Oxidative stress-induced telomeric erosion as a mechanism underlying airborne particulate matter-related cardiovascular disease

Part Fibre Toxicol. 2012 Jun 19;9:21. doi: 10.1186/1743-8977-9-21.

Abstract

Particulate matter (PM) pollution is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, the majority due to cardiovascular disease (CVD). While many potential pathophysiological mechanisms have been proposed, there is not yet a consensus as to which are most important in causing pollution-related morbidity/mortality. Nor is there consensus regarding which specific types of PM are most likely to affect public health in this regard. One toxicological mechanism linking exposure to airborne PM with CVD outcomes is oxidative stress, a contributor to the development of CVD risk factors including atherosclerosis. Recent work suggests that accelerated shortening of telomeres and, thus, early senescence of cells may be an important pathway by which oxidative stress may accelerate biological aging and the resultant development of age-related morbidity. This pathway may explain a significant proportion of PM-related adverse health outcomes, since shortened telomeres accelerate the progression of many diseases. There is limited but consistent evidence that vehicular emissions produce oxidative stress in humans. Given that oxidative stress is associated with accelerated erosion of telomeres, and that shortened telomeres are linked with acceleration of biological ageing and greater incidence of various age-related pathology, including CVD, it is hypothesized that associations noted between certain pollution types and sources and oxidative stress may reflect a mechanism by which these pollutants result in CVD-related morbidity and mortality, namely accelerated aging via enhanced erosion of telomeres. This paper reviews the literature providing links among oxidative stress, accelerated erosion of telomeres, CVD, and specific sources and types of air pollutants. If certain PM species/sources might be responsible for adverse health outcomes via the proposed mechanism, perhaps the pathway to reducing mortality/morbidity from PM would become clearer. Not only would pollution reduction imperatives be more focused, but interventions which could reduce oxidative stress would become all the more important.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*
  • Risk Factors
  • Telomere Shortening / drug effects*
  • Telomere* / pathology

Substances

  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter