Particulate air pollutants and asthma. A paradigm for the role of oxidative stress in PM-induced adverse health effects

Clin Immunol. 2003 Dec;109(3):250-65. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2003.08.006.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease, which involves a variety of different mediators, including reactive oxygen species. There is growing awareness that particulate pollutants act as adjuvants during allergic sensitization and can also induce acute asthma exacerbations. In this communication we review the role of oxidative stress in asthma, with an emphasis on the pro-oxidative effects of diesel exhaust particles and their chemicals in the respiratory tract. We review the biology of oxidative stress, including protective and injurious effects that explain the impact of particulate matter-induced oxidative stress in asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology*
  • Particle Size
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / immunology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / immunology
  • Vehicle Emissions / adverse effects


  • Air Pollutants
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vehicle Emissions