Air pollution, oxidative stress, and exacerbation of autoimmune diseases

Cent Eur J Immunol. 2017;42(3):305-312. doi: 10.5114/ceji.2017.70975. Epub 2017 Oct 30.


A number of epidemiological studies have shown a strong association between exposure to ambient airborne particulate matter (PM 2.5, PM < 1.0) and lung or cardiovascular diseases characterised by high mortality and morbidity. However, much less is known about the role of air pollution in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, which constitutes a significant problem in modern society. This paper summarises the state of current research regarding the influence of PM on the development and/or progression of autoimmune diseases. A brief review of the great body of research concerning pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders is presented. Then, the scope of our review is narrowed to the research related to the impact of particulate matter on oxidative and nitrosative stress, as well as exacerbation of chronic inflammation, because they can contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases. Moreover, we discuss the impact of various components of PM (metal, organic compounds) on PM toxicity and the ability to generate oxidants.

Keywords: air pollution; autoimmune disease; inflammation; nitrosative stress; oxidative stress; particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Review