Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution and environmental temperatures influence cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Recent evidence suggests that several air pollutants can promote dyslipidemia; however, the impact of ambient PM2.5 and temperature on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function remains unclear. We hypothesized that daily exposures to higher levels of ambient PM2.5 and colder outdoor temperatures would impair HDL functionality. Lipoproteins, serum cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC), and HDL oxidation markers were measured twice in 50 healthy adults (age 32.1 ± 9.6 years) living in southeast Michigan and associated with ambient and personal-level exposures using mixed models. Although previous 7-day mean outdoor temperature (4.4 ± 9.8°C) and PM2.5 levels (9.1 ± 1.8 µg/m3) were low, higher ambient PM2.5 exposures (per 10 µg/m3) were associated with significant increases in the total cholesterol-to-HDL-C ratio (rolling average lag days 1 and 2) as well as reductions in CEC by -1.93% (lag day 5, p = 0.022) and -1.62% (lag day 6, p = 0.032). Colder outdoor temperatures (per 10°C) were also associated with decreases in CEC from -0.62 to -0.63% (rolling average lag days 5 and 7, p = 0.027 and 0.028). Previous 24-hour personal-level PM2.5 and temperature exposures did not impact outcomes, nor were any exposures associated with changes in HDL-oxidation metrics. In conclusion, we provide the first evidence that ambient PM2.5 (even at low levels) and outdoor temperatures may influence serum CEC, a critical antiatherosclerotic HDL function.
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