Extracellular vesicle-enriched microRNAs interact in the association between long-term particulate matter and blood pressure in elderly men

Rodosthenis S. Rodosthenous, Itai Kloog, Elena Colicino, Jia Zhong, Luis A. Herrera, Pantel Vokonas, Joel Schwartz, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Diddier Prada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Several studies have shown that exposure to particulate matter (PM) may lead to increased systemic blood pressure, but the underlying biological mechanisms remain unknown. Emerging evidence shows that extracellular vesicle-enriched miRNAs (evmiRNAs) are associated with PM exposure and cardiovascular risk. In this study, we investigated the role of evmiRNAs in the association between PM and blood pressure, as well as their epigenetic regulation by DNA methylation. Methods: Participants (n = 22, men) were randomly selected from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (NAS). Long-term (1-year and 6-month average) PM2.5 exposure was estimated at 1 × 1-km resolution using spatio-temporal prediction models and BC was estimated using validated time varying land use regression models. We analyzed 31 evmiRNAs detected in ≥ 90% of all individuals and for statistical analysis, we used mixed effects models with random intercept adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking, C-reactive protein, platelets, and white blood cells. Results: We found that per each 2-standard deviations increase in 6-month PM2.5 ambient levels, there was an increase in 0.19 mm Hg (95% Confidence Interval [95%CI]: 0.11, 0.28 mmHg; p < 0.001) in systolic blood pressure (SBP). Per each 2-standard deviations increase in 1-year PM2.5 levels, there was an increase in 0.11 mm Hg (95% Confidence Interval [95% CI]: 0.03, 0.19 mmHg; p = 0.012) in SBP in older male individuals. We also found that both miR-199a/b (β = 6.13 mmHg; 95% CI: 0.87, 11.39; pinteraction = 0.07) and miR-223–3p (β = 30.17 mmHg; 95% CI: 11.96, 48.39 mmHg; pinteraction = 0.01) modified the association between 1-year PM2.5 and SBP. When exploring DNA methylation as a potential mechanism that could epigenetically regulate expression of evmiRNAs, we found that PM2.5 ambient levels were negatively associated with DNA methylation levels at CpG (cg23972892) near the enhancer region of miR-199a/b (β = −13.11; 95% CI: −17.70, −8.52; pBonferroni< 0.01), but not miR-223-3p. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that expression of evmiRNAs may be regulated by DNA methylation in response to long-term PM2.5 ambient levels and modify the magnitude of association between PM2.5 and systolic blood pressure in older individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-649
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Air pollution
  • Blood pressure
  • DNA methylation
  • Exosomes
  • MiRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science (all)


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