Physicochemical characterization of airborne particulate matter at a mainline underground railway station.
ABSTRACT: Underground railway stations are known to have elevated particulate matter (PM) loads compared to ambient air. As these particles are derived from metal-rich sources and transition metals may pose a risk to health by virtue of their ability to catalyze generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), their potential enrichment in underground environments is a source of concern. Compared to coarse (PM10) and fine (PM2.5) particulate fractions of underground railway airborne PM, little is known about the chemistry of the ultrafine (PM0.1) fraction that may contribute significantly to particulate number and surface area concentrations. This study uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and ion chromatography to compare the elemental composition of size-fractionated underground PM with woodstove, roadwear generator, and road tunnel PM. Underground PM is notably rich in Fe, accounting for greater than 40% by mass of each fraction, and several other transition metals (Cu, Cr, Mn, and Zn) compared to PM from other sources. Importantly, ultrafine underground PM shows similar metal-rich concentrations as the coarse and fine fractions. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that a component of the coarse fraction of underground PM has a morphology indicative of generation by abrasion, absent for fine and ultrafine particulates, which may be derived from high-temperature processes. Furthermore, underground PM generated ROS in a concentration- and size-dependent manner. This study suggests that the potential health effects of exposure to the ultrafine fraction of underground PM warrant further investigation as a consequence of its greater surface area/volume ratio and high metal content.
Project description:We have previously shown that underground railway particulate matter (PM) is rich in iron and other transition metals across coarse (PM10-2.5), fine (PM2.5), and quasi-ultrafine (PM0.18) fractions and is able to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, there is little knowledge of whether the metal-rich nature of such particles exerts toxic effects in mucus-covered airway epithelial cell cultures or whether there is an increased risk posed by the ultrafine fraction. Monolayer and mucociliary air-liquid interface (ALI) cultures of primary bronchial epithelial cells (PBECs) were exposed to size-fractionated underground railway PM (1.1-11.1?µg/cm(2)) and release of lactate dehydrogenase and IL-8 was assayed. ROS generation was measured, and the mechanism of generation studied using desferrioxamine (DFX) and N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) was determined by RT-qPCR. Particle uptake was studied by transmission electron microscopy. Underground PM increased IL-8 release from PBECs, but this was diminished in mucus-secreting ALI cultures. Fine and ultrafine PM generated a greater level of ROS than coarse PM. ROS generation by ultrafine PM was ameliorated by DFX and NAC, suggesting an iron-dependent mechanism. Despite the presence of mucus, ALI cultures displayed increased HO-1 expression. Intracellular PM was observed within vesicles, mitochondria, and free in the cytosol. The results indicate that, although the mucous layer appears to confer some protection against underground PM, ALI PBECs nonetheless detect PM and mount an antioxidant response. The combination of increased ROS-generating ability of the metal-rich ultrafine fraction and ability of PM to penetrate the mucous layer merits further research.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to characterize global gene expression in human airway epithelial cells and identify cellular pathways associated with coarse, fine and ultrafine particulate matter (PM) exposures. Ambient PM was collected in 3 different size fractions from Chapel Hill air, particles were extracted from foam or filter matrices and lyophilized. Human primary airway epithelial cells were exposed to particles at 250μg/ml or vehicle control for 6h in culture. Following exposure, RNA was isolated and hybridized to human HG U133A affymetrix chips. Keywords: particle treatment Overall design: Human primary epithelial cells were exposed to coarse, fine, ultrafine PM or vehicle control in culture for 6h. Three biological replicates for each treatment (coarse, fine, ultrafine, control) were conducted at (250ug/ml). 12 Affymetrix chips (HG U133A) were used.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to characterize global gene expression in human airway epithelial cells and identify cellular pathways associated with coarse, fine and ultrafine particulate matter (PM) exposures. Ambient PM was collected in 3 different size fractions from Chapel Hill air, particles were extracted from foam or filter matrices and lyophilized. Human primary airway epithelial cells were exposed to particles at 250μg/ml or vehicle control for 6h in culture. Following exposure, RNA was isolated and hybridized to human HG U133A affymetrix chips. Experiment Overall Design: Human primary epithelial cells were exposed to coarse, fine, ultrafine PM or vehicle control in culture for 6h. Three biological replicates for each treatment (coarse, fine, ultrafine, control) were conducted at (250ug/ml). 12 Affymetrix chips (HG U133A) were used.
