A research study conducted by American researcher David A. Schwartz, gives us an insight about the relationship that is existing between development atherosclerosis and air pollution consisting of fine particles.
the study was basically done on mice. Two sets of mice were taken; one set was feed high cholesterol diet and exposed to fine particle air pollution. The other set of mice were fed with high cholesterol diet and exposed to fresh, clean and filtered air. It was shown that plaque production was 1.5 times more in the first set than in the second set of experimental mice.
Plaque, a fatty deposit on the inner lining of the blood vessels, can predispose individuals to conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. The fine particle exposure also led to increased inflammation of the artery walls and reduced function of the artery wall's inner lining.
The study, published in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that the combination of fine particle pollution and high-fat diet can promote the development of atherosclerosis, and may explain why people who live in highly polluted areas have a higher risk of heart disease.
The findings are also important because the fine particle concentrations used in the study were well within the range of concentrations found in the air around major metropolitan areas.
The researchers did not observe significant differences in plaque production and artery wall inflammation in fine particle-exposed mice given the normal diet.
However, among mice given clean air, those on the high-fat diet had greater plaque production and artery wall inflammation than those given the normal diet. These results suggest that both diet and fine particle pollution contributed to the development of atherosclerosis in the mice.
"This is one of the first studies to demonstrate measurable changes in plaque production and artery inflammation following exposure to fine particle matter. These findings have important implications for the long-term impact of fine particle air pollution on urban populations," said researcher David A. Schwartz.