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Keywords:

  • Particulate Matter;
  • Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals;
  • Infant;
  • Respiratory Health;
  • Immunomodulation

ABSTRACT

The health impacts of airborne particulate matter (PM) are of global concern, and the direct implications to the development/exacerbation of lung disease are immediately obvious. Most studies to date have sought to understand mechanisms associated with PM exposure in adults/adult animal models; however, infants are also at significant risk for exposure. Infants are affected differently than adults due to drastic immaturities, both physiologically and immunologically, and it is becoming apparent that they represent a critically understudied population. Highlighting our work funded by the ONES award, in this review we argue the understated importance of utilizing infant models to truly understand the etiology of PM-induced predisposition to severe, persistent lung disease. We also touch upon various mechanisms of PM-mediated respiratory damage, with a focus on the emerging importance of environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) ubiquitously present in combustion-derived PM. In conclusion, we briefly comment on strengths/challenges facing current PM research, while giving perspective on how we may address these challenges in the future. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J BiochemMol Toxicol 27:56-68, 2013; View this article online at wileyonlinelibrary.com. DOI 10.1002/jbt.21465