Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for the largest proportion of mortality and morbidity worldwide. While a strong body of evidence supports a role for long-term air pollution exposure in CVD among adults, relatively little is known about how air pollution exposures during key developmental windows may affect subclinical markers of atherogenesis, and potential disease development, over the lifecourse. Early markers of these pathogenic processes, including carotid artery intima-media thickness and arterial stiffening, can be measured in children and young adults and may provide insight into the beginnings of disease.

The overall goal of this pilot is to generate key preliminary data for a competitive R01 submission to leverage existing cardiovascular health data from the Southern California Children's Health Study (CHS) to inform the relationship between air pollution exposure and subclinical markers of CVD risk and begin to define how environmental air pollutants may relate to changes in cardiovascular risk from childhood and to early adulthood. We will reevaluate 40 CHS emerging adult participants, who provided carotid artery ultrasounds at age ~10. Using the childhood imaging data as a baseline measure of cardiovascular health, the goal of this pilot is to analyze ultrasound images collected during a repeat ultrasound scan from these participants in adulthood to 1) calibrate newer instrumentation to enable longitudinal modeling of subclinical markers of CVD as measured by carotid ultrasound 2) explore calculation of echogenicity, a novel marker of arterial wall composition, from childhood ultrasound images and 3) begin to explore how these subclinical markers of atherosclerosis may relate to air pollution exposure over the lifecourse. These data will inform a larger study with a long-term goal to begin to characterize environmental contributions to early cardiovascular risk factors from childhood into early adulthood, which will be key to identifying those at risk to prevent later life disease. 

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.