Recent studies in both humans and animals suggest that air pollution is an important risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, the mechanism by which air pollution mediates propensity to diabetes is not fully understood. While a number of epidemiologic studies have shown a positive association between ambient air pollution exposure and risk for T2DM, some studies have not found such a relationship. Experimental studies in susceptible disease models do support this association and suggest the involvement of tissues involved in the pathogenesis of T2DM such as the immune system, adipose, liver, and central nervous system. This review summarizes the epidemiologic and experimental evidence between ambient outdoor air pollution and T2DM.
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