Respiratory health effects of diesel particulate matter

Authors


  • The Authors: Zoran Ristovski, BE Hons, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Aerosol Physics at the Queensland University of Technology and is leading a team that investigates the relationship between the physico-chemical characteristics of particulate matter and human health.

  • Branka Miljevic, BSc Hons, PhD, is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology and has interests in the physico-chemical characterization and health effects of ambient particulate matter and vehicle emissions.

  • Nicholas Surawski, BEnvSc Hons, MSc, is a PhD student at the Queensland University of Technology, with research experience in the physico-chemistry of diesel particulate matter emissions.

  • Lidia Morawska, BSc Hons, PhD, is a Professor of Aerosol Physics at the Queensland University of Technology and is director of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, and leads a multidisciplinary research team studying various issues of air pollution and human health.

  • Felicia Goh, BSc Hons, PhD, is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UQ Thoracic Research Centre at The Prince Charles Hospital, and has experience in innate immunity and immunology, and has research interests in lung cancer, inflammation in COPD and genomics of air pollution responses.

  • Associate Professor Ian Yang, MBBS Hons, PhD, FRACP, Grad Dip Clin Epid, is a Thoracic Physician at The Prince Charles Hospital and is Head of the UQ Northside Clinical School, and has research interests in COPD, asthma and air pollution.

  • Professor Kwun Fong, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, is a Thoracic Physician at The Prince Charles Hospital and is Director of the UQ Thoracic Research Centre, and leads a multidisciplinary research team studying lung cancer and airways disease.

  • SERIES EDITORS: IAN YANG AND STEPHEN HOLGATE

Zoran Ristovski, 2 George Street, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia. Email: z.ristovski@qut.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Particulate matter (PM) emissions involve a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in a gas, where it is noted that PM emissions from diesel engines are a major contributor to the ambient air pollution problem. While epidemiological studies have shown a link between increased ambient PM emissions and respiratory morbidity and mortality, studies of this design are not able to identify the PM constituents responsible for driving adverse respiratory health effects. This review explores in detail the physico-chemical properties of diesel PM (DPM) and identifies the constituents of this pollution source that are responsible for the development of respiratory disease. In particular, this review shows that the DPM surface area and adsorbed organic compounds play a significant role in manifesting chemical and cellular processes that if sustained can lead to the development of adverse respiratory health effects. The mechanisms of injury involved included inflammation, innate and acquired immunity, and oxidative stress. Understanding the mechanisms of lung injury from DPM will enhance efforts to protect at-risk individuals from the harmful respiratory effects of air pollutants.

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