Research to date demonstrates a relationship between exposure to ambient air pollutants and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Many studies have shown associations between short-term exposures to elevated levels of air pollutants and CVD events, and several cohort studies suggest effects of long-term exposure on cardiovascular mortality, coronary heart disease events, and stroke. The biologic mechanisms underlying this long-term exposure relationship are not entirely clear but are hypothesized to include systemic inflammation, autonomic nervous system imbalance, changes in vascular compliance, altered cardiac structure, and development of atherosclerosis. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis provides an especially well-characterized population in which to investigate the relationship between air pollution and CVD and to explore these biologic pathways. This article reviews findings reported to date within this cohort and summarizes the aims and anticipated contributions of a major ancillary study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution.
Air pollution; Health effects; Particulates; Cardiovascular disease;
Author Keywords: Air pollution; cardiovascular disease; subclinical atherosclerosis; progression
Edward A. Gill, MD, Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, 325 Ninth Avenue, Box 359748, Seattle, WA 98104
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