The Effects of Air Pollution Toxicants on the Mitochondria



  • Mitochondria are critical cell organelles considered to be the powerhouse of a cell due to their ability to consume oxygen and generate energy through synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In addition to this, mitochondria are also involved in important mechanisms of signal transduction, cellular differentiation, cell cycle regulation, cell growth, and apoptosis, thus contributing to important physiological processes. Importantly, mitochondria are highly susceptible to damage resulting from exposure to physiological and environmental stressors. In this chapter, we have reviewed studies reported in the literature relaying important insights into the role that environmental toxins play in causing mitochondrial impairment. In light of the literature, we also have provided a detailed discussion on the source and the extent of damage to mitochondria caused by environmental toxins, and its consequences on mitochondrial functions and general bodily health. The focus of the chapter is primarily on mitochondrial damage elicited from environmental pollutants such as traffic-related air pollution.
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