Air Quality-by-Genomics Interactions in a Cardiovascular Disease Cohort

This unpublished report describes a three-year study aimed at examining the effects of short-term and long-term air pollution exposure on cardiovascular disease outcomes in a high-risk population, linking biomarker and genomic data to air quality data. Kraus and colleagues at Duke University used previously collected data from CATHGEN, a cohort of approximately 7,000 individuals undergoing coronary artery catheterization in North Carolina between 2001 and 2010. They collaborated with researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to obtain air quality data and estimate exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone for each cohort participant. By linking existing biomarker and genomic data collected for the CATHGEN cohort to the air quality data, they hoped to find patterns in disease markers and susceptibility factors in this population.

The topic of the study was of interest given the rapid development and use of genomic research and molecular biology, which now enables researchers to establish whether differences in genotype alter the effect of air pollution on a health outcome of interest. Further understanding of the biological mechanisms of air pollution-related health effects would also provide support for the existing evidence of the health effects of air pollution.

This report and the accompanying Review Committee Critique of the report are available upon request.