Previous Project

HEI Project “Ambient and controlled particle exposures as triggers for acute ECG-changes, and the role of anti-oxidant status”

Study objectives:
To provide novel insights into the association between air pollution and markers of immediate (on a 5-minute or 1-hour basis) physiological responses in already existing panel and chamber studies.

Specific aims of the project:

  • Aim #1: To assess immediate ECG responses in association both with ambient air pollution and with controlled air pollution exposures.

  • Aim #2: To assess the ability of selected individual subject characteristics and physical exertion to modify the associations between air pollution and ECG parameters.

  • Aim #3: To assess antioxidant capacity in association with air pollution, both as an outcome and as an effect modifier.

Study design and methods:
This project builds on epidemiologic panel and controlled human exposure studies with existing ECG recordings, stored blood samples, and data acquired over the past 5 years which have been funded from other sources. These studies have been conducted both in Augsburg, Germany, and Rochester, NY. The project adds the re-analysis of ECG data (on a 5-minute and 1-hour basis) for Rochester’s REHAB and the Controlled Human Exposure studies to the pollutant data and existing ECG data on those same intervals in the Augsburg panel (EPA STAR2) study. Stored blood samples from the Augsburg panel and the Rochester REHAB panel study are analyzed for total antioxidant capacity. For the statistical analyses, we define discovery and replication samples. We apply this approach across different study designs (panel and controlled human exposure studies), looking for coherent, immediate effects (within 1 hour or less) on markers of heart rate variability and repolarization associated with ambient concentrations and controlled exposures to fine PM and ultrafine particles, and an examination of whether these associations are modified by antioxidant capacity, exercise, and personal characteristics (e.g. age, underlying disease, medication use).

Study populations:

  • Augsburg panel study: Subjects with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance as well as healthy individuals with a potential genetic predisposition on the detoxification pathway.
  • REHAB panel study: Patients with and without an invasive intervention (e.g. coronary artery bypass grafting or angioplasty with intracoronary stent placement).
  • Controlled human exposure studies: Subjects with diabetes (UPDIABETES) and healthy never smokers (UPCON) without a cardiovascular disease.

Study area:
Augsburg, Germany and Rochester, USA

Current status:
Completed, final report

Helmholtz Zentrum München - Institute of Epidemiology II: Annette Peters (PI), Alexandra Schneider, Susanne Breitner, Regina Hampel, Josef Cyrys
University of Rochester – Department of Environmental Medicine, Rochester, USA: David Rich (PI), Mark Frampton, Wojciech Zareba, David Oakes, Mark Utell (consultant) 

Health Effects Institute (HEI), Contract award number 4908-RFPA10-3/12-2 (Funding period: 2012 – 2014).

Alexandra Schneider, PhD

Phone +49 89 3187-3512
Fax +49 89 3187-3380

Related publications:

  • Wang M, Utell MJ, Schneider A, Zareba W, Frampton MW, Oakes D, Hopke PK, Wiltshire J, Kane C, Peters A, Breitner S, Chalupa D, Rich DQ. Does total antioxidant capacity modify adverse cardiac responses associated with ambient ultrafine, accumulation mode, and fine particles in patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation? Environ Res. 2016;149:15-22.

  • Hampel R, Breitner S, Schneider A, Zareba W, Kraus U, Cyrys J, Geruschkat U, Belcredi P, Müller M, Wichmann HE, Peters A. 2012. Acute air pollution effects on heart rate variability are modified by SNPs involved in cardiac rhythm in individuals with diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. Environ Res. 112:177-85.

  • Hampel R, Breitner S, Zareba W, Kraus U, Pitz M, Geruschkat U, Belcredi P, Peters A, Schneider A. Immediate ozone effects on heart rate and repolarization parameters in potentially susceptible individuals. Occup Environ Med: 2012;69(6):428-436

  • Gu J, Pitz M, Schnelle-Kreis J, Diemer J, Reller A, Zimmermann R, Soentgen J, Stoelzel M, Wichmann HE, Peters A, Cyrys J. 2011. Source apportionment of ambient particles: comparison of Positive Matrix Factorization analysis applied to particle size distribution and chemical composition data. Atmospheric Environment 45(10): 1849-1857.

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