Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, vitamin D, and lung function in children with asthma

Yueh-Ying Han, Franziska Rosser, Erick Forno, Juan C Celedón
Pediatric Pulmonology 2018, 53 (10): 1362-1368

BACKGROUND: It is unclear whether exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) affects lung function in children with asthma. Whether vitamin D insufficiency enhances any detrimental effects of PAH on lung function in asthmatic children is also unknown.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 1,821 children (6-17 years) who participated in the 2007-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Multivariable linear regression was used to analyze the relation between molar mass of urinary PAH metabolites (sum of all PAH (ΣmolPAH), sum of PAH with 2 benzene rings (Σmol2-PAH), or sum of PAH with 3 or 4 benzene rings (Σmol3,4-PAH)) and lung function or exhaled fraction of nitric oxide (FeNO) in children with and without asthma. In this multivariable analysis, we tested whether vitamin D insufficiency (a serum 25(OH)D level <30 ng/mL) interacts with PAH exposure on lung function in children with asthma.

RESULTS: Children in the highest quartiles of urinary Σmol3,4-PAH had 2.3 times increased odds of asthma than those in the lowest quartile of Σmol3,4-PAH. Urinary PAH were not associated with lung function in children with or without asthma. Given a significant interaction between vitamin D insufficiency and PAH metabolites on lung function in asthmatic children, we stratified the analysis by vitamin D status. In this analysis, urinary PAH metabolites were significantly associated with 2.7-3.9% reduced %predicted FEV1 and %predicted FEV1/FVC in children with asthma and vitamin D insufficiency, but not in those with asthma and vitamin D sufficiency.

CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D insufficiency and PAH exposure may have synergistic detrimental effects on lung function in asthmatic children.

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