Exposure to air pollution particles at mountaintop mining sites may lead to cardiovascular dysfunction, study finds

October 10, 2012, West Virginia University

A published study by researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine and School of Public Health is the first of its kind to suggest that exposure to air pollution particles from mountaintop mining sites may impair the blood vessels' ability to dilate, which may lead to cardiovascular disease.

Air pollution particulate matter consisting largely of sulfur and silica was collected through a vacuum system within one mile of an active mountaintop mining site in southern West Virginia. Adult male rats were exposed to the , and, 24 hours following the exposure, their blood vessels' ability to dilate and function normally was significantly reduced.

"This is the first study of this kind to directly associate mountaintop mining air pollution with a lack of vascular function. West Virginians who live near mountaintop mining sites are exposed to comparable levels of air pollution, and, with pre-existing health conditions in West Virginia, certain populations are pre-disposed to cardiac distress," Tim Nurkiewicz, Ph.D., associate professor in the WVU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, said. "It is going to be foreseeably worse for those individuals who live near mountaintop mining sites."

This is the first of a series of translational studies, and the second phase of the study will be to examine specific bodily organs that are affected or stressed by air , Dr. Nurkiewicz said.

Explore further: Large numbers of birth defects seen near mountaintop mining operations

More information: Knuckles, T. et al. "Air pollution particulate matter collected from an Appalachian mountaintop mining site induces microvascular dysfunction". Microcirculation.

Related Stories

Large numbers of birth defects seen near mountaintop mining operations

June 23, 2011
Birth defects are significantly more common in areas of mountaintop coal mining and are on the rise as the practice becomes more common, according to a study by researchers at Washington State University and West Virginia ...

Study finds association between air pollution and cognitive decline in women

February 13, 2012
A large, prospective study led by a researcher at Rush University Medical Center indicates that chronic exposure to particulate air pollution may accelerate cognitive decline in older adults. The results of the study will ...

Recommended for you

Heart researchers develop a new, promising imaging technique for cardiac arrhythmias

February 22, 2018
Every five minutes in Germany alone, a person dies of sudden cardiac arrest or fibrillation, the most common cause of death worldwide. This is partly due to the fact that doctors still do not fully understand exactly what ...

Scientists use color-coded tags to discover how heart cells develop

February 22, 2018
UCLA researchers used fluorescent colored proteins to trace how cardiomyocytes—cells in heart muscle that enable it to pump blood—are produced in mouse embryos. The findings could eventually lead to methods for regenerating ...

Beetroot juice supplements may help certain heart failure patients

February 22, 2018
Beetroot juice supplements may help enhance exercise capacity in patients with heart failure, according to a new proof-of-concept study. Exercise capacity is a key factor linked to these patients' quality of life and even ...

'Beetroot pill' could help save patients from kidney failure after heart X-ray

February 22, 2018
Beetroot may reduce the risk of kidney failure in patients having a heart x-ray, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London.

Women once considered low risk for heart disease show evidence of previous heart attack scars

February 20, 2018
Women who complain about chest pain often are reassured by their doctors that there is no reason to worry because their angiograms show that the women don't have blockages in the major heart arteries, a primary cause of heart ...

Heart attack symptoms often misinterpreted in younger women

February 20, 2018
Young women who report heart attack symptoms are more likely to have them dismissed by their providers as not heart related, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) finds.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.