THURSDAY, Jan. 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Short-term exposure to diesel exhaust fumes has an adverse impact on endothelial function and vascular wall properties, according to a study published online Jan. 29 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Dimitris Tousoulis, M.D., Ph.D., from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, and colleagues exposed 40 healthy individuals to diesel exhaust fumes and/or filtered air during a two-hour session. Flow mediated dilation, pulse wave velocity, and augmentation index were used to measure endothelial function, arterial stiffness, and reflected waves, respectively. Heart rate variability was assessed using standard deviation of normal to normal R-R intervals (SDNN).

Up to 24 hours after exposure, the researchers found decreased flow mediated dilation and increased pulse wave velocity and augmentation index with exposure to diesel exhaust fumes compared with filtered air. During the 24-hour study period, diesel exhaust exposure impaired SDNN compared with filtered air. After diesel exhaust exposure, C-reactive protein and fibrinogen levels were significantly increased, while protein C levels and protein S activity decreased. Compared with nonsmokers, for smokers, exposure to diesel exhaust fumes resulted in higher C-reaction protein concentration.

“These findings highlight the multiple mechanisms affected in parallel by diesel emissions and may have potential clinical and epidemiological implications and give further insight into the multiplicity of mechanisms underlining the increased cardiovascular risk of subjects regularly exposed to diesel exhaust fumes,” the authors write.

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