Air pollution: mechanisms of neuroinflammation and CNS disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1105 Scopus citations


Air pollution has been implicated as a chronic source of neuroinflammation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that produce neuropathology and central nervous system (CNS) disease. Stroke incidence and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease pathology are linked to air pollution. Recent reports reveal that air pollution components reach the brain; systemic effects that impact lung and cardiovascular disease also impinge upon CNS health. While mechanisms driving air pollution-induced CNS pathology are poorly understood, new evidence suggests that microglial activation and changes in the blood-brain barrier are key components. Here we summarize recent findings detailing the mechanisms through which air pollution reaches the brain and activates the resident innate immune response to become a chronic source of pro-inflammatory factors and ROS, culminating in CNS disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-516
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


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