Project at a Glance

Title: Women's Cardiovascular Risk from PM Exposure

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Kleinman, Michael

Contractor: UC Irvine

Contract Number: 16RD005

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Health Effects of Air Pollution, Vulnerable Populations


Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that postmenopausal women are more susceptible than men to PM-induced cardiovascular (CV) disease. However, there is currently a lack of mechanistic and toxicity research to explain why. This present study aimed to look at whether impairment of ovarian function may be a mechanistic link between PM exposure and the more detrimental CV outcomes seen in postmenopausal women. In this project, mice exposed for three months to concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) were used to conduct three experiments to: 1) compare the cardiovascular responses between male and female mice, as well as any impacts on the ovaries; 2) analyze the impact of “surgical menopause” (through removal of the ovaries, or ovariectomy) on female responses; and 3) look at whether estrogen replacement would protect against any adverse health outcomes in the ovariectomized females. The study demonstrated that PM exposure can affect ovarian function, which may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease in women. The results of this work suggests that postmenopausal women should be considered for evaluation as a sensitive population in future reviews of the U.S. EPA’s NAAQS for PM.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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