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Reviews in the Neurosciences

Editor-in-Chief: Huston, Joseph P.

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Volume 24, Issue 3


Ambient particulate matter and its potential neurological consequences

Clare Loane
  • Centre for Neuroscience, Division of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Christodoulos Pilinis
  • Water and Air Analysis Laboratory, Department of Environment, University of Aegean, Mytilene 81 100, Greece
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Themistocles D. Lekkas
  • Water and Air Analysis Laboratory, Department of Environment, University of Aegean, Mytilene 81 100, Greece
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/ Marios Politis
  • Corresponding author
  • Centre for Neuroscience, Division of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2013-04-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2013-0001


Exposure to ambient air pollution has been consistently associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disease. However, the neurological effects of air pollution have received little attention. It is suggested that the components of air pollution, such as particulate matter (PM) and specifically ultrafine particulate matter (UFP), may have the potential to extend beyond pulmonary organs to the central nervous system (CNS) and, ultimately, the brain. The transport mechanisms are not clear, although at least four possible routes have been proposed implicating PM and UFP in neurological disease processes. A limited number of studies have been undertaken to assess the role of PM and UFP in CNS diseases, including migraine, headache, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Considering the high prevalence of such CNS diseases, along with the frequent and increasing exposure to ambient air pollution, it is important to highlight possible associations with regards to preventative, monitoring, and control measures. This article aimed to review the literature in relation to translocation routes of PM and UFP and their potential role in neurological disease processes.

Keywords: air pollution; CNS; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation; particulate matter


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About the article

Clare Loane

Clare Loane (BSc, MSc) is a psychologist by background, receiving her education from the University of Surrey and University College London. She is involved in a number of neuroimaging studies using fMRI and PET focusing on the pathophysiology and functional anatomy of neurodegenerative disease. She is currently completing her PhD in Neuroscience at Imperial College London.

Christodoulos Pilinis

Dr. Christodoulos Pilinis, Professor, is the Dean of the School of Environment of the University of the Aegean and the Director of the Water and Air Quality Laboratory of the Department of the Environment of the same University. He has 25 years of experience in atmospheric aerosol related research, both in Europe and the USA. He has published several papers focused on the processes that affect the size distribution and chemical composition of atmospheric aerosols. He is also interested in investigating how air quality affects visibility degradation and the climate.

Themistocles D. Lekkas

Themistokles Lekkas is Professor (e) of Environmental Engineering of the Environmental Science Department, University of Aegean. He is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the NTU of Athens and holds a MSc (Mark of Distinction) and a PhD from the Imperial College, London. He has extensive industrial experience and has held various managerial positions and is the founder of the Global Nest Journal. Professor Lekkas has conducted extensive research and has published research papers in the areas of water filtration, fluidization, disinfection by-products, priority substances, emerging pollution and solid waste management.

Marios Politis

Marios Politis (MD, MSc, DIC, PhD) is a Clinical Lecturer in Neurology within the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London. He graduated in Medicine from the University of Athens, Greece. He obtained an MSc degree and the Diploma of Imperial College in Integrative Neuroscience. He holds a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience from Imperial College London and has worked in clinical research for the past 10 years. He has achieved a number of awards and distinctions and has contributed to the teaching and training of undergraduate and postgraduate students. He is an active member of American Academy of Neurology, Movement Disorder Society, British Neuroscience Association, European Multiple System Atrophy Study Group and a Fellow of Royal Society of Medicine. His research interests include the use of functional imaging in Movement Disorders and Multiple Sclerosis as a method of investigating aetiology, pathophysiology, and effects and complications of neuroprotective and neurorestorative therapies.

Corresponding author: Marios Politis, Centre for Neuroscience, Division of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK

Received: 2013-02-06

Accepted: 2013-03-01

Published Online: 2013-04-08

Published in Print: 2013-06-01

Citation Information: Reviews in the Neurosciences, Volume 24, Issue 3, Pages 323–335, ISSN (Online) 2191-0200, ISSN (Print) 0334-1763, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2013-0001.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017, Volume 114, Number 10, Page E1968
Christina R. Tyler, Katherine E. Zychowski, Bethany N. Sanchez, Valeria Rivero, Selita Lucas, Guy Herbert, June Liu, Hammad Irshad, Jacob D. McDonald, Barry E. Bleske, and Matthew J. Campen
Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 2016, Volume 13, Number 1
Amitava Bandyopadhyay
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Andrew Boggess, Scott Faber, John Kern, and H. M. Skip Kingston
Scientific Reports, 2016, Volume 6, Number 1
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Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2016, Volume 9
Parinaz Poursafa, Roya Kelishadi, Anoosheh Ghasemian, Farshad Sharifi, Shirin Djalalinia, Alireza Khajavi, Masoumeh Nejatifar, Hamid Asayesh, Morteza Mansourian, Mostafa Qorbani, and Hossein Ansari
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Angela M. Malek, Aaron Barchowsky, Robert Bowser, Terry Heiman-Patterson, David Lacomis, Sandeep Rana, Ada Youk, and Evelyn O. Talbott
Environmental Pollution, 2015, Volume 197, Page 181
M.P. Keuken, M. Moerman, P. Zandveld, J.S. Henzing, and G. Hoek
Atmospheric Environment, 2015, Volume 104, Page 132
Hongying Wei, Furong Deng, Yiyong Chen, Yu Qin, Yu Hao, and Xinbiao Guo
Toxicology, 2014, Volume 323, Page 32
Falih Murat Gorgun, Ming Zhuo, Shilpee Singh, and Ella W. Englander
Inhalation Toxicology, 2014, Volume 26, Number 6, Page 361

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