Effects of air pollutions on cardiopulmonary disease in urban and peri-urban residents in Beijing (AIRLESS)

UK principal investigator: Dr Miranda Loh, Institute of Occupational Medicine
Chinese principal investigator: Professor Zhiwei Sun, Capital Medical University

WP1: Exposure monitoring

This WP focuses on air pollution sampling at fixed monitoring stations and sampling of personal exposure. Fixed site monitoring: Monitoring data for PM2.5, NO2, and O3 will be obtained from fixed sites operated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The physicochemical properties of the PM samples will be analysed, and used in source apportionment.

WP2: Exposure modelling

This work package focuses on analysis of the data collected in WP1 and modelling air pollution concentrations across our Beijing study area. The efforts of this WP will link with work being done by projects in Themes 1 and 2, which will evaluate the emission sources and atmospheric processes which affect the dispersion and transformation of emissions across the city.

WP3: Human panel study 1: biological effects of exposure

WP3 will entail the compilation of exposure and response data, including biochemical analyses of blood and urine specimens and their analysis with respect to within-person and between-person variations.

WP4: Human Panel Study 2: ‘Intervention’ study

We will examine whether reducing particle exposure via facemask wearing has a significant effect on reducing or reversing the effects of air pollution as observed in the panel study (WP3).

WP5: Cohort study of long-term exposure

This WP will entail an analysis of the BHTCS, a cohort of 8000 Beijing residents, free of CVD and aged 40 to 74 years at recruitment in 2012. Demographic data, family and personal medical history, smoking status, levels of blood pressure, fasting glucose, lipids, and other CVD associated information have been collected and blood samples stored in a biobank.

WP6: Cardiovascular and pulmonary toxicity and mechanistic study

The objective of this WP is to investigate the relationships between PM2.5 and cardiopulmonary diseases using animal models to explore thrombogenesis formation, atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, and roles of oxidative stress, inflammation, endothelial injury as well as EMT/MET in cardiopulmonary disease. 

WP7: Early life effects

Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital (BOGH), affiliated to the Capital Medical University has established the early life exposure birth cohort, and 460 samples have been collected until March 1, 2015.

WP8: Exposure control strategies

While pollution control is the best way to safeguard public health from the adverse effects of high air pollution, it is unrealistic to assume that the major improvements will be in place in a short timescale. In that context, it is important to understand what individuals, especially patients, can do to limit exposures.