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The cardiovascular effects of inhaled particle matter (PM) are responsible for a substantial morbidity and mortality attributed to air pollution. Ultrafine particles, like those in diesel exhaust emissions, are a major source of nanoparticles in urban environments, and it is these particles that have the capacity to induce the most significant health effects. Research has shown that diesel exhaust exposure can have many detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system both acutely and chronically. This review provides an overview of the cardiovascular effects on PM in air pollution, with an emphasis on ultrafine particles in vehicle exhaust. We consider the biological mechanisms underlying these cardiovascular effects of PM and postulate that cardiovascular dysfunction may be implicated in the effects of PM in other organ systems. The employment of multiple strategies to tackle air pollution, and especially ultrafine particles from vehicles, is likely to be accompanied by improvements in cardiovascular health.

Original publication




Journal article


Cardiovasc res

Publication Date





279 - 294


Air pollution, Cardiovascular disease, Particulate matter, Systemic effects, Translocation, Air Pollution, Animals, Automobiles, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cardiovascular System, Humans, Inhalation Exposure, Lung, Particulate Matter, Risk Factors, Traffic-Related Pollution, Vehicle Emissions