Purpose of review Air pollution
has adverse effects on the onset and morbidity of respiratory diseases, including asthma
. In this review, we discuss recent insights into the effects of air pollution
on the incidence and exacerbation of asthma
. We focus on epidemiological studies that describe the association between air pollution
exposure and development, mortality, persistence and exacerbations of asthma
among different age groups. Moreover, we also provide an update on translational studies describing the mechanisms behind this association.
Mechanisms linking air pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide (NO2
) and ozone to the development and exacerbation of asthma
include the induction of both eosinophilic and neutrophilic inflammation driven by stimulation of airway epithelium and increase of pro-inflammatory cytokine production, oxidative stress and DNA methylation changes. Although exposure during foetal development is often reported as a crucial timeframe, exposure to air pollution
is detrimental in people of all ages, thus influencing asthma
onset as well as increase in asthma
prevalence, mortality, persistence and exacerbation.
In conclusion, this review highlights the importance of reducing air pollution
levels to avert the progressive increase in asthma
incidence and morbidity.