A link between cardiopulmonary disease and increased susceptibility to particulate matter (PM) exposure exists, however the mechanistic link remains undefined. To investigate this, we compared the cardiopulmonary response of SHR, SHRSP and WKY rats to oil combustion PM exposure. Male rats (12-15 wks age) were intratracheally instilled with saline or 1.11, 3.33 or 8.33 mg/kg of PM. Pulmonary injury was induced in all strains, and pulmonary leakage was exacerbated in SHRSP. No exposure related lesions were noted in the hearts of either WKY or SHRSP. Changes in levels of ferritin, antioxidants and mitochondrial enzymes seen in the hearts of SHRSP only suggest a cardiac effect in this strain only. These data suggest SHRSP are slightly more susceptible than WKY and SHR to PM induced pulmonary vascular leakage and cardiac oxidative stress. Additionally, translocation of PM associated metals from lungs to systemic circulation may be playing a role in injury causation.