Cardiovascular and thermoregulatory effects of inhaled PM-associated transition metals: a potential interaction between nickel and vanadium sulfate.
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Recent epidemiological studies have shown an association between daily morbidity and mortality and ambient particulate matter (PM) air pollution. It has been proposed that bioavailable metal constituents of PM are responsible for many of the reported adverse health effects. Studies of instilled residual oil fly ash (ROFA) demonstrated immediate and delayed responses, consisting of bradycardia, hypothermia, and arrhythmogenesis in conscious, unrestrained rats. Further investigation of instilled ROFA-associated transition metals showed that vanadium (V) induced the immediate responses, while nickel (Ni) was responsible for the delayed effects. Furthermore, Ni potentiated the immediate effects caused by V when administered concomitantly. The present study examined the responses to these metals in a whole-body inhalation exposure. To ensure valid dosimetric comparisons with instillation studies, 4 target exposure concentrations ranging from 0.3-2.4 mg/m(3) were used to incorporate estimates of total inhalation dose derived using different ventilatory parameters. Rats were implanted with radiotelemetry transmitters to continuously acquire heart rate (HR), core temperature (T(CO)), and electrocardiographic data throughout the exposure. Animals were exposed to aerosolized Ni, V, or Ni + V for 6 h per day x 4 days, after which serum and bronchoalveolar lavage samples were taken. Even at the highest concentration, V failed to induce any significant change in HR or T(CO). Ni caused delayed bradycardia, hypothermia, and arrhythmogenesis at concentrations > 1.2 mg/m(3). When combined, Ni and V produced observable delayed effects at 0.5 mg/m(3) and potentiated responses at 1.3 mg/m(3), greater than were produced by the highest concentration of Ni (2.1 mg/m(3)) alone. These results indicate a possible synergistic relationship between inhaled Ni and V, and provide insight into potential interactions regarding the toxicity of PM-associated metals.