Climate-mediated air pollution associated with COPD severity

Huan Minh Tran, Tzu Tao Chen, Yueh Hsun Lu, Feng Jen Tsai, Kuan Yuan Chen, Shu Chuan Ho, Chih Da Wu, Sheng Ming Wu, Yueh Lun Lee, Kian Fan Chung, Han Pin Kuo, Kang Yun Lee, Hsiao Chi Chuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Air pollution has been reported to be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our study aim was to examine the mediating effects of air pollution on climate-associated health outcomes of COPD patients. A cross-sectional study of 117 COPD patients was conducted in a hospital in Taiwan. We measured the lung function, 6-min walking distance, oxygen desaturation, white blood cell count, and percent emphysema (low attenuation area, LAA) and linked these to 0–1-, 0–3-, and 0–5-year lags of individual-level exposure to relative humidity (RH), temperature, and air pollution. Linear regression models were conducted to examine associations of temperature, RH, and air pollution with severity of health outcomes. A mediation analysis was conducted to examine the mediating effects of air pollution on the associations of RH and temperature with health outcomes. We observed that a 1 % increase in the RH was associated with increases in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), eosinophils, and lymphocytes, and a decrease in the total-lobe LAA. A 1 °C increase in temperature was associated with decreases in oxygen desaturation, and right-, left-, and upper-lobe LAA values. Also, a 1 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with a decrease in the FEV1 and an increase in oxygen desaturation. A 1 μg/m3 increases in PM10 and PM2.5 was associated with increases in the total-, right-, left, upper-, and lower-lobe (PM2.5 only) LAA. A one part per billion increase in NO2 was associated with a decrease in the FEV1 and an increase in the upper-lobe LAA. Next, we found that NO2 fully mediated the association between RH and FEV1. We found PM2.5 fully mediated associations of temperature with oxygen saturation and total-, right-, left-, and upper-lobe LAA. In conclusion, climate-mediated air pollution increased the risk of decreasing FEV1 and oxygen saturation and increasing emphysema severity among COPD patients. Climate change-related air pollution is an important public health issue, especially with regards to respiratory disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156969
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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