Traffic fumes increase infection risk by damaging immune system

Carbon nanoparticles from road traffic or as engineered nanoparticles may increase the risk of bacterial or viral infection, a study at Edinburgh Napier University has found.

Exposure to carbon black nanoparticles, in this case with primary particle size 14 nm, can alter the structure and function of antimicrobial peptides, key components of the immune system and which are upregulated at infection or inflammation sites. This can then potentially lead to reduced capacity to withstand infection by reducing the effectiveness of the body’s immune system.

The area of research is poorly understood, but if a causal link is proven between airborne exposure and compromise of the immune system, there are profound implications for those living in areas of high traffic pollution, especially those with pre-existing conditions.

Read the full article published in The Scotsman here.