Impact of Particulate Air Pollution on Cardiovascular Health

  • Zhen An
  • Yuefei Jin
  • Juan Li
  • Wen Li
  • Weidong Wu
Allergies and the Environment (M Hernandez, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Allergies and the Environment


Purpose of Review

Air pollution is established as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Ambient particulate matter (PM), a principal component of air pollutant, has been considered as a main culprit of the adverse effects of air pollution on human health.

Recent Findings

Extensive epidemiological and toxicological studies have demonstrated particulate air pollution is positively associated with the development of CVDs. Short-term PM exposure can trigger acute cardiovascular events while long-term exposure over years augments cardiovascular risk to an even greater extent and can reduce life expectancy by a few years. Inhalation of PM affects heart rate variability, blood pressure, vascular tone, blood coagulability, and the progression of atherosclerosis. The potential molecular mechanisms of PM-caused CVDs include direct toxicity to the cardiovascular system or indirect injury by inducing systemic inflammation and oxidative stress in circulation.


This review mainly focuses on the acute and chronic effects of ambient PM exposure on the development of cardiovascular diseases and the possible mechanisms for PM-induced increases in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Additionally, we summarized some appropriate interventions to attenuate PM air pollution-induced cardiovascular adverse effects, which may promote great benefits to public health.


Particulate matter Cardiovascular disease Oxidative stress Inflammation Intervention 



Cardiovascular diseases


Particulate matter


PM with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 μm


PM with an aerodynamic diameter 2.5–10 μm


PM with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm


PM with an aerodynamic diameter less than 0.1 μm


Black carbon


Diesel exhaust particles


Heart rate variability


Congestive heart failure


Coronary heart disease


Relative risk ratios


Hazard ratios




Tumor necrosis factor-α


Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor


C-reactive protein


Reactive oxygen species


Tissue plasminogen activator


Plasminogen activator inhibitor


Flow-mediated dilation


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Glutathione S-transferase M1


Funding Information

This work is supported by the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81573112, 81373030, 81703182). Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhen An
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuefei Jin
    • 3
  • Juan Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Weidong Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Henan International Collaborative Laboratory for Health Effects and Intervention of Air Pollution, School of Public HealthXinxiang Medical UniversityXinxiangChina
  2. 2.Henan Collaborative Innovation Center of Molecular Diagnosis and Laboratory Medicine, School of Public HealthXinxiang Medical UniversityXinxiangChina
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology, College of Public HealthZhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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