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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Rev Neurosci

Publication Date





323 - 335


Air Pollutants, Air Pollution, Animals, Cardiovascular Diseases, Environmental Exposure, Humans, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Particulate Matter