Environment, epigenetics and rheumatic disease

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sasha Bernatsky

Affiliation: McGill University

Start Year: 2019

There is a growing interest in the role of air pollution on inflammation and disease. Fine particles (PM2.5) in air pollution can enter the body through airways and can trigger an inflammatory response. Gases from traffic related and industrial air pollutants may also have a direct effect on inflammation and disease. Our team has shown an association between road-traffic density and rheumatic disease onset in Montreal, found links between PM2.5 levels and rheumatic disease activity, and suggested PM2.5 and industrial emissions as triggers of autoimmune disease. The key areas that remain unknown are what types of pollution exposures might be most important, for both risk of antibody development and autoimmune disease risk. Our proposal will fill these remaining important knowledge gaps.