Oxidative stress and air pollution exposure

J Toxicol. 2011;2011:487074. doi: 10.1155/2011/487074. Epub 2011 Aug 13.

Abstract

Air pollution is associated with increased cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality. The mechanisms of air pollution-induced health effects involve oxidative stress and inflammation. As a matter of fact, particulate matter (PM), especially fine (PM(2.5), PM < 2.5 μm) and ultrafine (PM(0.1), PM < 0.1 μm) particles, ozone, nitrogen oxides, and transition metals, are potent oxidants or able to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). Oxidative stress can trigger redox-sensitive pathways that lead to different biological processes such as inflammation and cell death. However, it does appear that the susceptibility of target organ to oxidative injury also depends upon its ability to upregulate protective scavenging systems. As vehicular traffic is known to importantly contribute to PM exposure, its intensity and quality must be strongly relevant determinants of the qualitative characteristics of PM spread in the atmosphere. Change in the composition of this PM is likely to modify its health impact.