Previous Project

EPA STAR 2 "Source-specific health effects of ultrafine and fine particles"

Study objective:
To describe the inflammatory reactions, coagulation activity and endothelial dysfunction associated with ambient air pollution in three different study groups, each with 80 subjects:

  • Patients with type 2 diabetes
  • Subjects with enhanced risk of type 2 diabetes yet without medication (impaired glucose tolerance)
  • Subjects with potential genetic predisposition on the detoxifying pathway.

Specific aims:
Determine the effect of ambient air pollution on:

  • acute phase reaction in the blood
  • pro-thromboic states of the blood
  • endothelial function of small arteries
  • cardiac rhythm
  • blood pressure.

Study design:
Prospective cohort study, panel study

Inclusion criteria:
274 subjects in three panels, as described above.

Exclusion criteria:

  • Smokers (unless ex-smokers, who have not smoked for the last 12 months)
  • Anticoagulant intake (other than ASS)
  • Patients, who had had a myocardial infarction, a balloon dilatation or a bypass operation during the last 6 months
  • Patients with atrial fibrillation
  • Patients with Morbus Crohn, Colitis Ulcerosa or Rheumatoid Arthritis

Study population:
Residents of Augsburg

Study areas:

Augsburg, Germany

Study methods:
Health assessment via clinical examinations including:

  • Interview
  • Blood withdrawal, collection of serum, plasma for further analyses (e.g., interleukins, coagulation factors)
  • short medical check-ups (interview and blood withdrawal)
  • long medical follow-up and additional examinations: ambulant 4-hour ECG, particle measurement, temperature, humidity and noise measurement, measurement of endothelial function.

Ambient air pollutants measured at a fixed monitoring site include

  • PM2.5 and  PM10 (particulate mass with a size range of 2.5 and 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter, respectively)
  • Ultrafine particles (particle number concentrations (3 nm to 100nm in aerodynamic diameter)
  • Black carbon
  • NO, NO2, CO
  • particle length concentration
  • particle surface concentration
  • apparent density of particles with 2.5 or 10 µm aerodynamic diameter 

Study period:
March 2007 – December 2008

Current status:


  1. Helmholtz Zentrum München - Institute of Epidemiology: Annette Peters (PI), H.-Erich Wichmann (Co-PI); Susanne Breitner (data coordination), Irene Brüske (field coordination), Josef Cyrys (exposure assessment), Uta Geruschkat (data management), Regina Hampel (statistical analyses), Ute Kraus (field work, quality assurance), Mike Pitz (exposure assessment), Regina Pickford (née Rückerl, consultant), Alexandra Schneider (project management)
  2. Helmholtz Zentrum München - Institute of Medical Computer Sciences: Rolf Holle, Andrea Wulff
  3. KORA-Studienzentrum Augsburg: Petra Belcredi, Christa Meisinger

University of Rochester – Department of Environmental Medicine, Rochester, USA: Günter Oberdörster, Mark Utell, Wojciech Zareba, Betty Jane Mykins, Rick Phipps
NHEERL, Chapel Hill, U.S. EPA – Human Studies Division, Robert Devlin
University of Ulm – Abteilung für Innere Medizin II, Ulm, Germany: Wolfgang Koenig

United States – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program
University of Rochester 413182-G
Funding period: 2005 – 2010; no-cost extension until the end of 2011.

Related publications:

  • Association of novel metrics of particulate matter with vascular markers of inflammation and coagulation in susceptible populations - results from a panel study.
    Rückerl R, Schneider A, Hampel R, Breitner S, Cyrys J, Kraus U, Gu J, Soentgen J, Koenig W, Peters A.
    Environ Res. 2016 Oct;150:337-47. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.05.037. Epub 2016 Jun 23

  • Elevated particle number concentrations induce immediate changes in heart rate variability: a panel study inindividuals with impaired glucose metabolism or diabetes.
    Peters A, Hampel R, Cyrys J, Breitner S, Geruschkat U, Kraus U, Zareba W, Schneider A.
    Part Fibre Toxicol. 2015. doi: 10.1186/s12989-015-0083-7.

  • Individual daytime noise exposure in different microenvironments.
    Kraus U, Breitner S, Hampel R, Wolf K, Cyrys J, Geruschkat U, Gu J, Radon K, Peters A, Schneider A.
    Environ Res. 2015 Jul; 140:479-87. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.05.006. Epub 2015 May 16.

  • Personal day-time exposure to ultrafine particles in different microenvironments.
    Gu J, Kraus U, Schneider A, Hampel R, Pitz M, Breitner S, Wolf K, Hänninen O, Peters A, Cyrys J.
    Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2015 Mar; 218(2):188-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2014.10.002. Epub 2014 Oct 18.

  • Selection of key ambient particulate variables for epidemiological studies - applying cluster and heatmap analyses as tools for data reduction.
    Gu J, Pitz M, Breitner S, Birmili W, von Klot S, Schneider A, Soentgen J, Reller A, Peters A, Cyrys J.
    Sci Total Environ. 2012 Oct 1; 435-436:541-50. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.07.040. Epub 2012 Aug 12.

  • Associations between ambient air pollution and blood markers of inflammation and coagulation/fibrinolysis in susceptible populations.
    Rückerl R, Hampel R, Breitner S, Cyrys J, Kraus U, Carter J, Dailey L, Devlin RB, Diaz-Sanchez D, Koenig W, Phipps R, Silbajoris R, Soentgen J, Soukup J, Peters A, Schneider A.
    Environ Int. 2014 Sep; 70:32-49. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.05.013. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

  • Short-term effects of air temperature on blood pressure and pulse pressure in potentially susceptible individuals.
    Lanzinger S, Hampel R, Breitner S, Rückerl R, Kraus U, Cyrys J, Geruschkat U, Peters A, Schneider A.
    Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014; 217(7):775-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2014.04.002. Epub 2014 Apr 26.

  • Short-term Effects of Air Temperature on Blood Markers of Coagulation and Inflammation in Potentially Susceptible Individuals.
    Schäuble C*, Hampel R*, Breitner S, Rückerl R, Phipps R, Diaz-Sanchez D, Devlin R, Carter J, Soukup J, Silbajoris R, Dailey L, Koenig W, Cyrys J, Geruschkat U, Belcredi P, Kraus U, Peters A, Schneider A, *shared first authorship (2012)
    Occup Environ Med. 2012;69:670–678.

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

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

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

  • ECG Parameters and Exposure to Carbon Ultrafine Particles in Young Healthy Subjects.
    Zareba W, Couderc JP, Oberdorster G, Chalupa D, Cox C, Huang LS, Peters A, Utell MJ, Frampton MW
    Inhal Toxicol 2009; 21(3): 223-233

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