Traffic-related air pollution as a risk factor for the development of asthma (2009 – 2012)

November 1, 2009 – March 31, 2012

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Michael Brauer
School of Environmental Health
University of British Columbia
CANADA

Dr. Chris Carlsten
Department of Medicine
University of British Columbia
CANADA

Although air pollution is known to exacerbate existing asthma, a number of recent studies have suggested that exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) is also linked to the development of new cases of asthma in children. These studies utilized high-resolution maps of air pollution related to vehicle traffic within urban areas, and suggested that those individuals (pregnant women and infants) living in areas with higher level of traffic-related air pollution are at greater risk for the development of childhood asthma.

This project will improve the ability of those previous studies to reflect changes in air pollution concentrations over the period of infant development and will assess which periods of exposure are most important for asthma development. Additionally, we will use previously collected information on specific genes related to the body’s response to toxic substances (the oxidative stress response) to assess whether exposure to air pollution interacts with a person’s genetic profile to confer increased or decreased risk of asthma development. This component will combine air pollution, genetic and disease information collected from birth cohort studies in Canada (CAPPS & SAGE), Germany (LISA & GINI), England (ALSPAC), The Netherlands (PIAMA) and Sweden (BAMSE) that have measured the development of asthma in children. This project will be the first large scale attempt to determine whether exposure to TRAP increases the risk of asthma development in children and how genetic variability may affect this relationship.

The proposed research will address the following questions:

  1. What is the association between TRAP, incident asthma and transient wheeze in children?

  2. How do key candidate genes (related to oxidative stress) modify the association between TRAP, incident asthma and transient wheeze in children?

  3. What is the temporal stability of air pollution exposures estimated from land use regression models over 6-8 year periods and how can such models most effectively incorporate temporal (long-term and seasonal) changes in air pollution concentrations?

  4. What is the relative importance of in utero versus early childhood versus later childhood exposure to traffic-related air pollution in relation to development of asthma?

This project will provide important information that can be useful to develop preventive strategies related to childhood asthma and potentially to develop treatment approaches focused on a particularly vulnerable population, children with genetic profiles conferring particular risk.

Collaboration:
Six European and Canadian birth cohorts.

Contact:

Helmholtz Zentrum München
Institute of Epidemiology
Dr. Joachim Heinrich
P.O. Box 1129
D-85758 Neuherberg
Tel. +49-(0)89-3187-4150
Fax +49-(0)89-3187-3380
Elaine Fuertes
P.O. Box 1129
D-85758 Neuherberg
Tel. +49-(0)89-3187-4235
Fax +49-(0)89-3187-3380
Dr. Elaina MacIntyre
P.O. Box 1129
D-85758 Neuherberg
Tel. +49-(0)89-3187-4235
Fax +49-(0)89-3187-3380

 

top

Overview Projects