PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Chemistry - Public Health and Epidemiology - Respiratory Medicine

The Dose–Response Decrease in Heart Rate Variability: Any Association with the Metabolites of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Coke Oven Workers?
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Author: Xiaohai Li et al.

by Xiaohai Li, Yingying Feng, Huaxin Deng, Wangzhen Zhang, Dan Kuang, Qifei Deng, Xiayun Dai, Dafeng Lin, Suli Huang, Lili Xin, Yunfeng He, Kun Huang, Meian He, Huan Guo, Xiaomin Zhang, Tangchun Wu


Air pollution has been associated with an increased risk of cardiopulmonary mortality and decreased heart rate variability (HRV). However, it is unclear whether coke oven emissions (COEs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are associated with HRV.


Our goal in the present study was to investigate the association of exposure to COEs and the urinary metabolite profiles of PAHs with HRV of coke oven workers.


We measured benzene soluble matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matters, and PAHs at different workplaces of a coke oven plant. We determined 10 urinary PAH metabolites and HRV indices of 1333 workers using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and a 3-channel digital Holter monitor, respectively.


Our results showed that there was a significant COEs-related dose-dependent decrease in HRV, and an inverse relationship between the quartiles of urinary 2-hydroxynaphthalene and five HRV indices (ptrend<0.01 for all). After adjustment for potential confounders, elevation per interquartile range (IQR) (1.81 µg/mmol creatinine) of urinary 2-hydroxynaphthalene was associated with a 5.46% (95% CI, 2.50–8.32) decrease in standard deviation of NN intervals (SDNN). As workers worked more years, SDNN gradually declined in the same quartiles of 2-hydroxynaphthalene levels (ptrend?=?1.40×10-4), especially in workers with the highest levels of 2-hydroxynaphthalene.


Occupational exposure to COEs is associated with a dose-response decrease in HRV. In particular, increased exposure to 2-hydroxynaphthalene is associated with significantly decreased HRV. Increase of working years and exposure levels has resulted in a gradual decline of HRV.