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Ambient Air Pollution and Increases in Blood Pressure: Role for biological constituents of particulate matter
Cascio, W., Ian Gilmour, AND D. Peden. Ambient Air Pollution and Increases in Blood Pressure: Role for biological constituents of particulate matter. Hypertension. American Heart Association, Dallas, TX, 66(3):469-71, (2015).
Commentary: In 2014 a systematic review and meta-analysis published in this journal reported a positive association between short-term exposure to PM2.5 and blood pressure.2 The paper discussed potential mechanisms including PM-induced activation of pulmonary nociceptive receptors, pulmonary inflammatory responses and release of endothelin-1, and suggested that activation of pulmonary receptors and vagal afferents could lead to shifts in autonomic balance and vasoconstriction. Other effects including oxidative stress and decreased NO availability, as well as systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction have also been widely reported in association with PM components such as transition metals and organic carbon species.
Particulate matter (PM) is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets made up of a number of components including elemental carbon, organic chemicals, metals, acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), and soil and dust particles. Epidemiological studies consistently show that exposure to PM in urban areas across the globe is associated with increases in short- and long-term cardiovascular mortality and morbidity, most notably for myocardial infarction, heart failure and ischemic stroke.1 The range in strength of these associations is likely related to variation in PM sources and composition across space and time, and attests to the need to understand the contribution of specific sources to ultimately inform regulatory, public health and clinical strategies to reduce risk.