Environmental Stressors and the PINE Network: Can Physical Environmental Stressors Drive Long-Term Physical and Mental Health Risks?

Nicolas J C Stapelberg, Grace Branjerdporn, Sam Adhikary, Susannah Johnson, Kevin Ashton, John Headrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Both psychosocial and physical environmental stressors have been linked to chronic mental health and chronic medical conditions. The psycho-immune-neuroendocrine (PINE) network details metabolomic pathways which are responsive to varied stressors and link chronic medical conditions with mental disorders, such as major depressive disorder via a network of pathophysiological pathways. The primary objective of this review is to explore evidence of relationships between airborne particulate matter (PM, as a concrete example of a physical environmental stressor), the PINE network and chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including mental health sequelae, with a view to supporting the assertion that physical environmental stressors (not only psychosocial stressors) disrupt the PINE network, leading to NCDs. Biological links have been established between PM exposure, key sub-networks of the PINE model and mental health sequelae, suggesting that in theory, long-term mental health impacts of PM exposure may exist, driven by the disruption of these biological networks. This disruption could trans-generationally influence health; however, long-term studies and information on chronic outcomes following acute exposure event are still lacking, limiting what is currently known beyond the acute exposure and all-cause mortality. More empirical evidence is needed, especially to link long-term mental health sequelae to PM exposure, arising from PINE pathophysiology. Relationships between physical and psychosocial stressors, and especially the concept of such stressors acting together to impact on PINE network function, leading to linked NCDs, evokes the concept of syndemics, and these are discussed in the context of the PINE network.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13226
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022


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