Effect of Particulate Matter Air Pollution on Cardiovascular Oxidative Stress Pathways

Xiaoquan Rao, Jixin Zhong, Robert D. Brook, Sanjay Rajagopalan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

225 Scopus citations


Significance: Particulate matter (PM) air pollution is a leading cause of global cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Understanding the biological action of PM is of particular importance in improvement of public health. Recent Advances: Both fine (PM <2.5 μM) and ultrafine particles (<0.1 μM) are widely believed to mediate their effects through redox regulated pathways. A rather simplistic graded ramp model of redox stress has been replaced by a more sophisticated understanding of the role of oxidative stress in signaling, and the realization that many of the observed effects may involve disruption and/or enhancement of normal endogenous redox signaling and induction of a potent immune-mediated response, through entrainment of multiple reactive oxygen species (ROS). Critical Issues: The molecular events by which pulmonary oxidative stress in response to inhalational exposure to air pollution triggers inflammation, major ROS (e.g., superoxide, hydroxyl radical, nitric oxide, and peroxynitrite) generated in air pollution exposure, types of oxidative tissue damage in target organs, contributions of nonimmune and immune cells in inflammation, and the role of protective proteins (e.g., surfactant, proteins, and antioxidants) are highly complex and may differ depending on models and concomitant disease states. Future Directions: While the role of oxidative stress in the lung has been well demonstrated, the role of oxidative stress in mediating systemic effects especially in inflammation and injury processes needs further work. The role of antioxidant defenses with chronic exposure will also need further exploration. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 28, 797-818.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-818
Number of pages22
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 20 2018


  • air pollution
  • oxidative stress
  • particulate matter
  • reactive oxygen species
  • redox reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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