Role of inflammation in cardiopulmonary health effects of PM.
Donaldson K., Mills N., MacNee W., Robinson S., Newby D.
The relationship between increased exposure to PM and adverse cardiovascular effects is well documented in epidemiological studies. Inflammation in the lungs, caused by deposited particles, can be seen as a key process that could mediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. There are at least three potential pathways that could lead from pulmonary inflammation to adverse cardiovascular effects. Firstly, inflammation in the lung could lead to systemic inflammation, which is well known to be linked to sudden death from cardiovascular causes. Systemic inflammation can lead to destabilization by activation of inflammatory processes in atheromatous plaques. Secondly, inflammation can cause an imbalance in coagulation factors that favor propagation of thrombi if thrombosis is initiated. Thirdly, inflammation could affect the autonomic nervous system activity in ways that could lead to alterations in the control of heart rhythm which could culminate in fatal dysrhythmia.