Effect of Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Colder Outdoor Temperatures on High-Density Lipoprotein Function

Am J Cardiol. 2018 Aug 15;122(4):565-570. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2018.04.061. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Air Pollutants
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Particulate Matter