Plasma Metal Concentrations and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in Chinese Adults: The Dongfeng-Tongji Cohort

Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Oct 19;125(10):107007. doi: 10.1289/EHP1521.


Background: Circulating metals from both the natural environment and pollution have been linked to cardiovascular disease. However, few prospective studies have investigated the associations between exposure to multiple metals and incident coronary heart disease (CHD).

Objectives: We conducted a nested case-control study in the prospective Dongfeng-Tongji cohort, to investigate the prospective association between plasma metal concentrations and incident CHD.

Methods: A total of 1,621 incident CHD cases and 1,621 controls free of major cardiovascular disease at baseline and follow-up visits were matched on age (±5 years) and sex. We measured baseline fasting plasma concentrations of 23 metals and used conditional logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) of CHD for metal concentrations categorized according to quartiles in controls.

Results: Five metals (titanium, arsenic, selenium, aluminum, and barium) were significantly associated with CHD based on trend tests from single-metal multivariable models adjusted for established cardiovascular risk factors. When all five were included in the same model, adjusted ORs for barium and aluminum were close to the null, whereas associations with titanium, arsenic, and selenium were similar to estimates from single-metal models, and ORs comparing extreme quartiles were 1.32 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.69; p-trend=0.04), 1.78 (95% CI: 1.29, 2.46; p-trend=0.001), and 0.67 (95% CI: 0.52, 0.85; p-trend=0.001), respectively.

Conclusions: Our study suggested that incident CHD was positively associated with plasma levels of titanium and arsenic, and inversely associated with selenium. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings in other populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metals / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Metals