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There is some suggestion from prior studies that elevated PM levels are associated with increases in blood markers for viscosity and inflammation. Elderly people are regarded as the most susceptible group for PM health effects. To assess the associations between environmental PM concentrations in different size ranges and blood composition we conducted a longitudinal study with a group of 52 elderly persons (CorPuScula study). The mean age of these 41 female and 11 male nonsmoking subjects was 78 years (59–95 years). All of them lived in a home for the aged in the Northern suburbs of Munich (Germany) or in the direct vicinity. Blood samples were taken from each subject on 20 days on average (approximately once every two weeks) between July 2000 and July 2001, always on same day of the week and time of the day. The blood markers fibrinogen, CRP, PAI, factor 1 + 2 fragments, factor 8 and von Willebrand Factor were analyzed. Concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 (daytime means) were measured in the park of the subjects' residence, Ultrafines (UF) at a distance of about 3 km. The PM concentrations ranged between 1 and 81 μg/m'b3 (mean 14) for PM2.5, 1–92 μg/m'b3 (mean 19) for PM10 and 2–98 thousand particles/cm3 (mean 25,000) for UF. GLM models (S+ 6.1) were used for statistical analyses adjusting for trend, season, day of the week and thermal conditions (Physiological Equivalent Temperature PET). We found significant associations for fibrinogen with PM10 (changes with increases in particles by 95-percentile of observed, +3.6%, CI +1.1%/+6.1%) and with PM2.5 concentrations (+3.7%, CI + 1.1%/+6.4%) on the day of the blood sampling. For CRP there are associations for PM2.5 with a 1-day lag (16.9%, CI +0.6%/+36.2%) and UF (mean of last 24 hours before the test) (28.4%, CI +5.2%/+56.7%). For Factor1 + 2 fragments we found significant decreases with PM10, PM2.5 and UF of the same day and UF with a 1-day lag. Also for the other three blood markers significant associations indicate a decrease with increasing PM-concentrations. Our results for Fibrinogen and CRP are in agreement with findings of the few other similar studies. For the other markers analyzed here, however, there are no comparable studies in literature. The divergent changes of some of the blood markers suggest that a simple inflammatory process is not the sole mechanism. The study was funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Environmental Protection

(1) Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational and Environmental Medicine for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Munich, Germany

(2) Howard School of Public Health, Dept. of Environmental Health, Boston, MA, USA

(3) Medical Clinic, Dept. of Hemostaseology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany

(4) Institute of Radiation Protection, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg, Germany

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.