Pollution, particles, and dementia: A hypothetical causative pathway
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Abstract© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Epidemiological studies of air pollution have shown associations between exposure to particles and dementia. The mechanism of this is unclear. As these seem unlikely in terms of the very small dose likely to reach the brain in usual Western urban circumstances, we extend our 1995 hypothetical explanation of the association of air pollution with cardiac deaths as a plausible alternative explanation of its associations with dementia. Since our original proposal, it has become apparent that inflammation may be carried by blood from organ to organ by biologic microparticles derived from cell membranes. These transmit inflammatory messages to endothelial cells throughout the body as part of a general defensive response to assumed bacterial infection; particulate air pollution has recently been shown to be associated with their release into the blood. We propose that episodic release of biologic microparticles from pollution-induced lung inflammation causes secondary inflammation in the blood-brain barrier and cerebral microbleeds, culminating over time in cognitive impairment. Ultimately, by incomplete repair and accumulation of amyloid, this increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Importantly, this mechanism may also explain the relationships of other inflammatory conditions and environmental factors with cognitive decline, and point to new opportunities to understand and prevent dementia.
CitationSeaton, A., Tran, L., Chen, R., Maynard, R. L. et al. (2020) Pollution, particles, and dementia: a hypothetical causative pathway, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3): 862.
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
PubMed ID32019078 (pubmed)
Description© 2020 The Authors. Published by MDPI. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030862
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Licence for published version: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
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