From: Manchester University
Published February 17, 2017 02:25 PM

Fish affected by Deepwater Horizon spill give clues to air pollution heart disease

A study by Manchester and Stanford scientists into the effects on fish of a 2010 oil disaster could shed new light on how air pollution affects humans’ hearts.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster resulted in a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an area of water which is heavily populated with fish species. In a paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, the team analysed the effects of individual components of crude oil on the hearts of fish.

By studying cardiac cells from pelagic fish, like tunas and mackerels that live in the Gulf of Mexico, the team identified phenanthrene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) released from oil as a key factor in disrupting heart function.

Furthermore the processes in the heart which are affected by this PAH are common across all vertebrates, including humans, and underlie both the strength and the rhythm of the heart.

This is of particular importance as phenanthrene is present in air pollution in urban areas.

Read more at Manchester University

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