Background: This paper presents an application of quantitative ion character–activity relationships (QICAR) to estimate associations of human cardiovascular (CV) diseases (CVDs) with a set of metal ion properties commonly observed in ambient air pollutants. QICAR has previously been used to predict ecotoxicity of inorganic metal ions based on ion properties.
Objectives: The objective of this work was to examine potential associations of biological end points with a set of physical and chemical properties describing inorganic metal ions present in exposures using QICAR.
Methods: Chemical and physical properties of 17 metal ions were obtained from peer-reviewed publications. Associations of cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, stroke, and thrombosis with exposures to metal ions (measured as inference scores) were obtained from the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD). Robust regressions were applied to estimate the associations of CVDs with ion properties.
Results: CVD was statistically significantly associated (Bonferroni-adjusted significance level of 0.003) with many ion properties reflecting ion size, solubility, oxidation potential, and abilities to form covalent and ionic bonds. The properties are relevant for reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, which has been identified as a possible mechanism leading to CVDs.
Conclusion: QICAR has the potential to complement existing epidemiologic methods for estimating associations between CVDs and air pollutant exposures by providing clues about the underlying mechanisms that may explain these associations.