Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Associations between immune function and air pollution among postmenopausal women living in the Puget Sound airshed
by Williams, Lori A., Ph.D., University of Washington, 2008, 185; 3303416
Abstract (Summary)

Air pollution is associated with adverse health outcomes, and changes in the immune system may be intermediate steps between exposure and a clinically relevant adverse health outcome. We analyzed the associations between three different types of measures of air pollution exposure and five biomarkers of immune function among 115 overweight and obese postmenopausal women whose immunity was assessed as part of a year-long moderate exercise intervention trial. For air pollution metrics, we assessed: (1) residential proximity to major roads (freeways, major arterials and truck routes), (2) fine particulate matter(PM2.5) at the nearest monitor to the residence averaged over three time windows (3-days, 30-days and 60-days), and (3) nitrogen dioxide (NO2) modeled based on land use characteristics. Our immune biomarkers included three measures of inflammation—C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A and interleukin-6—and two measures of cellular immunity—natural killer cell cytotoxicity and T lymphocyte proliferation.

We hypothesized that living near a major road, increased exposure to PM2.5 and increased exposure to NO2 would each be independently associated with increased inflammation and decreased immune function. We observed a 21% lower average natural killer cell cytotoxicity among women living within 150 meters of a major arterial road compared to other women. For PM2.5 , we observed changes in 3 of 4 indicators of lymphocyte proliferation stimulated by anti-CD3—an antibody to the T cell receptor associated with increases in 3-day averaged PM2.5. For 30-day averaged PM 2.5 and 60-day averaged PM2.5 we did not observe any statistically significant associations. We observed an increase in lymphocyte proliferation index stimulated by the plant protein phytohemagglutinin (PHA) at 1 of 2 PHA concentrations in association with modeled NO2. For the three inflammatory markers, we observed no notable associations with any of our measures of air pollution.

If confirmed, our results provide preliminary evidence to support the biologic plausibility of previously observed associations between traffic and colds and infections, suggest immune function should be considered as part of the assessment of regulatory standards for PM2.5 and indicate that living in close proximity to major roads may have adverse health impacts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Roos, Anneclaire J. De
School: University of Washington
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: DAI-B 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public health, Atmosphere, Epidemiology
Keywords: Air pollution, Airshed, Immune function, Particulate matter, Postmenopausal, Puget Sound
Publication Number: 3303416
ISBN: 978-0-549-49838-4
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