Woodsmoke poses a significant health risk as a growing component of ambient air pollution in the United States. While there is a long history of association between woodsmoke exposure and diseases of the respiratory, circulatory, and cardiovascular systems, recent evidence has linked woodsmoke exposure to cognitive dysfunction, including Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with largely idiopathic origins and no known cure. Here, we explore the growing body of literature which relates woodsmoke-generated and ambient air pollution particulate matter exposure to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) onset or exacerbation, in the context of an inflammation-centric view of AD. Epigenetic modifications, specifically changes in DNA methylation patterns, are well documented following woodsmoke exposure and have been shown to influence disease-favoring inflammatory cascades, induce oxidative stress, and modulate the immune response in vitro, in vivo, and in humans following exposure to air pollution. Though the current status of the literature does not allow us to draw definitive conclusions linking these events, this review highlights the need for additional work to fill gaps in our understanding of the directionality, causality, and susceptibility throughout the life course.
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Schuller, Adam and Montrose, Luke. (2020). "Influence of Woodsmoke Exposure on Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Alzheimer’s Disease: Existing Literature and Gaps in Our Understanding". Epigenetics Insights, 13. https://doi.org/10.1177/2516865720954873