Please cite this paper as: Stapleton PA, Minarchick VC, McCawley M, Knuckles TL and Nurkiewicz TR. Xenobiotic Particle Exposure and Microvascular Endpoints: A Call to Arms. Microcirculation 19: 126–142, 2012.
Xenobiotic particles can be considered in two genres: air pollution particulate matter and engineered nanoparticles. Particle exposures can occur in the greater environment, the workplace, and our homes. The majority of research in this field has, justifiably, focused on pulmonary reactions and outcomes. More recent investigations indicate that cardiovascular effects are capable of correlating with established mortality and morbidity epidemiological data following particle exposures. While the preliminary and general cardiovascular toxicology has been defined, the mechanisms behind these effects, specifically within the microcirculation, are largely unexplored. Therefore, the purpose of this review is several fold: first, a historical background on toxicological aspects of particle research is presented. Second, essential definitions, terminology, and techniques that may be unfamiliar to the microvascular scientist will be discussed. Third, the most current concepts and hypotheses driving cardiovascular research in this field will be reviewed. Lastly, potential future directions for the microvascular scientist will be suggested. Collectively speaking, microvascular research in the particle exposure field represents far more than a “niche.” The immediate demand for basic, translational, and clinical studies is high and diverse. Microvascular scientists at all career stages are strongly encouraged to expand their research interests to include investigations associated with particle exposures.