Associations Between Size-Fractionated Particulate Air Pollution and Blood Pressure in a Panel of Type II Diabetes Mellitus Patients

Environ Int. 2015 Jul;80:19-25. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.03.003. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Little is known regarding how the size distribution of particulate matter (PM) air pollution influences its effect on blood pressure (BP), especially among patients with diabetes. The objective of this study was to explore the short-term associations between size-fractionated PM and BP among diabetes patients. We scheduled 6 repeated BP examinations every 2 weeks from 13 April 2013 to 30 June 2013 in a panel of 35 type 2 diabetes mellitus patients recruited from an urban community in Shanghai, China. We measured real-time PM concentrations in the size range of 0.25 to 10 μm. We used linear mixed-effect models to examine the short-term association of size-fractionated PM and BP after controlling for individual characteristics, mean temperature, relative humidity, day of the week, years with diabetes and use of antihypertensive medication. The association with systolic BP and pulse pressure strengthened with decreasing diameter. The size fractions with the strongest associations were 0.25 to 0.40 μm for number concentrations and ≤ 2.5 μm for mass concentrations. Furthermore, these effects occurred immediately even after 0-2h and lasted for up to 48 h following exposure. An interquartile range increase in 24-h average number concentrations of PM0.25-0.40 was associated with increases of 3.61 mmHg in systolic BP and 2.96 mmHg in pulse pressure. Females, patients younger than 65 years of age and patients without antihypertensive treatment were more susceptible to these effects. Our results revealed important size and temporal patterns of PM in elevating BP among diabetes patients in China.

Keywords: Air pollution; Blood pressure; Diabetes; Diameter; Panel study; Particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • China
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*
  • Temperature


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter