Biochemical and physiological effects from exhaust emissions. A review of the relevant literature


Exhaust emissions are to date ranked among the most frequent causes of premature deaths worldwide. The combustion of fuels such as diesel, gasoline, and bio-blends provokes a series of pathophysiological responses in exposed subjects, which are associated with biochemical and immunological triggering. It is critical to understand these mechanisms, which are directly related to the levels of aerosol, liquid and gaseous components in fuel exhaust (e.g. nanoparticles, particulate matter, volatile compounds), so to cast attention on their toxicity and gradually minimize their use. This review reports findings in the recent literature concerning the biochemical and cellular pathways triggered during intoxication by exhaust emissions, and links these findings to pathophysiological responses such as inflammation and vasoconstriction. This study provides critical in vitro and in vivo data for the reduction of emissions in urban centers, with an emphasis on the prevention of exposure of groups such as children, the elderly, and other affected groups, and shows how the exposure to exhaust emissions induces mechanisms of pathogenesis related to cardiopulmonary pathologies and long-term diseases such as asthma, allergies, and cancer. This review summarizes the cellular and physiological responses of humans to exhaust emissions in a comprehensive fashion, and is important for legislative developments in fuel politics.