Air pollution is a high-risk factor in megacities’ dwellers because of its effects on health. One of the most important components of the pollution is particulate matter (PM) on which metals are adhered. One element adhered to its surfaces is vanadium (V), and through this route, PM reaches the respiratory system, then the systemic circulation and the rest of the organs. Vanadium is released in the atmosphere as a consequence of the combustion of fossil fuels. Vanadium pentoxide is the compound liberated after the combustion and adhered into PM. Previous studies from our group have reported effects on diverse systems in a mouse model. Besides the morphological changes in the spleen and the decreased function of the immune humoral response, the thymus was also affected. Vanadium inhalation diminished thymic dendritic cells (DCs) and the biomarkers: CD11c and MHCII; in addition, thymic cytoarchitecture changed, demonstrated by cytokeratin-5, and also, modification in the expression of 3-nitrotyrosine was observed. Our findings suggest that autoreactive T cells could be released into the systemic circulation and favor the increase in autoimmune diseases in cities with high concentrations of PM.
Part of the book: Thymus