Purpose of review: Air pollution is established as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Ambient particulate matter (PM), a principal component of air pollutant, has been considered as a main culprit of the adverse effects of air pollution on human health.
Recent findings: Extensive epidemiological and toxicological studies have demonstrated particulate air pollution is positively associated with the development of CVDs. Short-term PM exposure can trigger acute cardiovascular events while long-term exposure over years augments cardiovascular risk to an even greater extent and can reduce life expectancy by a few years. Inhalation of PM affects heart rate variability, blood pressure, vascular tone, blood coagulability, and the progression of atherosclerosis. The potential molecular mechanisms of PM-caused CVDs include direct toxicity to the cardiovascular system or indirect injury by inducing systemic inflammation and oxidative stress in circulation. This review mainly focuses on the acute and chronic effects of ambient PM exposure on the development of cardiovascular diseases and the possible mechanisms for PM-induced increases in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Additionally, we summarized some appropriate interventions to attenuate PM air pollution-induced cardiovascular adverse effects, which may promote great benefits to public health.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Inflammation; Intervention; Oxidative stress; Particulate matter.