Impact of air pollution on intestinal redox lipidome and microbiome

Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 May 1;151:99-110. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2019.12.044. Epub 2020 Jan 2.


Air pollution is a rising public health issue worldwide. Cumulative epidemiological and experimental studies have shown that exposure to air pollution such as particulate matter (PM) is linked with increased hospital admissions and all-cause mortality. While previous studies on air pollution mostly focused on the respiratory and cardiovascular effects, emerging evidence supports a significant impact of air pollution on the gastrointestinal (GI) system. The gut is exposed to PM as most of the inhaled particles are removed from the lungs to the GI tract via mucociliary clearance. Ingestion of contaminated food and water is another common source of GI tract exposure to pollutants. Recent studies have associated air pollution with intestinal diseases, including appendicitis, colorectal cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. In addition to the liver and adipose tissue, intestine is an important organ system for lipid metabolism, and the intestinal redox lipids might be tightly associated with the intestinal and systematic inflammation. The gut microbiota modulates lipid metabolism and contributes to the initiation and development of intestinal disease including inflammatory bowel disease. Recent data support microbiome implication in air pollution-mediated intestinal and systematic effects. In this review, the associations between air pollution and intestinal diseases, and the alterations of intestinal lipidome and gut microbiome by air pollution are highlighted. The potential mechanistic aspects underlying air pollution-mediated intestinal pathology will also be discussed.

Keywords: Air pollution; Intestinal microbiome; Intestinal redox lipidome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / toxicity
  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Lipidomics
  • Microbiota*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter