Article in 'Cell': The Molecular and Cellular Underpinnings of Environmental Insults

In the review "Hallmarks of Environmental Insults" published in the journal 'Cell', Prof. Dr. Annette Peters from the Institute of Epidemiology together with Prof. Dr. Tim S. Nawrot and Prof. Dr. Andrea A. Baccarelli present a concept to understand the effect of the environment on our health.

© Daniela Barreto

The review article describes the key cellular and molecular mechanisms that are capable of understanding the complex effects of the environment on our health. The eight hallmarks include, for example, oxidative stress and inflammation, genetic and epigenetic changes, alteration of hormone regulation or of the microbiome, and altered nervous system functions.

The review article highlights the close connection with cellular processes of aging. This does not only occur in old age, but studies also show the importance of these changes already during pregnancy or childhood. Considering the diverse chemical and physical properties of the environment, this new concept allows us to understand how key disease-causing processes are driven. In particular, it can explain why environmental impacts, such as fine particulate matter at relatively low concentrations, have large effects.

To the Original Paper