Angelo Rodio This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Francesco Misiti1, Alessandro Zagaglia1, Luca Stabile2, Giorgio Buonanno2, Luigi Fattorini3 

1 Department of Human Sciences, Society and Health, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, 03043 Cassino (FR), Italy
2 Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, 03043 Cassino (FR), Italy
3 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology V. Erspamer, University “La Sapienza” of Rome, 00185 Roma (RM), Italy

Received: January 27, 2022
Revised: April 26, 2022
Accepted: May 15, 2022

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Cite this article:

Rodio, A., Misiti, F., Zagaglia, A., Stabile, L., Buonanno, G., Fattorini, L. (2022). Airborne Ultrafine Particle and Acute Physiological Effects during Maximal Aerobic Power Test. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 22, 220029.


  • UFPs induce adverse efficiency effects during moderate high-intensity exercise.
  • UFPs exposure during outdoor recreational athletes’ training might pose a health risk.
  • UFPs must be considered in assessing the potential adverse effects of exposure to PM.


BACKGROUND: The practice of physical exercise in polluted areas could lead to adverse health effects that may contribute to the incidence and/or worsening of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.

METHODS: Male recreational cyclists performed tests in a manner randomized crossover in two environmental conditions: low (environmental noise exposure) and high ultrafine particle concentration. For each trial, oxygen consumption (V͘O2), carbon dioxide production (VĊO2), respiratory frequency (Rf), tidal volume (Vt), pulmonary ventilation (V͘E), and mechanical workload (WL) were measured. Gross efficiency (GE) was determined using the ratio between mechanical power output and metabolic power input. Repeated-measures ANOVA was applied to evaluate differences (P < 0.05) between physiological and mechanical parameters and compare oxygen consumption trends in the two scenarios. RESULTS: HR, Rf, and VE values do not show any significant difference. On the contrary, V͘O2peak increased (P < 0.05) under high exposure (41.6 ± 4.31 mL kg–1 min–1), during high-intensity exercise, compared to a low exposure (38.4 ± 4.05 mL kg–1 min–1). V͘O2 and GE show differences (p < 0.05) between low and high ultrafine particle concentration conditions during exercise above 80% WLpeak.

CONCLUSIONS: Present data suggest that high airborne UFPs levels impair recreational cyclists' gross efficiency.

Keywords: Particulate matter, Acute exercise, Oxygen consumption, Mechanical Efficiency, oxygen radicals

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