Recent Insights into Particulate Matter (PM2.5)-Mediated Toxicity in Humans: An Overview

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jun 19;19(12):7511. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19127511.


Several epidemiologic and toxicological studies have commonly viewed ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5), defined as particles having an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 µm, as a significant potential danger to human health. PM2.5 is mostly absorbed through the respiratory system, where it can infiltrate the lung alveoli and reach the bloodstream. In the respiratory system, reactive oxygen or nitrogen species (ROS, RNS) and oxidative stress stimulate the generation of mediators of pulmonary inflammation and begin or promote numerous illnesses. According to the most recent data, fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, is responsible for nearly 4 million deaths globally from cardiopulmonary illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory infections, chronic lung disease, cancers, preterm births, and other illnesses. There has been increased worry in recent years about the negative impacts of this worldwide danger. The causal associations between PM2.5 and human health, the toxic effects and potential mechanisms of PM2.5, and molecular pathways have been described in this review.

Keywords: COVID; H1N1; PM2.5; SARS; air pollution; health effects; particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollutants* / toxicity
  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity
  • Pneumonia*
  • Premature Birth*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Reactive Oxygen Species

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Capacity Enhancement Project through a Korea Basic Science Institute (National Research Facilities and equipment Center) grant funded by the Ministry of Education (2019R1A6C1010016), a grant from the Subway Fine Dust Reduction Technology Development Project of the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport, Republic of Korea (21QPPW-B152306-03), and the Gachon University research fund of 2021 (GCU-202106620001).