How does air pollution affect the digestive system? How does air pollution affect the digestive system?

How does air pollution affect the digestive system?

How does air pollution affect the digestive system?
PM2.5, with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, are a major air pollutant associated with various health problems.

These particles can travel deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream when inhaled. A recent study indicates another major health problem, which is that exposure to PM2.5 particles can also lead to damage to the digestive system, including the liver, pancreas, and intestines.

The study focused on how exposure to PM2.5 particles stimulates stress responses within cells of the digestive system.

These stress responses involve specialized subcellular structures within cells called organelles, such as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), mitochondria, and lysosomes.

When PM2.5 particles disrupt these organelles, they create a chain reaction within cells that can lead to inflammation and other harmful effects.

The liver is known as a major organ for detoxification and metabolism, and is particularly vulnerable to PM2.5 damage.

Studies have shown that exposure to PM2.5 can lead to a series of problems within the liver, including inflammation, stress responses, organelle damage, and impaired energy metabolism. These effects can contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH) and type 2 diabetes.

The harm of exposure to PM2.5 particles does not stop at the liver, as it can also harm the pancreas and intestines.

Studies have linked PM2.5 to an increased risk of pancreatic dysfunction in diabetics, as well as damage to intestinal cells and increased permeability (the permeable body allows other substances to pass through it). This increased permeability can lead to a variety of digestive problems.

While recent research efforts provide valuable insights, scientists still do not understand how cells sense PM2.5 and how the stress response varies in different organs of the digestive system.

The team is now working to investigate how exposure to PM2.5 particles affects communication between different digestive organs, which may affect overall digestive system function.

The team is exploring whether nutritional or pharmaceutical interventions can mitigate the harm of PM2.5 pollutants.

Interestingly, some studies suggest that certain nutrients, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamins, may provide some protection against the harmful effects of PM2.5.

Air pollution is a complex problem with no easy solutions. While research continues to mitigate exposure to PM2.5 particles, current understanding of their impact on the digestive system highlights the far-reaching consequences of air pollution on human health.

The study was published in the journal eGastroenterology.

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