Air Pollution Impacts on Cardiopulmonary Disease in Beijing: An integrated study of Exposure Science, Toxicogenomics and Environmental Epidemiology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Centre for Cardiovascular Science

Abstract

This proposal aims to do a comprehensive evaluation of air pollution health impacts on cardiopulmonary health through integration of exposure, epidemiology, and toxicology/toxicogenomic studies. We will do detailed assessments of people's exposure to air pollution, estimating exposures for long- and short-term epidemiological analyses, and linking these to epidemiological analyses of long term health impacts based on a cohort study, short-term effects (i.e. biomarkers, blood pressure, heart rhythm, peak flow) based on a panel study, and early life effects based on a birth cohort. Additionally, we test the effect of reducing exposure to fine particles, but not gases, by designing an intervention study where volunteers will wear a face mask and examining the exposure-response relationship for the same short-term effects we evaluate in the panel study. The short-term physiological measurements we conduct in the epidemiological studies will provide insight into the mechanisms by which air pollutions affects cardiopulmonary health. To complement the human based studies into mechanisms of action, our project will also conduct extensive in vivo analyses of mechanistic effects, and early life toxicogenomics/metabonomics. Finally, we will provide practical advice to stakeholders based on our study findings, by assessing the potential value of selected strategies for control of exposure to outdoor health protection in a health risk assessment.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit and how?
The immediate beneficiaries will be the environmental and health regulatory agencies in China, (e.g., the State Environment and Health Working Group, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and the National Health and Family Planning Commission) and Beijing in particular (e.g., Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau), responsible for mitigation of adverse air quality in China. The citizens of China will gain immediate health and well-being benefit from mitigation actions implemented as a result of findings from this project in association with findings form the other projects within this directed research programme. Health workers and other academics will benefit from the new information we generate on adverse effects on the cardiopulmonary system caused by air pollution generally and by specific pollutants and sources.

How will they benefit?
The proposed research will provide better understanding of the role of specific pollutants and sources, their mechanisms of action, and the likely effectiveness of interventions to reduce personal exposures. Our research is geared not only towards advancement of scientific knowledge about how high levels of air pollution from sources in Beijing impact cardiopulmonary health on a mechanistic level, but also on determining the impact of interventions on health through experimental design and modelling. In particular, we focus on examining the health effects of air pollution on susceptible populations with cardiovascular and reversible airway disease and the efficacy of measures that can be taken by citizens to reduce their exposure. Additionally, through the understanding that we will gain about where people are most exposed and the source types that contribute to their total personal exposure, we will provide information that can be used to more effectively target interventions - on a regional, local, residential, and individual level.
Regulatory agencies will benefit from this information so that they can design pollution, exposure, and health reduction strategies in a more cost-effective manner, and citizens, especially those with existing cardiovascular and respiratory disease, will benefit from the recommendations of personal-level strategies that we will investigate. Our project will provide information that can be considered by Theme 4 in developing practical policy solutions to reduce air pollution exposures.
Health workers will benefit from the new information we generate through the laboratory models and population studies; new understanding of the inter-relationships between exposure biomarkers, effect biomarkers and susceptibility biomarkers in the population, under conditions of Chinese mega-cities with identification of potentially susceptible subgroups with cardiopulmonary disease; improved understanding of the mechanisms of action or cardiopulmonary toxicity; and knowledge on how a relatively simple intervention to reduce personal exposure may improve short-term health effects, from which benefits of longer-term personal exposure reduction can also be inferred.

Dissemination
We will work with the other Theme 3 project on health effects and with the atmospheric pollution themes (1 and 2) and Theme 4 (Solutions) on developing workshops and stakeholder consultations to disseminate our information to regulatory authorities, non-governmental organisations, and other relevant stakeholders. These will be led by our Chinese partners. In addition, to the standard academic channels of dissemination through journal articles and conferences, we will develop information materials that can be distributed to patients on the health impacts of air pollution and means that they can take to reduce their exposures. These materials will be made available through hospitals and doctors.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description See Researchfish submission by UK principal investigator (Miranda Loh, IOM) which includes findings from University of Edinburgh contribution.
Research within the UoEd laboratories has led to new publication of findings across multiple partners in the programme. These findings may help us to identify which are the harmful constituents in airborne particles.
Exploitation Route See main submission by PI
Sectors Environment,Healthcare,Transport

 
Description The project has been mentioned in a number of meetings and discussions with stakeholders/politicians. See public engagement and policy sections in the main submission by the PI.
Sector Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description APIC - EPR work with Beijing PM - collaboration expanded 
Organisation Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Assessing the ability of Beijing pollution particles to generate oxidative stress
Collaborator Contribution Exchange of filters containing air pollution particles and air pollution monitoring data
Impact Collaboration has been expanded to include more groups within these universities, as well as addition samples, assays and analyses. Manuscript due to be prepared
Start Year 2019
 
Description APIC - EPR work with Beijing PM - collaboration expanded 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assessing the ability of Beijing pollution particles to generate oxidative stress
Collaborator Contribution Exchange of filters containing air pollution particles and air pollution monitoring data
Impact Collaboration has been expanded to include more groups within these universities, as well as addition samples, assays and analyses. Manuscript due to be prepared
Start Year 2019
 
Description APIC - EPR work with Beijing PM - collaboration expanded 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assessing the ability of Beijing pollution particles to generate oxidative stress
Collaborator Contribution Exchange of filters containing air pollution particles and air pollution monitoring data
Impact Collaboration has been expanded to include more groups within these universities, as well as addition samples, assays and analyses. Manuscript due to be prepared
Start Year 2019
 
