Hazard identification of particulate matter on vasomotor dysfunction and progression of atherosclerosis

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The development and use of nanoparticles have alerted toxicologists and regulators to issues of safety testing. By analogy with ambient air particles, it can be expected that small doses are associated with a small increase in risk of cardiovascular diseases, possibly through oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways. We have assessed the effect of exposure to particulate matter on progression of atherosclerosis and vasomotor function in humans, animals, and ex vivo experimental systems. The type of particles that have been tested in these systems encompass TiO(2), carbon black, fullerene C(60), single-walled carbon nanotubes, ambient air particles, and diesel exhaust particles. Exposure to ambient air particles is associated with accelerated progression of atherosclerosis and vasomotor dysfunction in both healthy and susceptible animal models and humans at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The vasomotor dysfunction includes increased vasoconstriction as well as reduced endothelium-dependent vasodilatation; endothelium-independent vasodilatation is often unaffected indicating mainly endothelial dysfunction. Pulmonary exposure to TiO(2), carbon black, and engineered nanoparticles generate vasomotor dysfunction; the effect size is similar to that generated by combustion-derived particles, although the effect could depend on the exposure period and the administered dose, route, and mode. The relative risk associated with exposure to nanoparticles may be small compared to some traditional risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, but superimposed on these and possible exposure to large parts of the population it is a significant public health concern. Overall, assessment of vasomotor dysfunction and progression of atherosclerosis are promising tools for understanding the effects of particulate matter.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Toxicology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)339-68
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011

    Research areas

  • Air Pollutants, Animals, Atherosclerosis, Blood Vessels, Disease Progression, Humans, Nanoparticles, Particulate Matter, Vasoconstriction, Vasodilation, Vasomotor System

ID: 33595369