Long-term exposure to PM1 and PM2.5 is associated with serum cortisone level and meat intake plays a moderation role

Dandan Wei, Shanshan Li, Li Zhang, Pengling Liu, Keliang Fan, Luting Nie, Lulu Wang, Xiaotian Liu, Jian Hou, Songcheng Yu, Linlin Li, Tao Jing, Xing Li, Wenjie Li, Yuming Guo, Chongjian Wang, Wenqian Huo, Zhenxing Mao

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Background: Although short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) was associated with increased glucocorticoids (GCs) levels, available evidence on associations of long-term exposure to PM and GCs levels is still scant. Previous studies has showed that meat intake is associated with sex hormones levels, but it is unknown whether meat intake is associated with GCs levels. Furthermore, the role of meat intake in the associations between PM and GCs levels remains unclear. Aims: The aims of this study were to explore the associations of long-term exposure to PM and GCs levels among Chinese rural adults, and the role of meat intake in these associations. Materials and methods: A total of 6223 subjects were recruited from the Henan Rural Cohort Study. Serum GCs levels were measured with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The concentrations of PM (PM1 and PM2.5) for each subject were assessed with machine learning algorithms. The food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to obtain each participant’ information on meat intake. The effects of PM and meat intake on GCs levels were assessed using generalized linear models. In addition, modification analyses were performed to identify the role of meat intake played in the associations of PM with serum GCs levels. Results: Per 1 μg/m3 increment in PM1 or PM2.5 concentration was associated with a 0.364 ng/ml (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.234, 0.494) or 0.227 ng/ml (95%CI: 0.110, 0.343) increase in serum cortisone, respectively. In addition, the moderation effects of total meat intake and red meat intake on the associations of long-term exposure to PM1 or PM2.5 with serum cortisone were observed (P < 0.05), indicating that individuals who had high levels of PM1 or PM2.5 and meat intake were more susceptible to have a higher state of serum cortisone. Conclusions: Our findings suggested that long-term exposure to PM1 or PM2.5 was associated with serum cortisone. Moreover, meat intake was found to be a significant moderator in the association of PM1 or PM2.5 with serum cortisone levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112133
Number of pages7
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Meat intake
  • Particulate matter
  • Rural population

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