How much do you know about Particulate Matter (PM)?
Particulate matter, also known as PM, is a type of air pollution which consists of tiny particles suspended in the air. In recent times, many Asian and European countries have been under the influence of these particles. The particles' origins are suspected to be from various sources such as transportation, industrial processes, and natural events like dust storms and wildfires. PM is perceived as a potential source for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, but recent studies have shown that an overall relationship between particulate matter and prostate health may exist.
Particulate matter and Prostate reproduction ability
The prostate, which is located just below the bladder, is an important organ for the male reproductive system. The size of the prostate is a criterion to monitor the status of the prostate in a man. What would happen to the ability of the prostate if a male is exposed to PM constantly?
In a study conducted in China, researchers found that exposure to PM 2.5, which refers to particulates with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, was associated with inducing noticeable decreased fertility, sperm count, and sperm abnormality in rats. Furthermore, researchers found that the destruction of blood-testis barrier integrity through excessive ROS-mediated autophagy occurred. The blood-testis barrier prevents blood and cells from freely entering the testes and prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. (1)
Particulate matter and urologic disases
Other studies found a positive association between PM exposure and prostate urological diseases.
The study conducted in Montreal, Canada, has proven that the association was observed in the air pollution and prostate cancer with nitrogen dioxide (NO2). In this study, NO2 was a traffic-related air pollution marker. Exposure to ambient concentrations of NO2 associates with an increased risk of prostate cancer. (2)
In the industrialized area, the researchers found that the distribution of prostate cancer mortality raised by a factor of approximately 1.4. They used the indirect measurement of industrial pollution and found out that the factor decayed in the value of 1.08 at 12 km from the industrial facility sources. (3)
It should be noted that there are limitations to the studies since the study design is based on the presenting ecological design, which may lead to positive associations.
In summary, there is growing evidence to suggest that exposure to particulate matter (PM) may associate with adverse prostate health outcomes, including an increase in prostate volume and prostate cancer incidence. The exact mechanism has not been fully understood, but exposure to PM may contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress in the prostate gland.
Healthcare providers and diagnostic companies could play an important role in educating their patients and providing early diagnosis of prostate cancer or related diseases. This may include advising patients to be careful during outdoor activities when air pollution levels are high. They could also install proper air purifiers or supportive items to keep the air clean around them. Raising awareness of the relationship between prostate cancer and air pollution may lead to more voluntary diagnoses for early detection. The efforts to improve the environment and build a health care system will improve the overall health and wellbeing of our patients.
(1 ) Wei. Y. et al, Urban fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure destroys blood-testis barrier (BTB) integrity through excessive ORS-mediated autophagy, Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, 2017.
(2) Parent M. E. et al, Traffic-related air pollution and prostate cancer risk: a case-control study in Montreal, Canada, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2013
(3) Ramis R. Prostate cancer and industrial pollution Risk around putative focus in a multi-source scenario, 2011
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