Metabolomics as a tool to unravel the oxidative stress-induced toxicity of ambient air pollutants

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Environmental metabolomics can sensitively quantitate thousands of chemical signals in a biological sample, providing a broad spectrum of human metabolism measurements to reveal biological effects and associated toxicological mechanisms associated with exposures to the polluting gases and aerosols in the air we breathe. This chapter reviews human, animal, and in vitro metabolic profiling studies characterizing changes in low-molecular-weight metabolites indicative of oxidative stress responses to air pollutants such as those in occupational exposures, industrial aerosols, and urban environments. Findings (e.g., lipid peroxidation, protein breakdown, mitochondrial dysfunction, and reprogramming of energy metabolism) feasibly the result of an oxidative imbalance and a subsequent antioxidant response are discussed. Continued development of this field will strengthen the causal basis for epidemiological findings associating air pollution with ill health. In doing so, it will bring us closer, via evidence-based mitigation strategies, to reduce the public health burden attributable to this complex and insidious environmental pollutant.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxidative Stress
Subtitle of host publicationEustress and Distress
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780128186060
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Industrial air toxics
  • Metabolomics
  • Occupational exposures
  • Oxidative stress
  • Ozone
  • Traffic-related air pollution


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