The association of ambient air pollution with airway inflammation in schoolchildren

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Apr 15;175(8):764-74. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr380. Epub 2012 Mar 9.


The biologic mechanisms involved in airway inflammatory response to air pollution are not clearly understood. The authors conducted a longitudinal study to investigate whether exposure to ambient air pollutants affected inflammatory cells and mediators from nasal lavage in schoolchildren. Study participants were 100 elementary and middle-school students in New Taipei City, Taiwan. A structured respiratory health questionnaire was administered in September 2007, followed by monthly measurement of nasal inflammation from October 2007 to November 2009. During the study period, daily concentrations of air pollutants were obtained from the Environmental Protection Administration monitoring station and the Aerosol Supersite. Mixed-effects models were applied to examine the association between air pollution and nasal inflammatory cells and mediators, including percentages of neutrophils, eosinophils, and monocytes in lavaged cells and interleukin-8. A total of 824 measurements were obtained from 100 participants over a period of 10 months. The level of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm or less (PM(2.5)) was found to be associated with percentage of neutrophils (β = 3.45%, 95% confidence interval: 0.89, 6.01) and interleukin-8 level (β = 29.98 pg/mL, 95% confidence interval: 3.26, 56.69) in the nasal lavage on the day of exposure. In this longitudinal cohort study of schoolchildren, results indicated that exposure to PM(2.5) might induce nasal inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution / analysis
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Child
  • Eosinophils / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Rhinitis / etiology
  • Rhinitis / metabolism
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan


  • Interleukin-8
  • Particulate Matter