Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Effects of particulate matter on atherosclerosis: a link via high-density lipoprotein (HDL) functionality?

  • Holme, Siri A. N.1
  • Sigsgaard, Torben1
  • Holme, Jørn A.2
  • Holst, Gitte Juel1
  • 1 Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark , Aarhus (Denmark)
  • 2 Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway , Oslo (Norway)
Published Article
Particle and Fibre Toxicology
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Aug 04, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12989-020-00367-x
Springer Nature


BackgroundExposure to air pollution has been associated with adverse effects on human health, and ultimately increased morbidity and mortality. This is predominantly due to hazardous effects on the cardiovascular system. Exposure to particulate matter (PM) is considered to be responsible for the most severe effects.Main bodyHere we summarize current knowledge from existing epidemiological, clinical and animal studies on the influence of PM exposure on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) functionality and the potential initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. We highlight experimental studies that bring support to the causality and point to possible mechanistic links. Recent studies indicate that the functional properties of HDL are more important than the levels per se. Fine (PM2.5–0.1) and ultrafine (UFP) PM are composed of chemicals as well as biological elements that are redox-active and may trigger pro-inflammatory responses. Experimental studies indicate that these properties and responses may promote HDL dysfunction via oxidative pathways. By affecting protein and lipid components of the HDL particle, its anti-atherosclerotic characteristics including cholesterol efflux capacity, as well as other anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory features might be impaired.ConclusionCurrent literature suggests that PM promotes HDL dysfunction via oxidative pathways. However, as relatively few studies so far have evaluated the impact of particulate air pollution on HDL functionality, more human epidemiological as well as experimental studies are needed to strengthen any possible causal relationship and determine any relevance to atherosclerosis.Graphical abstract

Report this publication


Seen <100 times