PM mass concentration and PM oxidative potential in relation to carotid intima-media thickness

Cathryn Tonne, Jeff D. Yanosky, Sean Beevers, Paul Wilkinson, Frank J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: There is limited evidence on whether particulate matter (PM) can augment the progression of atherosclerosis; furthermore, the specific attributes of PM responsible for health effects are unclear. We developed models to predict exposure to PM <10 μm (PM10) and also to predict a measure of oxidative potential (the capacity of particles to induce oxidative damage). Our objectives were (1) to estimate the association between PM10 and carotid intima-media thickness, a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis, and (2) to compare this association with that of PM10 weighted by its oxidative potential (PM10*OP). METHODS: Analysis was based on 2348 participants of the Whitehall II cohort of British civil servants who had intima-media thickness measured between 2003 and 2005 and lived in Greater London. Weekly PM10 and PM10*OP were predicted at each participant's residence. Primary exposure metrics were defined as PM10 and PM10*OP averaged over the year before scan. We estimated associations between exposure metrics and intima-media thickness using generalized linear regression models. RESULTS: An interquartile range increase (5.2 μgm) in PM10 was associated with a 5.0% (95% confidence interval = 1.9% to 8.3%) increase in intima-media thickness after covariate adjustment. The association for an interquartile range change in PM10*OP (1.5 m) was weaker: 1.2% (0.2% to 2.2%). CONCLUSIONS: These findings support a relationship between PM exposure and atherosclerosis. PM weighted by this particular measure of oxidative potential was not more predictive of the extent of atherosclerosis than PM mass concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-494
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology


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