Air Pollution, Combustion and Friction Derived Nanoparticles, and Alzheimer's Disease in Urban Children and Young Adults

Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, Angélica González-Maciel, Randy J. Kulesza, Luis Oscar González-González, Rafael Reynoso-Robles, Partha S. Mukherjee, Ricardo Torres-Jardón

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) ≥US EPA standards are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk. The projection of 13.8 million AD cases in the US by the year 2050 obligate us to explore early environmental exposures as contributors to AD risk and pathogenesis. Metropolitan Mexico City children and young adults have lifetime exposures to PM2.5 and O3, and AD starting in the brainstem and olfactory bulb is relentlessly progressing in the first two decades of life. Magnetite combustion and friction-derived nanoparticles reach the brain and are associated with early and progressive damage to the neurovascular unit and to brain cells. In this review: 1) we highlight the interplay environment/genetics in the AD development in young populations; 2) comment upon ApoE ϵ4 and the rapid progression of neurofibrillary tangle stages and higher suicide risk in youth; and 3) discuss the role of combustion-derived nanoparticles and brain damage. A key aspect of this review is to show the reader that air pollution is complex and that profiles change from city to city with common denominators across countries. We explore and compare particulate matter profiles in Mexico City, Paris, and Santiago in Chile and make the point of why we should invest in decreasing PM2.5 to at least our current US EPA standard. Multidisciplinary intervention strategies are critical for prevention or amelioration of cognitive deficits and AD progression and risk of suicide in young individuals. AD pathology evolving from childhood is threating the wellbeing of future generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-358
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


  • Air pollution
  • Alzheimer's disease continuum
  • ApoE ϵ4
  • Mexico City
  • PM
  • Paris
  • Santiago de Chile
  • combustion and friction derived nanoparticles
  • suicide
  • tauopathies


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