Description APIC - EPR work with Beijing PM - collaboration expanded 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department Centre for Cardiovascular Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assessing the ability of Beijing pollution particles to generate oxidative stress
Collaborator Contribution Exchange of filters containing air pollution particles and air pollution monitoring data
Impact Collaboration has been expanded to include more groups within these universities, as well as addition samples, assays and analyses. Manuscript due to be prepared
Start Year 2019
 
Description APIC - EPR work with Beijing PM - collaboration expanded 
Organisation University of York
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assessing the ability of Beijing pollution particles to generate oxidative stress
Collaborator Contribution Exchange of filters containing air pollution particles and air pollution monitoring data
Impact Collaboration has been expanded to include more groups within these universities, as well as addition samples, assays and analyses. Manuscript due to be prepared
Start Year 2019
 
Description Deng and Guo-panel studies in Beijing 
Organisation Peking University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to establish panel studies to look at the cardiorespiratory effects of air pollution in human using panel study designs. Critical input and proof reading of manuscripts
Collaborator Contribution Practical aspects of panel studies. Student supervision in Beijing
Impact I published paper and 1 further manuscript under review
Start Year 2016
 
Description Mark Ross, Napier - air pollution, exercise and facemasks 
Organisation Edinburgh Napier University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Initiated collaboration to explore the cardiorespiratory effects of air pollution and whether these can be alleviated by wearing a facemask. UoEd provides cardiovascular expertise and will perform some of the biomarker measurements
Collaborator Contribution Napier Uni will bring expertise in exercise physiology and host the volunteer visits for the study. Institute of Occupational Medicine bring expertise into exposure science and will perform the personal measurements of air pollution
Impact Ethics application in preparation ahead of seeking funding to carry out the study. See above for different disciplines
Start Year 2018
 
Description Mark Ross, Napier - air pollution, exercise and facemasks 
Organisation Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Initiated collaboration to explore the cardiorespiratory effects of air pollution and whether these can be alleviated by wearing a facemask. UoEd provides cardiovascular expertise and will perform some of the biomarker measurements
Collaborator Contribution Napier Uni will bring expertise in exercise physiology and host the volunteer visits for the study. Institute of Occupational Medicine bring expertise into exposure science and will perform the personal measurements of air pollution
Impact Ethics application in preparation ahead of seeking funding to carry out the study. See above for different disciplines
Start Year 2018
 
Description Mark Ross, Napier - air pollution, exercise and facemasks 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Initiated collaboration to explore the cardiorespiratory effects of air pollution and whether these can be alleviated by wearing a facemask. UoEd provides cardiovascular expertise and will perform some of the biomarker measurements
Collaborator Contribution Napier Uni will bring expertise in exercise physiology and host the volunteer visits for the study. Institute of Occupational Medicine bring expertise into exposure science and will perform the personal measurements of air pollution
Impact Ethics application in preparation ahead of seeking funding to carry out the study. See above for different disciplines
Start Year 2018
 
Description Matt Boyles - GRACIOUS - Oxidative stress assays 
Organisation Heriot-Watt University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developing assays for oxidative stress. Exchange of particle test materials, including air pollution particles from APIC project
Collaborator Contribution Developing assays for oxidative stress. Exchange of nanoparticle test materials from the European Commission H2020 programme, GRACIOUS
Impact to follow
Start Year 2019
 
Description Matt Boyles - GRACIOUS - Oxidative stress assays 
Organisation Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Developing assays for oxidative stress. Exchange of particle test materials, including air pollution particles from APIC project
Collaborator Contribution Developing assays for oxidative stress. Exchange of nanoparticle test materials from the European Commission H2020 programme, GRACIOUS
Impact to follow
Start Year 2019
 
Description Matt Boyles - GRACIOUS - Oxidative stress assays 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department Centre for Cardiovascular Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developing assays for oxidative stress. Exchange of particle test materials, including air pollution particles from APIC project
Collaborator Contribution Developing assays for oxidative stress. Exchange of nanoparticle test materials from the European Commission H2020 programme, GRACIOUS
Impact to follow
Start Year 2019
 
Description Sun-Nanoparticle toxicology and molecular interaction in preclinical models 
Organisation Capital University of Medical Sciences
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Intellectual contribution to experimental work, design and manuscript preparation
Collaborator Contribution Experimental work
Impact Publication (Duan et al. 2017) in Science of the Total Environment, and two further manuscripts under review
Start Year 2016
 
Description BHF Clinical and Policy Groups - BHF HQ London - Nov 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact Talk to interested parties at the British Heart Foundation ahead of their "Full of It" air pollution campaign. The talk included discussion of current and upcoming projects including research into extremes of air pollution in China and Delhi (NERC/MRC) and agricultural PM (NIHR).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Interview for Environmental Protection Scotland newsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Interview, published online
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Meeting with Prof Campbell Gemmell, Scotland Clean Air Strategy, Feb 19 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussions with Prof Campbell Gemmell, who will be the chairman of the Air Quality and Health in Scotland Review to be published for the Scottish Parliament later in the year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation at Cross Party Conference, Scottish Parliament, Sept 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact CrossParty conference on air pollution in Scotland with wide range of Stakeholders
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation for Westminster Insights on Government Clear Air Strategy, Feb 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Westminster Insights is an independent organisation that covers policies and initiatives associated with the UK government. Approx 80 people in audience from a wide range of sectors, including government departments
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.westminsterinsight.co.uk/event/3255/Reviewing_the_UKs_Clean_Air_Strategy
 
Description Visits by Members of the Scottish Parliament, Nov 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Separate visits from MSPs/Councillors: Rosanna Cunningham & Anna Richardson. Discussion and tour of facility. Interview videoed for website and social media
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018