Recent exposure to particle radioactivity and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation: The Framingham Heart Study

Wenyuan Li, Marguerite M. Nyhan, Elissa H. Wilker, Carolina L.Z. Vieira, Honghuang Lin, Joel D. Schwartz, Diane R. Gold, Brent A. Coull, Abdulaziz Mansour Aba, Emelia J. Benjamin, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Petros Koutrakis, Murray A. Mittleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Decay products of radioactive materials may attach to ambient fine particles and form radioactive aerosol. Internal ionizing radiation source from inhaled radioactive aerosol may contribute to the fine particulate matter (PM2.5)-inflammation pathway. However, few studies in humans have examined the associations. Objectives: To examine the associations between particle radioactivity and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation among participants from the Framingham Offspring and Third Generation cohorts. Methods: We included 3996 participants who were not current smokers and lived within 50 km from our central air pollution monitoring station. We estimated regional mean gross beta radioactivity from monitors in the northeastern U.S. as a surrogate for ambient radioactive particles, and calculated the 1- to 28-day moving averages. We used linear regression models for fibrinogen, tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin-6, and myeloperoxidase which were measured once, and linear mixed effect models for 8-epi-prostaglandin F, C-reactive protein, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), P-selectin, and tumor necrosis factor receptor-2 that were measured up to twice, adjusting for demographics, individual- and area-level socioeconomic positions, time, meteorology, and PM2.5. We also examined whether the associations differed by median age, sex, diabetes status, PM2.5 levels, and black carbon levels. Results: The mean age was 54 years and 54% were women. An interquartile range (3 × 10−3 pCi/m3) higher beta radioactivity level at the 7-day moving average was associated with 5.09% (95% CI: 0.92, 9.43), 2.65% (1.10, 4.22), and 4.71% (95% CI: 3.01, 6.44) higher levels of interleukin-6, MCP-1, and P-selectin, but with 7.01% (95% CI: −11.64, −2.15) and 2.70% (95% CI: −3.97, −1.42) lower levels of 8-epi-prostaglandin F and ICAM-1, respectively. Conclusions: Regional mean particle radioactivity was positively associated with interleukin-6, MCP-1, and P-selectin, but negatively with ICAM-1 and 8-epi-prostaglandin F among our study participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1216
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Environment
  • Epidemiology
  • Gross beta radiation
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Particle radioactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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