Association of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Exposure With Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk: A Role of Mean Platelet Volume or Club Cell Secretory Protein

Environ Pollut. 2018 Feb;233:45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.10.042. Epub 2017 Oct 17.


Background: Inflammation may play an important role in the association between exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear.

Objectives: To investigate the association of PAHs exposure with ASCVD risk and effects of mean platelet volume (MPV) or Club cell secretory protein (CC16) on the association.

Methods: A total of 2022 subjects (689 men and 1333 women) were drawn from the baseline Wuhan residents of the Wuhan-Zhuhai Cohort study. Data on demography and the physical examination were obtained from each participant. Urinary monohydroxy PAH metabolites (OH-PAHs) levels were measured by a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We estimated the association between each OH-PAHs and the 10-year ASCVD risk or coronary heart disease (CHD) risk using logistic regression models, and further analyze the mediating effect of MPV or plasma CC16 on the association by using structural equation modeling.

Results: The results of multiple logistic regression models showed that some OH-PAHs were positively associated with ASCVD risk but not CHD risk, including 2-hydroxyfluoren (β = 1.761; 95% CI: 1.194-2.597), 9-hydroxyfluoren (β = 1.470; 95% CI: 1.139-1.898), 1-hydroxyphenanthrene (β = 1.480; 95% CI: 1.008-2.175) and ΣOH-PAHs levels (β = 1.699; 95% CI: 1.151-2.507). The analysis of structural equation modeling shows that increased MPV and increased plasma CC16 levels contributed 13.6% and 15.1%, respectively, to the association between PAHs exposure and the 10-year ASCVD risk (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Exposure to PAHs may increase the risk of atherosclerosis, which was partially mediated by MPV or CC16.

Keywords: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; Club cell secretory protein; Mean platelet volume; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Structural equation modeling.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mean Platelet Volume
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenanthrenes
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / metabolism*


  • Phenanthrenes
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • 1-hydroxyphenanthrene