HealthDay News — Exposure to particulate matter (PM) with aerodynamic diameters ≤2.5 µm is associated with metabolic alterations, according to a study published online in Circulation.

Huichu Li, from Fudan University in Shanghai, and colleagues conducted a randomized, double-blind crossover trial involving 55 healthy college students in China. Real and sham air purifiers were put into participants’ dormitories in random order for 9 days with a 12-day washout period. Serum metabolites were quantified, and between-treatment differences were assessed in metabolites.

The researchers found that the average personal exposure to PM with aerodynamic diameters ≤2.5 µm was 24.3 and 53.1 µg/m³ during the real and sham purification, respectively. Higher exposure to PM with aerodynamic diameters ≤2.5 µm resulted in significant increases in cortisol, cortisone, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. There were also differences between treatment in glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and lipids. Among individuals exposed to higher PM with aerodynamic diameters ≤2.5 µm, there was significantly higher blood pressure, hormones, insulin resistance, and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation.

Continue Reading

“This study suggests that higher PM may induce metabolic alterations that are consistent with activations of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal and sympathetic-adrenal-medullary axes, adding potential mechanistic insights into the adverse health outcomes associated with PM,” the authors write.

Related Articles


Li H, Cai J, Chen R, et al. Particulate matter exposure and stress hormone levels. Circulation. 2017;136:618-627. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.026796