Background: Studies of air pollution exposure and arterial stiffness have reported inconsistent results and large studies employing the reference standard of arterial stiffness, carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (CFPWV), have not been conducted.
Aim: To study long-term exposure to ambient fine particles (PM2.5), proximity to roadway, and short-term air pollution exposures in relation to multiple measures of arterial stiffness in the Framingham Heart Study.
Methods: We assessed central arterial stiffness using CFPWV, forward pressure wave amplitude, mean arterial pressure and augmentation index. We investigated long-and short-term air pollution exposure associations with arterial stiffness with linear regressions using long-term residential PM2.5 (2003 average from a spatiotemporal model using satellite data) and proximity to roadway in addition to short-term averages of PM2.5, black carbon, particle number, sulfate, nitrogen oxides, and ozone from stationary monitors.
Results: We examined 5842 participants (mean age 51 ± 16, 54% women). Living closer to a major roadway was associated with higher arterial stiffness (0.11 m/s higher CFPWV [95% CI: 0.01, 0.22] living <50 m vs 400 ≤ 1000 m). We did not observe association between arterial stiffness measures and long-term PM2.5 or short-term levels of PM2.5, particle number, sulfate or ozone. Higher levels of black carbon and nitrogen oxides in the previous days were unexpectedly associated with lower arterial stiffness.
Conclusions: Long-term exposure to PM2.5 was not associated with arterial stiffness but positive associations with living close to a major road may suggest that pollutant mixtures very nearby major roads, rather than PM2.5, may affect arterial stiffness. Furthermore, short-term air pollution exposures were not associated with higher arterial stiffness.
Keywords: Air pollution; Applanation tonometry; Arterial stiffness; Epidemiology.
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