Superfund Research Program
Environmental Exposure and Cardiometabolic Disease
- Project Summary
Complimentary to the University of Louisville Superfund Research Center’s (LSUSRC) cohort, the Environmental Exposure and Cardiometabolic Disease Project measured secular trends in 11 ambient air volatile organic compounds, VOCs, (National Monitoring Programs, 2005-2013) and individual-level metabolites of 14 VOCs (NHANES, 2005-2014). The data showed that individual-level exposure to several VOCs increased between 2005 and 2014 despite a decline in ambient air VOC levels. This inverse relationship suggests that ambient VOCs are not the primary source of VOC exposure, therefore, decreasing ambient VOCs alone may not be sufficient to protect against the adverse health effects associated with VOC exposure. To assess the effect of (VOCs) on cardiometabolic health, the Project enrolled 737 participants to its prospective study. The baseline data for biomarkers of exposure and biomarkers of harm are being analyzed. Interim analysis suggests that urinary metabolites of several VOCs are negatively associated with the flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery (FMD; a non-invasive ultrasound test of endothelial function and vascular health by measuring peak reactivity), suggesting that even at very low levels, exposure to VOCs can affect endothelial function and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Flow cytometric analysis of endothelial cell-, platelet-, and lung-microparticles show a positive correlation with VOCs, suggesting that VOC exposure could cause injury to cardio-pulmonary cells. Furthermore, circulating angiogenic cells, which play a pivotal role in the repair of injured endothelium, were inversely related with urinary metabolites of several VOCs. This could affect endothelial repair.
Environmental Exposure and Cardiometabolic Disease Project investigators, Community Engagement Core (CEC) and Research Translation Core (RTC) investigators, and the Center Director shared the findings of the ongoing studies at open forms and community meetings in Louisville.