The pharmacology of particulate matter air pollution-induced cardiovascular dysfunction

Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Jan;113(1):16-29. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2006.06.005. Epub 2006 Aug 21.


Since the London fog of 1952, in which more than 4000 people were killed in 4 days, the combined efforts of scientists from several disciplines, including those from the environmental health, clinical and biomedical disciplines, have raised serious concerns about the impact of air pollutants on human health. These environmental pollutants are rapidly being recognized as important and independent risk factors for several diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease and stroke. Although the relative effects of particulate matter air pollution (aerodynamic diameter <10 microm, or PM(10)) are greater for respiratory than for cardiovascular deaths, the number of deaths attributable to PM(10) is much larger for cardiovascular than for respiratory reasons due to the higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the general population. This review summarizes current understanding of the mechanisms underlying the associations between PM(10) exposure and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Particulate Matter / chemistry
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Particulate Matter
  • Reactive Oxygen Species