Air Pollution, Genetic Susceptibility and Risk of IPF
Have you ever considered the impact that air pollution may have on your health? Recent research has shown that long term exposure air pollutants may increase the risk of a condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). IPF is a chronic lung disease that causes the tissue in the lungs to become thick and stiff, making it difficult to breathe.
The study*, conducted by researchers using data from the UK Biobank, investigated the relationship between air pollution and risk of incidence of IPF. They estimated the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (fine particulate matter with diameter <2.5μm (PM2.5) and <10μm (PM10)) in the air. They also constructed a polygenic risk score (PRS) using genetic information from over 400,000 participants in the UK Biobank.
The results showed that long-term exposure to air pollutants, such as NO2, NOx, and PM2.5, may increase the risk of IPF. The highest population attribution risk was found for PM2.5, followed by NOx and NO2. 26% of incident IPF cases in subjects with high PM2.5 concentration was attributed to PM2.5 exposure.
The study also showed that the effects of air pollutants and genetic susceptibility on IPF risk are additive. Participants with both a high PRS and high air pollution had the highest risk of developing IPF compared to those with a low PRS and low air pollution.
In conclusion, long-term exposure to air pollutants may elevate the risk of IPF. It is important to consider the impact of air pollution on our health and to take steps to reduce our exposure.