Effects of Particulate Matter on Insulin Resistance and Endothelial Progenitor Cells

Flow cytometric dot plots circulating EPCs

Short-term exposure of mice to concentrated ambient air particulate matter (CAP) decreases vascular insulin sensivity and circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). CAP exposure affects vascular health by triggering low-grade inflammation via inflammasome activation. Our research is focused on determining:

  • whether CAP-exposure alone is sufficient to induce systemic insulin resistance or whether it only exacerbates the effects of obesity, and
  • the physico-chemical composition and body deposition of CAP to establish a more precise dosimetry and to find potential particle properties responsible for the biological effects.

We will utilize a mouse model of diet-induced obesity (DIO) to investigate effects of HFD-feeding, and use mice deficient in NLRP3 and Casp-1 to test the contribution of inflammasome activation in the development of vascular insulin resistance.

Completion of these studies will provide novel insights into the mechanism(s) by which inhaled ambient paticles increase the risk for T2D and CVD, and as such will provide unique and detailed information of particle dose, composition and deposition and their correlation with biological responses, which could lead to the development of novel biomarkers and strategies for the regulation of environmental pollutants and the prevention and management of insulin resistance, obesity, T2D and CVD.

Principal Investigator

Petra Haberzettl, Ph.D.

Petra Haberzettl, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine
E-mail Dr. Haberzettl

Research Focus

  • Effects of exposures to fine particulate matter and volatile air pollutants as well as obesity on EPC levels and function
  • Endothelial health and vascular resistance to insulin and VEGF
  • Changes leading to the progression of the vascular complications and the metabolic syndrome.

Related publications:
Chronic oral exposure to the aldehyde pollutant acrolein induces dilated cardiomyopathy

Exposure to Ambient Air Fine Particulate Matter Prevents VEGF-Induced Mobilization of Endothelial Progenitor Cells from the Bone Marrow