Particulate Matter in Human Elderly: Higher Susceptibility to Cognitive Decline and Age-Related Diseases

Caridad López-Granero, Leona Polyanskaya, Diego Ruiz-Sobremazas, Angel Barrasa, Michael Aschner, Matilde Alique

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review highlights the significant impact of air quality, specifically particulate matter (PM), on cognitive decline and age-related diseases in the elderly. Despite established links to other pathologies, such as respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, there is a pressing need for increased attention to the association between air pollution and cognitive aging, given the rising prevalence of neurocognitive disorders. PM sources are from diverse origins, including industrial activities and combustion engines, categorized into PM10, PM2.5, and ultrafine PM (UFPM), and emphasized health risks from both outdoor and indoor exposure. Long-term PM exposure, notably PM2.5, has correlated with declines in cognitive function, with a specific vulnerability observed in women. Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been explored due to the interplay between them, PM exposure, and human aging, highlighting the crucial role of EVs, especially exosomes, in mediating the complex relationship between PM exposure and chronic diseases, particularly neurological disorders. To sum up, we have compiled the pieces of evidence that show the potential contribution of PM exposure to cognitive aging and the role of EVs in mediating PM-induced cognitive impairment, which presents a promising avenue for future research and development of therapeutic strategies. Finally, this review emphasizes the need for policy changes and increased public awareness to mitigate air pollution, especially among vulnerable populations such as the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • air quality
  • cognitive function
  • elderly
  • extracellular vesicles
  • neurodegeneration
  • particulate matter


Dive into the research topics of 'Particulate Matter in Human Elderly: Higher Susceptibility to Cognitive Decline and Age-Related Diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this