Air pollution and atherosclerosis - a brief review of mechanistic links between atherogenesis and biological actions of inorganic part of particulate matter

Folia Med Cracov. 2017;57(3):37-46.


Atherosclerosis is considered as a chronic, low-grade inflammatory process involving the aorta and the medium-sized arteries. Exposure to air pollutants, especially particulate matter, is highly related to cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis. Many studies confirm that proatherogenic potential of particulate matter is determined by its ability to induce inflammation, oxidative stress and thrombosis formation. Recently, an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis has been attributed to autoimmune response. Moreover, harmful effects of PM particles strongly depend on their physicochemical properties. It is still not known what exact role air pollutants, and in particular their inorganic part, play in the development of atherosclerotic lesions. In this article, we will briefy discuss the different aspects of particulate matter activity and its implication with atherosclerosis progression.

Keywords: air pollution; atherosclerosis; particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Atherosclerosis / chemically induced*
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*


  • Particulate Matter