geocoded participant address were derived using a validated spatiotemporal model and averaged to form 4-, 8-, and 12-week exposures. We used linear mixed models to estimate associations, controlling for confounders. We examined effect modification by statin use, obesity, and diabetes.
Results: We found statistically significant positive associations between BC and sICAM-1 for averages of 4, 8, and 12 weeks. An interquartile-range increase in 8-week BC exposure (0.30 μg/m3) was associated with a 1.58% increase in sICAM-1 (95% confidence interval, 0.18-3.00%). Overall associations between sVCAM-1 and BC exposures were suggestive but not statistically significant. We found a significant interaction with diabetes-where diabetics were more susceptible to the effect of BC-for both sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1. We also observed an interaction with statin use, which was statistically significant for sVCAM-1 and suggestive for sICAM-1. We found no evidence of an interaction with obesity.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that medium-term exposure to TRAP may induce an increased inflammatory/endothelial response, especially among diabetics and those not using statins.