Friday, May 17, 2013

Breathing auto emissions turns HDL cholesterol from 'good' to 'bad'

Academic researchers have found that breathing motor vehicle emissions triggers a change in high-density lipoprotein HDL) cholesterol, altering its cardiovascular protective qualities so that it actually contributes to clogged arteries.

In addition to changing HDL from "good" to "bad," the inhalation of emissions activates other components of oxidation, the early cell and tissue damage that causes inflammation, leading to hardening of the arteries, according to the research team, which included scientists from UCLA and other institutions.

The findings of this early study, done in mice, are available in the online edition of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, a publication of the American Heart Association, and will appear in the journal's June print edition.

Emission particles such as those from vehicles are major pollutants in urban settings. These particles are coated in chemicals that are sensitive to free radicals, which have been known to cause oxidation. The mechanism behind how this leads to atherosclerosis, however, has not been well understood.

In the study, the researchers found that after two weeks of exposure to vehicle emissions, mice showed....

Read complete UCLA article
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