Air pollution and oxidative stress in adults suffering from airways diseases. Insights from the gene environment interactions in respiratory diseases multi-case control study
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University of Turin, Italy
University of Verona, Italy
University of Pavia, Italy
University of Sassari, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A177
Background and Objective:
Air pollution is a leading cause of global mortality and morbidity. Oxidative stress is considered a key mechanism underlying air pollution-mediated health effects, especially in the pathogenesis/exacerbation of airways impairments. However, little evidence is available on subgroups at higher risk of developing more severe outcomes. This multi-center study aims to evaluate the association between air pollution and oxidative stress in healthy adults and patients affected by different airways diseases from the Italian GEIRD (Gene Environment Interactions in Respiratory Diseases) multi-case control study.

Current analyses include 1841 adults (49% females, 20-83 years) from four Italian centers: Pavia, Sassari, Turin, and Verona. Following a 2-stage screening process, cases of asthma (n=578), chronic bronchitis (n=23), rhinitis (618), or COPD (n=54) and controls (n=568) were identified. Systemic oxidative stress was quantified by measuring urinary 8-isoprostane and 8-OH-dG. Individual exposures to NO2, PM10, PM2.5, and O3 were derived at residential level during 2013-2015. We investigated the association between oxidative stress biomarkers and air pollution tertiles using multilevel multivariable regression models adjusted by age, BMI, smoking habits, education level and season of sample collection, with centers as random intercept.

The geometric means (ng/mg creatinine) of 8-isoprostane and 8-OH-dG were 0.7 (95%CI:0.68-0.76) and 3.8 (95%CI:3.6-4.0), respectively. Only cases exhibited higher levels of log-transformed 8-isoprostane and 8-OH-dG in association with NO2 (0.22 95%CI:0.00-0.45 and 0.20 95%CI: 0.03-0.37), PM10 (0.34 95%CI: 0.12-0.55 and 0.21 95%CI: 0.05-0.37) and PM2.5 (0.27 95%CI: 0.05-0.49 and 0.18 95%CI: 0.02-0.34) compared to the first tertile of exposure (NO2:5-26µg/m3, PM10: 11-33µg/m3, PM2.5: 8-24µg/m3). No association was observed for O3.

Our findings suggest that exposure to air pollution may increase systemic oxidative stress levels in people suffering from airways diseases. Effective prevention strategies should consider early biological effects observed in susceptible people, whom additional risk level might be currently underrated.