Project description:Ambient particulate matter (PM) exposure is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. To what extent such effects are different for PM obtained from different sources or locations is still unclear. This study investigated the in vitro toxicity of ambient PM collected at different sites in the Netherlands in relation to PM composition and oxidative potential.PM was sampled at eight sites: three traffic sites, an underground train station, as well as a harbor, farm, steelworks, and urban background location. Coarse (2.5-10 ?m), fine (< 2.5 ?m) and quasi ultrafine PM (qUF; < 0.18 ?m) were sampled at each site. Murine macrophages (RAW 264.7 cells) were exposed to increasing concentrations of PM from these sites (6.25-12.5-25-50-100 ?g/ml; corresponding to 3.68-58.8 ?g/cm2). Following overnight incubation, MTT-reduction activity (a measure of metabolic activity) and the release of pro-inflammatory markers (Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, TNF-?; Interleukin-6, IL-6; Macrophage Inflammatory Protein-2, MIP-2) were measured. The oxidative potential and the endotoxin content of each PM sample were determined in a DTT- and LAL-assay respectively. Multiple linear regression was used to assess the relationship between the cellular responses and PM characteristics: concentration, site, size fraction, oxidative potential and endotoxin content.Most PM samples induced a concentration-dependent decrease in MTT-reduction activity and an increase in pro-inflammatory markers with the exception of the urban background and stop & go traffic samples. Fine and qUF samples of traffic locations, characterized by a high concentration of elemental and organic carbon, induced the highest pro-inflammatory activity. The pro-inflammatory response to coarse samples was associated with the endotoxin level, which was found to increase dramatically during a three-day sample concentration procedure in the laboratory. The underground samples, characterized by a high content of transition metals, showed the largest decrease in MTT-reduction activity. PM size fraction was not related to MTT-reduction activity, whereas there was a statistically significant difference in pro-inflammatory activity between Fine and qUF PM. Furthermore, there was a statistically significant negative association between PM oxidative potential and MTT-reduction activity.The response of RAW264.7 cells to ambient PM was markedly different using samples collected at various sites in the Netherlands that differed in their local PM emission sources. Our results are in support of other investigations showing that the chemical composition as well as oxidative potential are determinants of PM induced toxicity in vitro.
Project description:Epidemiological and toxicological studies have suggested that the health effects associated with exposure to particulate matter (PM) are related to the different physicochemical properties of PM. These effects occur through the initiation of differential cellular responses including: the induction of antioxidant defenses, proinflammatory responses, and ultimately cell death. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of size-fractionated ambient PM on epithelial cells in relation to their physicochemical properties. Concentrated ambient PM was collected on filters for three size fractions: coarse (aerodynamic diameter [AD] 2.5-10 ?m), fine (0.15-2.5 ?m), and quasi-ultrafine (<0.2 ?m), near a busy street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Filters were extracted and analyzed for chemical composition and redox activity. Chemical analyses showed that the coarse, fine, and quasi-ultrafine particles were comprised primarily of metals, water-soluble species, and organic compounds, respectively. The highest redox activity was observed for fine PM. After exposure of A549 cells to PM (10-100 ?g/ml) for 4 h, activation of antioxidant, proinflammatory and cytotoxic responses were assessed by determining the expression of heme oxygenase (HMOX-1, mRNA), interleukin-8 (IL-8, mRNA), and metabolic activity of the cells, respectively. All three size fractions induced mass-dependent antioxidant, proinflammatory, and cytotoxic responses to different degrees. Quasi-ultrafine PM caused significant induction of HMOX-1 at the lowest exposure dose. Correlation analyses with chemical components suggested that the biological responses correlated mainly with transition metals and organic compounds for coarse and fine PM and with organic compounds for quasi-ultrafine PM. Overall, the observed biological responses appeared to be related to the combined effects of size and chemical composition and thus both of these physicochemical properties should be considered when explaining PM toxicity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Emissions from a large peat fire in North Carolina in 2008 were associated with increased hospital admissions for asthma and the rate of heart failure in the exposed population. Peat fires often produce larger amounts of smoke and last longer than forest fires, however few studies have reported on their toxicity. Moreover, reliable alternatives to traditional animal toxicity testing are needed to reduce the number of animals required for hazard identification and risk assessments. METHODS: Size-fractionated particulate matter (PM; ultrafine, fine, and coarse) were obtained from the peat fire while smoldering (ENCF-1) or when nearly extinguished (ENCF-4). Extracted samples were analyzed for chemical constituents and endotoxin content. Female CD-1 mice were exposed via oropharyngeal aspiration to 100 ?g/mouse, and assessed for relative changes in lung and systemic markers of injury and inflammation. At 24 h post-exposure, hearts were removed for ex vivo functional assessments and ischemic challenge. Lastly, 8 mm diameter lung slices from CD-1 mice were exposed (11 ?g)?