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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon biomarkers and serum markers of inflammation. A positive association that is more evident in men
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    23972896
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4610391
  • Funding:
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    Background

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are potent atmospheric pollutants, occurring from anthropogenic and natural sources. Several animal studies have reported a positive association of PAHs with inflammation. However, it is not clear if lower background exposure to PAHs is associated with inflammation in humans, independent of smoking, a major source of PAHs.

    Methods

    We examined participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001– 2002, 2003–2004, and 2005–2006. Our exposures of interest were eight urinary monohydroxy polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon biomarkers. Our outcomes were serum markers of inflammation; C-reactive protein (CRP) (≤10 mg/L) and total white blood cell (WBC) count (4000–12,000 cells/µL).

    Results

    Compared to participants with summed biomarkers of low-molecular weight (LMW) PAHs in the lowest quartile, the multivariable odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of high serum CRP (≥3 mg/L) and high total WBC count (defined as at or above the 95 percentile of total WBC distribution) among participants in the highest exposure quartile were 1.77 (1.13, 2.76) and 1.34 (1.12, 1.60) respectively. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene, the biomarker of the higher molecular weight pyrene, was positively associated with total WBC count, and to lesser extent with serum CRP. In subsequent analyses, the positive association between LMW PAHs and serum CRP and total WBC count was found to be present within the stratified subgroups, independent of smoking and other potential confounders. The positive association was more evident among adult males when compared to females.

    Conclusions

    Urinary PAH biomarkers were found to be positively associated with serum CRP and total WBC count independent of smoking and other potential confounders. The association was more evident in men.