Association between air pollution and type 2 diabetes: an updated review of the literature

Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Dec 24;10:2042018819897046. doi: 10.1177/2042018819897046. eCollection 2019.


Air pollution and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are critical public health issues worldwide. A large number of epidemiological studies have highlighted the adverse effects of air pollution on diabetes, and include risk profiles for different exposure durations, study design types, subgroup populations, and effects of air pollution components. We researched PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science to identify studies on the association between air pollution and T2DM from January 2009 to January 2019. The aim of this review is to provide a brief overview of epidemiological and experimental studies on air pollution associated with T2DM from the latest research, which may provide practical information about this relationship and possible mechanisms. Current cumulative evidence appears to suggest that T2DM-related biomarkers increase with increasing exposure duration and concentration of air pollutants. The chemical constituents of the air pollutant mixture may affect T2DM to varying degrees. The suggested mechanisms whereby air pollutants induce T2DM include increased inflammation, oxidative stress, and endoplasmic reticulum stress.

Keywords: air pollution; fine particulate matter; insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review