Whole and particle-free diesel exhausts differentially affect cardiac electrophysiology, blood pressure, and autonomic balance in heart failure-prone rats.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Public Health Division, PO B143-01, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA.
Toxicological Sciences (Impact Factor: 4.48). 04/2012; 128(2):490-9. DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfs162
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Epidemiological studies strongly link short-term exposures to vehicular traffic and particulate matter (PM) air pollution with adverse cardiovascular (CV) events, especially in those with preexisting CV disease. Diesel engine exhaust is a key contributor to urban ambient PM and gaseous pollutants. To determine the role of gaseous and particulate components in diesel exhaust (DE) cardiotoxicity, we examined the effects of a 4-h inhalation of whole DE (wDE) (target PM concentration: 500 µg/m(3)) or particle-free filtered DE (fDE) on CV physiology and a range of markers of cardiopulmonary injury in hypertensive heart failure-prone rats. Arterial blood pressure (BP), electrocardiography, and heart rate variability (HRV), an index of autonomic balance, were monitored. Both fDE and wDE decreased BP and prolonged PR interval during exposure, with more effects from fDE, which additionally increased HRV triangular index and decreased T-wave amplitude. fDE increased QTc interval immediately after exposure, increased atrioventricular (AV) block Mobitz II arrhythmias shortly thereafter, and increased serum high-density lipoprotein 1 day later. wDE increased BP and decreased HRV root mean square of successive differences immediately postexposure. fDE and wDE decreased heart rate during the 4th hour of postexposure. Thus, DE gases slowed AV conduction and ventricular repolarization, decreased BP, increased HRV, and subsequently provoked arrhythmias, collectively suggesting parasympathetic activation; conversely, brief BP and HRV changes after exposure to particle-containing DE indicated a transient sympathetic excitation. Our findings suggest that whole- and particle-free DE differentially alter CV and autonomic physiology and may potentially increase risk through divergent pathways.

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