Background: Traffic-related particles (TRPs) are associated with adverse cardiovascular events. The exact mechanisms are unclear, but systemic inflammatory responses likely play a role.
Objectives: We conducted a repeated measures study among male participants of the Normative Aging Study in the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area to determine whether individual-level residential black carbon (BC), a marker of TRPs, is associated with systemic inflammation and whether coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes, and obesity modify associations.
Methods: We quantified markers of inflammation in 1,163 serum samples from 580 men. Exposure to BC up to 4 weeks prior was predicted from a validated spatiotemporal land-use regression model. Linear mixed effects models estimated the effects of BC on each marker while adjusting for potential confounders.
Results: Associations between BC and blood markers were not observed in main effects models or when stratified by obesity status. However, BC was positively associated with markers of inflammation in men with CHD (particularly vascular endothelial growth factor) and in men with diabetes (particularly interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α). Significant exposure time windows varied by marker, although in general the strongest associations were observed with moving averages of 2-7 days after a lag of several days.
Conclusions: In an elderly male population, estimated BC exposures were positively associated with markers of systemic inflammation but only in men with CHD or diabetes.