|Description||Background: Exposure to combustion-derived fine particulate matter (PM) is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality especially in individuals with cardiovascular disease, including hypertension. PM inhalation causes several adverse changes in cardiac function that are reflected in the electrocardiogram (ECG), including altered cardiac rhythm, myocardial ischemia, and reduced heart rate variability (HRV). The sensitivity and reliability of ECG-derived parameters as indicators of the cardiovascular toxicity of PM in rats are unclear.
Objective: We hypothesized that spontaneously hypertensive (SH) rats are more susceptible to the development of PM-induced arrhythmia, altered ECG morphology, and reduced HRV than are Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats, a related strain with normal blood pressure.
Methods: We exposed rats once by nose-only inhalation for 4 hr to residual oil fly ash (ROFA), an emission source particle rich in transition metals, or to air and then sacrificed them 1 or 48 hr later.
Results: ROFA-exposed SH rats developed nonconducted P-wave arrhythmias but no changes in ECG morphology or HRV. We found no ECG effects in ROFA-exposed WKY rats. ROFA-exposed SH rats also had greater pulmonary injury, neutrophil infiltration, and serum C-reactive protein than did ROFA-exposed WKY rats.
Conclusions: These results suggest that cardiac arrhythmias may be an early sensitive indicator of the propensity for PM inhalation to modify cardiovascular function. Originally published Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 117, No. 5, May 2009||en_US