Epidemiologic studies have shown that increased concentrations of ambient particles are associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the exact mechanisms remain unclear. Recent studies have revealed particulate air pollution exposure is associated with indicators of autonomic function including heart rate, blood pressure, and heart rate variability. However, this association has not clearly demonstrated in animal studies. To overcome the problems of wide variations in diseased animals and circadian cycles, we adopted a novel approach using a mixed-effects model to investigate whether ambient particle exposure was associated with changes in heart rate and blood pressure in pulmonary hypertensive rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were in planted with radiotelemetry divices and exposed to concentrated ambient particles generated by an air particle concentrator. The rats were held in nose-only exposure chambers for 6 hr per day for 3 consecutive days and then rested for 4 days in each week during the experimental period of 5 weeks. These animals were exposed to concentrated particles during weeks 2, 3, and 4 exposed to filtered air during weeks 1 and 5. The particle concentrations for tested animals ranged between 108 and 338 μg/m3. Statistical analysis using mixed-effects models revealed that entry and exit of exposure chamber and particle exposure were associated with changes in heart rate and mean blood pressure. Immediately after particle exposure, the hourly averaged heart rate decreased and reached the lowest at the first and second hour of exposure for a decrease of 14.9 (p < 0.01) and 11.7 (p = 0.01) beats per minute, respectively. The hourly mean blood pressure also decreased after the particle exposure, with a maximal decrease of 3.3 (p < 0.01) and 4.1 (p < 0.01) mm Hg at the first and second hour of exposure. Our results indicate that ambient particles might influence blood pressure and heart rate.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis