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Vol. 70 (2015) No. 3 p. 220-229




Traffic-related air pollution is a major contributor to urban air pollution. Diesel exhaust (DE) is its most important component of near-road and urban air pollutions and is commonly used as a surrogate model of air pollution in health effects studies. In particular, diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) and nanoparticles in DEPs are the components considered hazardous for health. It is widely known that exposure to DEPs is associated with mortality caused by respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Recently, evidence has been accumulating showing that DEPs and nanoparticles may cause neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we introduce evidence suggesting their association with these disorders. The chemical components and the translocation of DEPs and nanoparticles to the brain are described in part 1. In part 2, we introduce the mechanism of development of neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease via oxidative stress and inflammatory events. Furthermore, there are many lines of epidemiological evidence showing that the particulates impair cognitive function and ability of memory through oxidative and inflammatory events in the brain. These lines of evidences are supported by many animal experiments on neurological disorders.

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