Research Reports

HEI’s mission is to provide credible science to support environmental regulations and other policy decisions. The results of each HEI-funded project undergo peer-review by outside scientists and the Health Review Committee. The HEI Research Reports contain the Investigator’s Report and the Review Committee’s evaluation of the study, summarized in a Commentary or short Critique.

ISSN 1041-5505 (print)        ISSN 2688-6855 (online) 

Research Report 109
Richard B Schlesinger
Mitchell Cohen
Terry Gordon
Christine Nadziejko
Judith T Zelikoff
Maureen Sisco
Jean F Regal
Margaret G Ménache

Dr. Schlesinger and colleagues at the New York University School of Medicine used a well-established animal model of airway hyperresponsiveness (a heightened tendency of the bronchial airways to constrict) and allergic asthma to determine whether ozone can induce airway hyperresponsiveness or exacerbate existing airway hyperresponsiveness. Male and female guinea pigs were exposed to ozone concentrations comparable to levels to which humans are exposed during periods of ozone pollution.

Research Report 108
Genevieve M Matanoski
Xuguang Tao

Drs. Matanoski and Tao at Johns Hopkins University examined the relationship between styrene exposure and heart disease in workers in styrene-butadiene polymer manufacturing plants between 1943 and 1982. Workers who had died from ischemic heart disease were compared to a subgroup of all men employed in two styrene-butadiene polymer manufacturing plants during that time. Individual exposure histories were determined from job records, or constructed using a statistical method to estimate exposure when records were missing.

Research Report 107
Alan W Gertler
et al
Daniel Grosjean
et al

This report describes two studies that measured emissions in roadway tunnels. Dr. Alan Gertler and colleagues at the Desert Research Institute studied particulate matter emissions in the Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel located on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Dr Daniel Grosjean and colleague at DGA, Inc studied carbonyl emissions in the Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel and in the Caldecott Tunnel in California. The unique environment in tunnel studies allows the investigators to measure emission rates averaged over many vehicles, to determine the physical and chemical character of emissions under ambient conditions, and in some instances to compare current emissions with past emissions at the same location. Both groups of investigators also measured emissions at times when the proportions of gasoline engine vehicles and diesel engine vehicles differed, allowing them to estimate the differences between emissions from the two sources.

Research Report 105
George D Leikauf
Susan A McDowell
Scott C Wesselkamper
Clay R Miller
William D Hardie
Kelly Gammon
Pratim P Biswas
Thomas R Korfhagen
Cindy J Bachurski
Jonathan S Wiest
Klaus Willeke
Eula Bingham
John E Leikauf
Bruce J Aronow
et al

Dr. Leikauf and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center hypothesized that the response of mice exposed to high concentrations of inhaled nickel particles was under genetic control. Using nickel, a transition element shown to cause adverse effects at high concentrations in ambient air, the investigators sought to identify the genes involved in controlling the inflammatory and toxic effects of continuous exposure to nickel particles.

Research Report 106
Lester Kobzik
Carroll-Ann W Goldsmith
Yao Yu Ning
Guozhong Qin
Bill Morgan
Amy Imrich
Joy Lawrence
GG Krishna Murthy
Paul J Catalano

Dr. Lester Kobzik and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health used a mouse model of asthma to evaluate how inhaling pollutants affects the airways. The mice were sensitized to the allergen ovalbumin, which induces a lung condition in the mice similar to that found in people with asthma. The investigators hypothesized that exposure to concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) plus ozone would cause a synergistic (or greater-than-additive) response in the mice.

Research Report 104
Renaud Vincent
Premkumari Kumarathasan
Patrick Goegan
Stephen G Bjarnason
Josée Guénette
Denis Bérubé
Ian Y Adamson
Suzanne Desjardins
Richard T Burnett
Frederick J Miller
Bruno Battistini

Dr. Renaud Vincent and his colleagues of Health Canada, Ottawa, hypothesized that ambient PM would cause changes in certain cardiovascular parameters. The investigators implanted rats with radiotransmitters to collect continuous data and indwelling catheters for repeated blood sampling. The animals were exposed to clean air or one of four types of resuspended particles: ambient particles (Ottawa dust), ambient particles that had been washed in water to remove soluble components, diesel soot, or carbon black.

Research Report 96
Günter Oberdörster
Jacob N Finkelstein
Carl Johnston
Robert Gelein
Christopher Cox
Raymond Baggs
Alison CP Elder

Dr Günter Oberdörster and colleagues at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry hypothesized that inhaled ultrafine particles induce an inflammatory response in the airways of mice and rats and that animals with preexisting airway inflammatory conditions may be particularly vulnerable. The investigators focused on inhaled carbon and platinum particles because these elements are constituents of particles found in urban atmospheres.

Research Report 103
David A Eastmond
Maik Schuler
Chris Frantz
Hongwei Chen
Robert Parks
Ling Wang
Leslie Hasegawa

Dr. Eastmond and colleagures at the University of California, Riverside investigated whether chromosomal changes could be used as biomarkers of benzene exposure in mice and humans. The first part of the study involved detecting chromosomal alterations in cells using a modification of a molecular cytogenetic technique known as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Eastmond and colleagues evaluated the frequency of such chromosomal aberrations in the erythrocytes (red blood cells) from the bone marrow of mice exposed to various doses of benzene and for different exposure durations.

Research Report 102
Jun-Yan Hong
et al
Wolfgang Dekant
et al
Janet Benson
et al

The three research projects contained in this report were initiated to increase our knowledge of the metabolism of ether oxygenates in humans and other species. Adding oxygenates, such as MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether), to gasoline promotes more efficient combustion and reduces emission of carbon monoxide, ozone-forming hydrocarbons, and some air toxics, by increasing the oxygen content of the fuel. On the other hand, some oxygenates may increase emission of toxic compounds such as formaldehyde or acetaldehyde, and increased use of MTBE in fuel in the early 1990s led to complaints of unpleasant odor, headaches, and burning of eyes and throat. The studies were conducted by Dr Jun-Yan Hong (the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), Dr Wolfgang Dekant (University of Würzburg), and Dr Janet Benson (Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute).

Research Report 101
Per Gerde
Bruce A Muggenburg
Margot Lundborg
Yohannes Tesfaigzi
Alan R Dahl

Dr. Gerde and colleagues at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute examined the effects of organic compounds in diesel exhaust such as genotoxic polynuclear aromatic compounds (PAHs). The investigators removed most of the organic compounds from diesel exhaust particles and bound radioactive Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a type of PAH is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals, to them. They exposed the lower respiratory tract of three dogs to the particles and measured the levels of particle-bound BaP and free BaP released from particles in the peripheral region of the lungs.