Air pollution may increase risk of type 2 diabetes

Exposure to air pollution may increase the risk of developing obesity-related insulin resistance, which often progresses into type 2 diabetes, according to new research from Ohio State University.

Air pollution has been connected to a broad range of health problems, including cardiovascular dysfunction and certain types of cancer. However, the findings of the new research, which were published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology are the first to indicate a potential link to diabetes.

For the study, researchers exposed adolescent mice to the sort of fine particulate air pollution that is commonly associated with automobile exhaust. When these animals reached adulthood, researchers found that they had higher levels of abdominal fat than normal mice.

"This is one of the first, if not the first, study to show that these fine particulates directly cause inflammation and changes in fat cells, both of which increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes," said Qinghua Sun, who led the investigation.

Sun and the rest of the research team plan to conduct further real-world studies to see if air pollution has the same effect on humans.