Harvard/EPA PM Center: Novel Exposure Scenarios to Define the Health Effects of Particle Sources


  1. Research Category and Sorting Number: Particulate Matter, 2004-STAR-H1
  2. Title: Harvard/EPA PM Center: Novel Exposure Scenarios to Define the Health Effects of Particle Sources
  3. Investigators: Petros Koutrakis (PI), Robert Brook**, Jeff Brook*, Brent Coull, Phil Demokritou, Douglas Dockery, John Godleski, Diane Gold, Beatriz Gonzalez-Flecha, Joel Schwartz, Frances Silverman*, Frank Speizer, Peter Stone***, Helen Suh, Pantel Vokonas****
  4. Institutions: Harvard University, Boston, MA; University of Toronto*, Toronto, Canada; University of Michigan**, Ann Arbor, MI; Brigham & Women's Hospital***, Boston, MA; Veteran's Administration Boston Hospital****, Boston, MA.
  5. Project Period: July 2005 through June 2010
  6. Project Cost: $7,999,778
  7. Project Summary:
    1. Objectives: The fundamental objective of the proposed Center is to understand how specific PM characteristics and sources impact inflammation, autonomic responses, and vascular dysfunction.
    2. Approach: The Center will investigate the pathophysiological effects produced by exposures to PM and its gaseous co-pollutants and will examine how these effects relate to PM composition, size and sources. Project 1 will examine the association between PM exposures and intermediate markers of autonomic dysfunction, systemic inflammation, endothelial activation and oxidative stress in the Normative Aging Study cohort in Eastern Massachusetts. Project 2 will use a cross-over exposure design to examine the effects of traffic-related PM and gases in a panel of 36 older adults who will be exposed to pollutants during 5-hr long field trips via buses in Boston, MA. This Project will examine whether exposures are associated with autonomic dysfunction, pulmonary and systemic inflammation and endothelial activation. Project 3 will examine the cardiovascular effects of fine, coarse and ultrafine concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) in 50 healthy adults in Toronto. Vascular function and inflammatory examinations will include brachial artery diameter, flow-mediated dilatation and nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation, heart rate variability, blood pressure, cardiac output, stroke volume and systemic vascular resistance. Project 4 will investigate the relationship between PM composition and vascular response. Normal and spontaneously hypersensitive rats will be exposed to fine CAPs in Boston during either early morning (mostly locally emitted PM rich in elemental and organic carbon) or mid-day periods (mostly transported PM rich in sulfates). Biological outcomes will include pulmonary and systemic inflammation, blood pressure, endothelin-1, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, atrial naturetic peptide, oxidant response in the heart and lung by in vivo chemiluminescence, and vascular morphometry of lung and cardiac vessels. Project 5 will investigate the effects of primary and secondary vehicular emissions from a tunnel in Boston, using the same animal models and biological measurements as in Project 4. The five projects will be supported by three Cores: Administration and Research Coordination, Particle Technology and Monitoring, and Biostatistical and;
    3. Expected Benefits: The Center will provide information about the cardiovascular and pulmonary effects of specific PM sources and/or components, which is critical for the development and implementation of Air Quality Standards.
  8. Key Words: particles, cardiovascular health, pulmonary health, air pollution, traffic emissions