Cardiomyopathy confers susceptibility to particulate matter-induced oxidative stress, vagal dominance, arrhythmia and pulmonary inflammation in heart failure-prone rats

Inhal Toxicol. 2015 Feb;27(2):100-12. doi: 10.3109/08958378.2014.995387.


Acute exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is tied to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, especially among those with prior cardiac injury. The mechanisms and pathophysiological events precipitating these outcomes remain poorly understood but may involve inflammation, oxidative stress, arrhythmia and autonomic nervous system imbalance. Cardiomyopathy results from cardiac injury, is the leading cause of heart failure, and can be induced in heart failure-prone rats through sub-chronic infusion of isoproterenol (ISO). To test whether cardiomyopathy confers susceptibility to inhaled PM2.5 and can elucidate potential mechanisms, we investigated the cardiophysiologic, ventilatory, inflammatory and oxidative effects of a single nose-only inhalation of a metal-rich PM2.5 (580 µg/m(3), 4 h) in ISO-pretreated (35 days × 1.0 mg/kg/day sc) rats. During the 5 days post-treatment, ISO-treated rats had decreased HR and BP and increased pre-ejection period (PEP, an inverse correlate of contractility) relative to saline-treated rats. Before inhalation exposure, ISO-pretreated rats had increased PR and ventricular repolarization time (QT) and heterogeneity (Tp-Te). Relative to clean air, PM2.5 further prolonged PR-interval and decreased systolic BP during inhalation exposure; increased tidal volume, expiratory time, heart rate variability (HRV) parameters of parasympathetic tone and atrioventricular block arrhythmias over the hours post-exposure; increased pulmonary neutrophils, macrophages and total antioxidant status one day post-exposure; and decreased pulmonary glutathione peroxidase 8 weeks after exposure, with all effects occurring exclusively in ISO-pretreated rats but not saline-pretreated rats. Ultimately, our findings indicate that cardiomyopathy confers susceptibility to the oxidative, inflammatory, ventilatory, autonomic and arrhythmogenic effects of acute PM2.5 inhalation.

Keywords: Air pollution; arrhythmia; autonomic; cardiovascular; electrocardiography; heart rate variability; particulate matter; rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Cardiomyopathies / physiopathology*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Isoproterenol / toxicity
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*
  • Pneumonia / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Tidal Volume / drug effects
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute


  • Particulate Matter
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Isoproterenol