University at Buffalo: Study Finds Association Between Air Pollution, Coronary Atherosclerosis in Chinese Population

Meng Wang, PhD.
“This study may provide evidence that coronary atherosclerosis is a pathological pathway through which air pollution exposure increases risk of death from coronary heart disease.”
Meng Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor

Published July 19, 2019

New research from the University at Buffalo provides pathophysiologic evidence of the effect of air pollution on cardiovascular disease in China. The findings also suggests that China may need to revise its standard for one type of pollutant.

Researchers found that long-term exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, as well as proximity to vehicular traffic, were associated with severity of coronary artery calcium, or the buildup of plaque in the artery walls. The study was conducted on 8,867 Chinese adults aged 25 to 92.

The findings, published in JAMA Open Network, are significant because, while similar studies have been conducted in the U.S. and Europe, this one is the first to investigate the connection between air pollution and coronary artery calcium in China. The country has focused more recently on reducing the extremely high levels of air pollution that exist in some regions, particularly northern China.

“This study may provide evidence that coronary atherosclerosis is a pathological pathway through which air pollution exposure increases risk of death from coronary heart disease,” said the paper’s first author, Dr. Meng Wang, assistant professor of epidemiology and environmental health in University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“This finding should contribute to an understanding of air pollutant effects worldwide, providing both much-needed, locally generated data and supportive evidence to inform the air pollution standard setting process on a global scale,” added Dr. Wang, who is also a faculty member in the UB RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water) Institute.

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