In this pilot study, we hypothesize that dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) has the potential to evaluate differences in atherosclerosis profiles in patients subjected to high (initial dust cloud) and low (after 13 September 2001) particulate matter (PM) exposure. Exposure to PM may be associated with adverse health effects leading to increased morbidity. Law enforcement workers were exposed to high levels of particulate pollution after working at "Ground Zero" and may exhibit accelerated atherosclerosis. 31 subjects (28 male) with high (n = 19) or low (n = 12) exposure to PM underwent DCE-MRI. Demographics (age, gender, family history, hypertension, diabetes, BMI, and smoking status), biomarkers (lipid profiles, hs-CRP, BP) and ankle-brachial index (ABI) measures (left and right) were obtained from all subjects. Differences between the high and low exposures were compared using independent samples t test. Using linear forward stepwise regression with information criteria model, independent predictors of increased area under curve (AUC) from DCE-MRI were determined using all variables as input. Confidence interval of 95 % was used and variables with p > 0.1 were eliminated. p < 0.05 was considered significant. Subjects with high exposure (HE) had significantly higher DCE-MRI AUC uptake (increased neovascularization) compared to subjects with lower exposure (LE). (AUC: 2.65 ± 0.63 HE vs. 1.88 ± 0.69 LE, p = 0.016). Except for right leg ABI, none of the other parameters were significantly different between the two groups. Regression model indicated that only HE to PM, CRP > 3.0 and total cholesterol were independently associated with increased neovascularization (in decreasing order of importance, all p < 0.026). HE to PM may increase plaque neovascularization, and thereby potentially indicate worsening atherogenic profile of "Ground Zero" workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-833
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Particulate matter
  • Plaque neovascularization


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