Perturbation of amino acid metabolism mediates air pollution associated vascular dysfunction in healthy adults


The molecular mechanisms of air pollution-associated adverse cardiovascular effects remain largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the impacts of ambient air pollution on vascular function and the potential mediation effects of amino acids in a longitudinal follow-up of 73 healthy adults living in Beijing, China, between 2014 and 2016. We estimated associations between air pollutants and serum soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1) and plasma levels of amino acids using linear mixed-effects models, and elucidated the biological pathways involved using mediation analyses. Higher air pollutant levels were significantly associated with increases in sICAM-1 levels. Metabolomics analysis showed that altered metabolites following short-term air pollution exposure were mainly involved in amino acid metabolism. Significant reductions in levels of plasma alanine, threonine and glutamic acid of 2.1 μM [95% confidence interval (CI): -3.8, -0.3] to 62.0 μM (95% CI: -76.1, -47.9) were associated with interquartile range increases in moving averages of PM2.5, BC, CO and SO2 in 1-7 days prior to clinical visits. Mediation analysis also showed that amino acids can mediate up to 48% of the changes in sICAM-1 associated with increased air pollution exposure. Our results indicated that air pollution may prompt vascular dysfunction through perturbing amino acid metabolism.

Authors: Baihuan Feng, Changjie Liu, Tieci Yi, Xiaoming Song, Yang Wang, Shengcong Liu, Jie Chen, Qian Zhao, Yi Zhang, Tong Wang, Hongbing Xu, Sanjay Rajagopalan, Robert Brook, Jianping Li, Lemin Zheng, Wei Huang
; Full Source: Environmental research 2021 Jun 21;111512. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111512.