WASHINGTON -- A new study finds that exposure to a chemical component of diesel exhaust particles can compromise the ability of resistance arteries to regulate blood flow to bone marrow. Post-menopausal females, the elderly and males are most likely to be impacted, according to a new vascular biology study -- using an animal model -- being presented at the 120th Annual Meeting of The American Physiological Society (APS; www.The-APS.org) from April 28-May 2, 2007 in Washington, DC.
The study, Effects of Age, Gender, and Estrogen on Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation Subsequent to Phenanthraquinone Exposure, was conducted by Rhonda D. Prisby, Judy Muller-Delp and Timothy R. Nurkiewicz, all of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular Sciences at the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, WV, USA. Dr. Nurkiewicz is presenting the findings on behalf of the Universitys interdisciplinary cardiovascular research team. The research was funded by the Health Effects Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
Diesel exhaust contributes significantly to the U.S. ambient air pollution burden. This form of air pollution is the product of diesel fuel combustion, commonly generated by buses, trucks, trains and ferries. The particles can remain airborne for extended time periods, and travel long distances prior to being inhaled. When inhaled, chemical components such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) attached to the particles can interact with the body. Quinones are PAHs and are among the more toxic components of diesel exhaust. In the current study, the investigators used phenanthraquinone (PQ) because previous research found PQ to compromise the ability of larger blood vessels to relax. They have also noted that in certain populations, exposure to particle pollution may exacerbate various cardiovascular diseases.