SIGNIFICANCE: Air pollution is a major global health concern with the particulate matter (PM) being especially associated with marked increases in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Diesel exhaust emissions are a particularly rich source of the smallest sizes of PM ("fine" and "ultrafine") in urban environments, and it is these particles that are believed to be the most detrimental to cardiovascular health. Recent Advances: Controlled exposure studies to diesel exhaust in animals and man demonstrate alterations in blood pressure, heart rate, vascular tone, endothelial function, myocardial perfusion, thrombosis, atherogenesis and plaque stability. Oxidative stress has emerged as a highly plausible pathobiological mechanism by which inhalation of diesel exhaust PM leads to multiple facets of cardiovascular dysfunction.
CRITICAL ISSUES: Diesel exhaust inhalation promotes oxidative stress in several biological compartments that can be directly associated with adverse cardiovascular effects.
FUTURE DIRECTIONS: Further studies with more sensitive and specific in vivo human markers of oxidative stress are required to determine if targeting oxidative stress pathways involved in the actions of diesel exhaust PM could be of therapeutic value.
- Journal Article