Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen announced Thursday that people with certain gene variants react with a stronger inflammatory response than those who do not carry this genetic predisposition.
The genetic predisposition is an important factor how people react to air pollutants, said Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen, German Research Center for Environmental Health in the study that is published in the journal International Environment.
According to Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen, air pollutants can cause oxidative stress in the body, which leads to an inflammatory reaction that affects the whole body.
The scientists analyzed inflammatory parameters in a total of 1,765 blood samples that were collected from different groups of patients over a period of 21 months.
At control stations, hourly air measurements were carried out and consequently the pollution levels were calculated.
It was found that patients who had a gene variant for glutathione S-transferase M1 GSTM1 and genetic alterations for the C-reactive protein CRP or fibrinogen, showed clearly increased concentrations of inflammatory mediators in the blood, especially when there are increased levels of air pollution.”
Our results confirm the assumption that air pollutants cause inflammatory reactions, especially in the genetically predisposed persons,” said lead author of the study Dr. Regina Pickford, “Such inflammatory processes precede widespread diseases, such as cardiovascular or metabolic diseases.”
Environmental and lifestyle factors contribute significantly to the emergence of widespread diseases in Germany, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus, said the study.
The aim of the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen is to develop new approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of common diseases.