Early-Life Persistent Vitamin D Deficiency Alters Cardiopulmonary Responses to Particulate Matter-Enhanced Atmospheric Smog in Adult Mice

Early life nutritional deficiencies can lead to increased cardiovascular susceptibility to environmental exposures. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the effect of early life persistent vitamin D deficiency (VDD) on the cardiopulmonary response to a particulate matter-enhanced photochemical smog. Mice were fed a VDD or normal diet (ND) after weaning. At 17 weeks of age, mice were implanted with radiotelemeters to monitor electrocardiogram, heart rate (HR), and heart rate variability (HRV). Ventilatory function was measured throughout the diet before and after smog exposure using whole-body plethysmography. VDD mice had lower HR, increased HRV, and decreased tidal volume compared with ND. Regardless of diet, HR decreased during air exposure; this response was blunted by smog in ND mice and to a lesser degree in VDD. When compared with ND, VDD increased HRV during air exposure and more so with smog. However, smog only increased cardiac arrhythmias in ND mice. This study demonstrates that VDD alters the cardiopulmonary response to smog, highlighting the possible influence of nutritional factors in determining responses to air pollution. The mechanism of how VDD induces these effects is currently unknown, but modifiable factors should be considered when performing risk assessment of complex air pollution atmospheres.