Associations between ambient wood smoke and other particulate pollutants and biomarkers of systemic inflammation, coagulation and thrombosis in cardiac patients

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Increased particulate air pollution has been associated with both an increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and adverse changes in cardiac biomarkers. Up to 30% of ambient wintertime fine particles (PM2.5) in Rochester, NY are from wood burning. Our study examined associations between ambient levels of a marker of wood smoke (Delta-C) and other particulate air pollutants and biomarkers of inflammation, coagulation and thrombosis.


We measured blood concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), D-dimer, fibrinogen, P-selectin, platelet factor 4 (PF-4), von Willebrand factor (vWF), and myeloperoxidase (MPO) of 135 patients undergoing cardiac catheterization during the winters of 2011–2013. We coupled these data with hourly ambient concentrations of Delta-C, black carbon (BC; marker of traffic pollution), and ultrafine (10–100 nm; UFP), accumulation mode (100–500 nm; AMP), and fine particles (<2.5 μm; PM2.5). Using linear regression models, we estimated the change in each biomarker associated with increased pollutant concentrations at intervals between 1 and 96 h preceding blood collection.


Each 0.13 μg/m3 increase in Delta-C concentration in the prior 12 h was associated with a 0.91% increase in fibrinogen levels (95% CI=0.23%, 1.59%), but unexpectedly in the prior 48 h, each 0.17 μg/m3 increase in Delta-C concentration was associated with a 2.75% decrease in MPO levels (95% CI=−5.13%,−0.37%). We did not see associations between Delta-C concentrations and any other biomarkers. Interquartile range (IQR) increases in PM2.5, BC, UFP, and AMP concentrations were generally associated with increased CRP and fibrinogen, but not PF4, D-dimer, vWF, or P-selectin.


In a population of cardiac patients, we noted adverse changes in fibrinogen associated with increased concentrations of a marker of wood smoke. Increases in PM2.5, BC, AMP, and UFP concentrations in the previous 96 h were also associated with adverse changes in markers of systemic inflammation and coagulation, but not with markers of endothelial cell dysfunction or platelet activation.

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