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Project Status: active

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

Research Summary:

Epidemiological studies suggest that women have a greater relative risk of cardiovascular mortality than men. Yet animal studies designed to shed light on the mechanism of toxicity of particulate matter (PM) are mostly conducted on male animals. This study will compare the response to particulate matter of female and male rodents and investigate possible mechanism of PM2.5 toxicity unique to females. Evidence from the scientific literature shows that: 1) PM2.5 exacerbates cardiovascular disease severity and progression; and 2) impaired ovarian function is associated with cardiovascular disease. Studies that focus on women's health have found an increased risk of mortality from exposure to air pollution compared to studies with both men and women. These studies include the California Teachers Cohort Study, Women's Health Initiative, Nurses' Health Study, and the Adventist Health Air Pollution Study. Statistically, heart attacks are more deadly and disabling for women than for men; 38 percent of women die within one year of their first heart attack, compared with 25 percent of men. This research project will investigate whether the increased cardiovascular effects of PM2.5 exposure can be observed in a rodent model and the possible role of the ovarian system for these effects. Animals exposed to concentrated PM2.5 will be evaluated for evidence of cardiovascular disease such as markers of oxidative stress, decreased heart rate variability, and atherosclerotic plaque development. This project is among the first to address how different hormonal conditions can influence the levels of various toxicological endpoints in animals subjected to the same exposure conditions to PM and would identify additional risk factors which may need to be taken into account when evaluating exposure to PM. The results are expected to help us understand why epidemiological studies have found a greater risk of cardiovascular mortality for women than men, which would suggest that women's cardiovascular health be included as an important risk factor in the next national air quality standard review.


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

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