Led by an Indian-origin researcher, a group of cardiovascular researchers of the Ohio State University Medical Center discovered a link between air pollution and how it has an impact on hypertension or high blood pressure.
Sanjay Rajagopalan, the section director of vascular medicine of Ohio State Medical Center and the co-author of the study states, "We now have even more compelling evidence of the strong relationship between air pollution and cardiovascular disease."
In order to establish a conclusion to the study, rats were exposed to levels of airborne pollutants that humans breathe everyday. The experiment denoted that the levels were considerably below levels that are found in developing countries such as China, India, and in some parts of the United States.
Rats with high blood pressure were placed in chambers and exposed to either particulate matter or filtered air. The experiment was highly-controlled and it lasted for six hours a day, five days a week, and over a period of ten weeks.
When the ninth week approached, the researchers monitored responses in blood pressure during that one week. The responses were a direct result of the researchers infusing angiotensin II and another pollutant into mini-pumps within the chambers. The level of air pollution infused into the chambers can be compared to the levels of pollution that a commuter would be exposed to during heavy traffic in areas such as downtown Manhattan.
The analysis revealed to the researchers that short-term exposure to air pollution, within a 10-week period, elevates blood pressure in individuals that are predisposed to the condition.
Sanjay Rajagopalan states, "Recent observational studies in humans suggest that within hours to days following exposure, blood pressure increases."
The results are scheduled for publication in the issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thombosis, and Vascular Biology, a journal published by the American Heart Association. The results will also appear online.
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Published On: October 20, 2008