Metabolic Syndrome and Air Pollution: A Narrative Review of Their Cardiopulmonary Effects

Toxics. 2019 Jan 30;7(1):6. doi: 10.3390/toxics7010006.


Particulate matter (PM) exposure and metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) are both significant global health burdens. PM exposure has been implicated in the pathogenesis of MetSyn and cardiopulmonary diseases. Individuals with pre-existing MetSyn may be more susceptible to the detrimental effects of PM exposure. Our aim was to provide a narrative review of MetSyn/PM-induced systemic inflammation in cardiopulmonary disease, with a focus on prior studies of the World Trade Center (WTC)-exposed Fire Department of New York (FDNY). We included studies (1) published within the last 16-years; (2) described the epidemiology of MetSyn, obstructive airway disease (OAD), and vascular disease in PM-exposed individuals; (3) detailed the known mechanisms of PM-induced inflammation, MetSyn and cardiopulmonary disease; and (4) focused on the effects of PM exposure in WTC-exposed FDNY firefighters. Several investigations support that inhalation of PM elicits pulmonary and systemic inflammation resulting in MetSyn and cardiopulmonary disease. Furthermore, individuals with these preexisting conditions are more sensitive to PM exposure-related inflammation, which can exacerbate their conditions and increase their risk for hospitalization and chronic disease. Mechanistic research is required to elucidate biologically plausible therapeutic targets of MetSyn- and PM-induced cardiopulmonary disease.

Keywords: World Trade Center; blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; metabolic syndrome; particulate matter; systemic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review