Paper of the Month

August 2018

Crucial role for Nox2 and sleep deprivation in aircraft noise-induced vascular and cerebral oxidative stress, inflammation, and gene regulation. European Heart Journal, ehy333. DZHK authors: Kröller-Schön, Daiber, Pinto, Wild, Rapp, Münzel

Night-time aircraft noise may cause vascular and brain damage. A study on this was recently published by Thomas Münzel, Andreas Daiber and Philipp Wild from the DZHK partner site Rhine-Main in the European Heart Journal. With their actual study the researchers could show that the elimination of the enzyme ‘phagocytic NADPH oxidase’, which is located mainly in inflammatory cells, completely avoids aircraft noise-induced negative effects on vessels and brain. This enzyme was also in the focus of the last study. The current investigations finally prove its central role and provide also proof that the negative aircraft noise effects are mediated by this enzyme.

The scientists also found that the transcription factor FoxO3 plays a central role in noise-induced vascular and brain damage: The consequence of the observed downregulation of this transcription factor by night-time noise leads to a defective gene expression network that controls cellular events as a function of circadian rhythm.  Disturbance of the circadian rhythm can lead to sleep disorders and subsequently to more cardiovascular, mental and metabolic disorders. To this end, the scientists came to this recognition through extensive genetic analysis by means of „Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)“ and by demonstrating a prevention of the aforementioned vascular damage by treatment with the FoxO3 activator Bepridil. In addition, aircraft noise downregulated and uncoupled the neuronal nitric oxide synthase in the frontal lobe of the brain, which may explain at least in part the retardment of cognitive development in children with respect to learning and memory.

According to the authors, these results represent a further breakthrough in noise research. The finding that the elimination of the enzyme ‘phagocytic NADPH oxidase’ completely prevents vascular damage may lead to new drug strategies to reduce the negative effects of aircraft noise for the body. The authors conclude that it must be an important goal to protect the night's sleep from noise and in particular to implement the legally defined night's sleep from 22 o’clock in the evening to 6 o’clock in the morning.


The publication of the manuscript was accompanied by an editorial from DM Patrick: Nocturnal noise knocks NOS by Nox: mechanisms underlying cardiovascular dysfunction in response to noise pollution European Heart Journal, ehy431