Traffic-related air pollution, biomarkers of metabolic dysfunction, oxidative stress, and CC16 in children

Amy L. Zhang, John R. Balmes, Liza Lutzker, Jennifer K. Mann, Helene G. Margolis, Tim Tyner, Nina Holland, Elizabeth M. Noth, Fred Lurmann, S. Katharine Hammond, Stephanie M. Holm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Previous research has revealed links between air pollution exposure and metabolic syndrome in adults; however, these associations are less explored in children. Objective: This study aims to investigate the association between traffic-related air pollutants (TRAP) and biomarkers of metabolic dysregulation, oxidative stress, and lung epithelial damage in children. Methods: We conducted cross-sectional analyses in a sample of predominantly Latinx, low-income children (n = 218) to examine associations between air pollutants (nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), elemental carbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), fine particulates (PM2.5)) and biomarkers of metabolic function (high-density lipoprotein (HDL), hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), oxidative stress (8-isoprostane), and lung epithelial damage (club cell protein 16 (CC16)). Results: HDL cholesterol showed an inverse association with NO2 and NOx, with the strongest relationship between HDL and 3-month exposure to NO2 (–15.4 mg/dL per IQR increase in 3-month NO2, 95% CI = –27.4, –3.4). 8-isoprostane showed a consistent pattern of increasing values with 1-day and 1-week exposure across all pollutants. Non-significant increases in % HbA1c were found during 1-month time frames and decreasing CC16 in 3-month exposure time frames. Conclusion: Our results suggest that TRAP is significantly associated with decreased HDL cholesterol in longer-term time frames and elevated 8-isoprostane in shorter-term time frames. TRAP could have the potential to influence lifelong metabolic patterns, through metabolic effects in childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Early Life Childhood Exposure
  • Low-SES Populations
  • Metabolic Dysregulation
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Traffic-related Air Pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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