Traffic-related Air Pollution Is Associated With Cardio-Metabolic Biomarkers in General Residents

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2016 Aug;89(6):911-21. doi: 10.1007/s00420-016-1129-3. Epub 2016 Apr 15.


Purpose: The study was conducted to explore the mechanisms linking traffic-related air pollution and cardio-metabolic risk.

Methods: The participants included 371 men and women aged from 45 to 75 in an urban residential area in Shanghai, China. The participants were divided into four categories (≤50, 51-100, 101-200 and >200 m) according to the residential distance to major road. Additionally, the personal fine particulate matter (PM2.5) was measured from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm to assess the PM2.5 exposure in general residents. Then, the continuous subclinical measurements and biological effects related to cardio-metabolic disorders were detected. The generalized linear regression analysis was applied for estimating the adjusted hazards ratio for cardio-metabolic disorders relative to traffic-related air pollution.

Results: The average personal PM2.5 is 111.1 μg/m(3) in the participants living within 50 m to major road, which is significantly higher than the personal PM2.5 (68.2 μg/m(3)) in the participants living more than 200 m away from the major road. The participants living within 50 m to major road compared with those living more than 200 m away have 1.15 times higher of heart rate (HR), 1.95 times higher of fasting insulin, 1.30 times higher of homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), 1.56 times higher of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), 8.39 times higher of interleukin 6 (IL-6), 4.30 times higher of augmentation index (AI), 1.60 times higher of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and 1.91 times higher of diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Contrary to the increase in above biological effects, there were 1.06 times lower of low frequency (LF), 1.05 times lower of high frequency (HF), 2.54 times lower of IL-10, 4.61 times lower of nitric oxide (NO), 1.19 times lower of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and 1.85 times lower of total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC). There was no clear exposure-response relationship can be observed in the fasting glucose, LF/HF, cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Conclusion: Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution may contribute to the development or exacerbation of cardio-metabolic disorders. The mechanisms linking air pollution and cardio-metabolic disorders may be associated with the increased systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, reduced insulin sensitivity and elevated arterial stiffness and blood pressure.

Keywords: Cardio-metabolic disorders; Fine particulate matter; Traffic-related air pollution.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution / analysis
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • China
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Urban Population
  • Vascular Stiffness
  • Vehicle Emissions*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Biomarkers
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions