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Nanopollutants change blood vessel reactivity

Tiny particles alter normal vessel function in animals 

SAN FRANCISCO — Exposure to nano-sized particles can impair the responsiveness of very tiny blood vessels, new animal studies show.

Vessels called arterioles don’t dilate or constrict appropriately after recent nanoparticle exposure. The changes are small “but equate to a level of impairment that would preclude affected tissues from functioning normally,” says microvascular physiologist Timothy Nurkiewicz of West Virginia University in Morgantown.

His team described new experiments March 13 at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting.

The West Virginia researchers “have a unique set of findings that are pretty powerful,” says Alex Carll, a toxicologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their data “offer further demonstration that air pollutants can impair cardiac function.”

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