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Approved Research

Environmental exposures, medicine use, genetic susceptibility, and the risk of cardiovascular diseases and psychiatric disorders

Principal Investigator: Professor Yaohua Tian
Approved Research ID: 69741
Approval date: June 28th 2022

Lay summary

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and psychiatric disorders account for most deaths globally and are the main drivers of morbidity, disability, and health-care costs. Although the aetiology of CVDs and psychiatric disorders is still mostly elusive, the environmental-genetic interaction effects may be a cause of the diseases. Currently, there has been an increasing interest in the association between environmental exposures (especially air pollution) and the risk of CVDs and psychiatric disorders across the lifetime span. However, little is known about the potential role of genetic susceptibility in the relationship of environmental exposures with adverse health conditions. Exploring the modification effect of genetic susceptibility can help to identify individuals who are more susceptible to the detrimental effects of environmental exposures.  In addition, most patients with CVDs and psychiatric disorders need to take medications to slow down the disease progression. Given that the oxidative stress or inflammation may be involved in the potential mechanism of health effects of air pollutants, subjects taking anti-inflammatory medications or disease-specific medications may be protected against adverse effects of airborne agents and may show smaller responses to air pollutants. Further examing the potential role of medications in exposure-response relationship might help to inform more specific pollution management strategies.

Our project is expected to last 36 months, and the causal evidence generated from the study will inform strategies and policies towards minimising exposures from health inhibiting urban environments, especially harmful air pollutants. The evidence will also inform strategies for pollution management and medication in major cities around the world.

Scope extension:

A: We propose to evaluate the:

-Associations of residential environmental exposures (i.e., air pollution, noise pollution, meteorological conditions, and greenspace) with the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and psychiatric disorders.

-The interactions between genetic variants and medications and environmental exposures in relation to risks of CVDs and psychiatric disorders and their proxy biomarkers such as lipid profile, blood glucose, and body composition.

B: Based on our large population-based cohort study in China, namely the Kailuan Study (consist of 100000 Chinese participants), we propose to:

-Compare findings obtained from the UK Biobank and from the Kailuan Study and try to explain the difference in risk of health outcomes between two ethnic groups.

C: -Associations of residential environmental exposures (i.e., air pollution, noise pollution, meteorological conditions, and greenspace) with the risk of respiratory diseases and kidney diseases.

-The interactions between genetic variants and medications  and environmental exposures in relation to risk of respiratory diseases and kidney diseases and their biomarkers such as lung function and uric acid.

D: -Associations of residential environmental exposures (i.e., air pollution, noise pollution, meteorological conditions, and greenspace) with the risk of digestive diseases and ear diseases.

-The interactions between genetic variants and medications and environmental exposures in relation to risk of digestive diseases and ear diseases.