Environmental Fe, Ti, Al, Cu, Hg, Bi, and Si nanoparticles in the atrioventricular conduction axis and the associated ultrastructural damage in young urbanites: Cardiac arrhythmias caused by anthropogenic, industrial, e-waste, and indoor nanoparticles

Lilian Calderón-Garciduenas, Angélica González-Maciel, Rafael Reynoso-Robles, José Luis Rodríguez-López, Hector G. Silva-Pereyra, Gladis J. Labrada-Delgado, Beatriz Pérez-Guillé, Rosa Eugenia Soriano-Rosales, Miguel Angel Jiménez Bravo Luna, Rafael Brito-Aguilar, Partha S. Mukherjee, Carlos Gayosso-Chávez, Ricardo Delgado-Chávez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Air pollution exposure is a risk factor for arrhythmia. The atrioventricular (AV) conduction axis is key for the passage of electrical signals to ventricles. We investigated whether environmental nanoparticles (NPs) reach the AV axis and whether they are associated with ultrastructural cell damage. Here, we demonstrate the detection of the shape, size, and composition of NPs by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX) in 10 subjects from Metropolitan Mexico City (MMC) with a mean age of 25.3 ± 5.9 and a 71-year-old subject without cardiac pathology. We found that in every case, Fe, Ti, Al, Hg, Cu, Bi, and/or Si spherical or acicular NPs with a mean size of 36 ± 17 nm were present in the AV axis in situ, freely and as conglomerates, within the mitochondria, sarcomeres, lysosomes, lipofuscin, and/or intercalated disks and gap junctions of Purkinje and transitional cells, telocytes, macrophages, endothelium, and adjacent atrial and ventricular fibers. Erythrocytes were found to transfer NPs to the endothelium. Purkinje fibers with increased lysosomal activity and totally disordered myofilaments and fragmented Z-disks exhibited NP conglomerates in association with gap junctions and intercalated disks. AV conduction axis pathology caused by environmental NPs is a plausible and modifiable risk factor for understanding common arrhythmias and reentrant tachycardia. Anthropogenic, industrial, e-waste, and indoor NPs reach pacemaker regions, thereby increasing potential mechanisms that disrupt the electrical impulse pathways of the heart. The cardiotoxic, oxidative, and abnormal electric performance effects of NPs in pacemaker locations warrant extensive research. Cardiac arrhythmias associated with nanoparticle effects could be preventable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8203-8214
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume55
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Atrioventricular AV node
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • E-waste
  • Glycocalyx
  • Heart pacemakers
  • Indoor pollution
  • Metropolitan Mexico City
  • Nanoparticles
  • Reentry tachycardia AVNRT
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Young urbanites

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