Particulate matter (PM) exposure is associated with the development of cardiopulmonary disease. Our group has studied the adverse health effects of World Trade Center particulate matter (WTC-PM) exposure on firefighters. To fully understand the complex interplay between exposure, organism, and resultant disease phenotype, it is vital to analyze the underlying role of genomics in mediating this relationship. A PubMed search was performed focused on environmental exposure, genomics, and cardiopulmonary disease. We included original research published within 10 years, on epigenetic modifications and specific genetic or allelic variants. The initial search resulted in 95 studies. We excluded manuscripts that focused on work-related chemicals, heavy metals and tobacco smoke as primary sources of exposure, as well as reviews, prenatal research, and secondary research studies. Seven full-text articles met pre-determined inclusion criteria, and were reviewed. The effects of air pollution were evaluated in terms of methylation (n
= 3), oxidative stress (n
= 2), and genetic variants (n
= 2). There is evidence to suggest that genomics plays a meditating role in the formation of adverse cardiopulmonary symptoms and diseases that surface after exposure events. Genomic modifications and variations affect the association between environmental exposure and cardiopulmonary disease, but additional research is needed to further define this relationship.
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