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Research team

Inflammatorisk påverkan vid exponering för luftföroreningar i olika arbetsmiljöer

About this team

Team information

Although the risk of dying from heart attack has significantly decreased in Sweden since 1996, we see an increased mortality in heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. Cardiovascular disease still accounts for almost 40 percent of the deaths. It is the most common cause of death in Sweden and thus remains as a major public health problem.

Myocardial infarction has a multifactorial background, and in recent years inflammatory reactions has been shown to be risk factors for heart attack. Airway irritation and inflammation leading to release of inflammatory mediators are risk factors for myocardial infarction. Correlations between exposure to airborne particles and heart attack has been detected and thus are at increased risk of heart attack during continuous exposure to fine particulate air pollution at industrial activities such as foundry, pulp and paper mills, welding and oil mists.

Swedish iron foundry workers have demonstrated an overall excess morbidity in lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, and in recent years; exposures to particulate matter has been associated with both heart attack and stroke. Particles of various types, such as quartz, asbestos and nanoparticles induce inflammation via activation of NLRP3 receptor. NLRP3 is an intracellular receptor, which upon activation forms a protein complex called inflammasome. NLRP3 inflammasome activity lead to  activation of the enzyme caspase -1, which in turn form and release interleukin- 1β (IL-1β), which is one of the body 's most powerful inflammatory substances.

The aim of our research is to describe the exposure to airborne particles in some common engineering environments and to relate this to such inflammatory markers in the blood that can increase the risk of heart attack. Our central idea, that small particles in the lungs stimulate inflammatory reaction of the importance of heart attack risk, a new approach in the work environment research.

Research funding bodies

  • AFA Insurance