±?co-treatment of PM with polymyxin B (PMB), an endotoxin-binding compound. RESULTS: On an equi-mass basis, coarse ENCF-1 PM had the highest endotoxin content and elicited the greatest pro-inflammatory responses in the mice including: increases in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid protein, cytokines (IL-6, TNF-?, and MIP-2), neutrophils and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Exposure to fine or ultrafine particles from either period failed to elicit significant lung or systemic effects. In contrast, mice exposed to ENCF-1 ultrafine PM developed significantly decreased cardiac function and greater post-ischemia-associated myocardial infarction. Finally, similar exposures to mouse lung slices induced comparable patterns of cytokine production; and these responses were significantly attenuated by PMB. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that exposure to coarse PM collected during a peat fire causes greater lung inflammation in association with endotoxin and ROS, whereas the ultrafine PM preferentially affected cardiac responses. In addition, lung tissue slices were shown to be a predictive, alternative assay to assess pro-inflammatory effects of PM of differing size and composition. Importantly, these toxicological findings were consistent with the cardiopulmonary health effects noted in epidemiologic reports from exposed populations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The involvement of particulate matter (PM) in cardiorespiratory diseases is now established in developed countries whereas in developing areas such as Africa with a high level of specific pollution, PM pollution and its effects are poorly studied. Our objective was to characterize the biological reactivity of urban African aerosols on human bronchial epithelial cells in relation to PM physico-chemical properties to identify toxic sources. METHODS: Size-speciated aerosol chemical composition was analyzed in Bamako (BK, Mali, 2 samples with one having desert dust event BK1) and Dakar (DK; Senegal) for Ultrafine UF, Fine F and Coarse C PM. PM reactivity was studied in human bronchial epithelial cells investigating six biomarkers (oxidative stress responsive genes and pro-inflammatory cytokines). RESULTS: PM mass concentrations were mainly distributed in coarse mode (60%) and were impressive in BK1 due to the desert dust event. BK2 and DK samples showed a high content of total carbon characteristic of urban areas. The DK sample had huge PAH quantities in bulk aerosol compared with BK that had more water soluble organic carbon and metals. Whatever the site, UF and F PM triggered the mRNA expression of the different biomarkers whereas coarse PM had little or no effect. The GM-CSF biomarker was the most discriminating and showed the strongest pro-inflammatory effect of BK2 PM. The analysis of gene expression signature and of their correlation with main PM compounds revealed that PM-induced responses are mainly related to organic compounds. The toxicity of African aerosols is carried by the finest PM as with Parisian aerosols, but when considering PM mass concentrations, the African population is more highly exposed to toxic particulate pollution than French population. Regarding the prevailing sources in each site, aerosol biological impacts are higher for incomplete combustion sources resulting from two-wheel vehicles and domestic fires than from diesel vehicles (Dakar). Desert dust events seem to produce fewer biological impacts than anthropogenic sources. DISCUSSION: Our study shows that combustion sources contribute to the high toxicity of F and UF PM of African urban aerosols, and underlines the importance of emission mitigation and the imperative need to evaluate and to regulate particulate pollution in Africa.
Project description:Ambient particulate matter may upset redox homeostasis, leading to oxidative stress and adverse health effects. Size distributions of water-insoluble and water-soluble OPDTT (dithiothreitol assay, measure of oxidative potential per air volume) are reported for a roadside site and an urban site. The average water-insoluble fractions were 23% and 51%, and 37% and 39%, for fine and coarse modes at the roadside and urban sites, respectively, measured during different periods. Water-soluble OPDTT was unimodal, peaked near 1-2.5 ?m due to contributions from fine-mode organic components plus coarse-mode transition metal ions. In contrast, water-insoluble OPDTT was bimodal, with both fine and coarse modes. The main chemical components that drive both fractions appear to be the same, except that for water-insoluble OPDTT the compounds were absorbed on surfaces of soot and non-tailpipe traffic dust. They were largely externally mixed and deposited in different regions in the respiratory system, transition metal ions predominately in the upper regions and organic species, such as quinones, deeper in the lung. Although OPDTT per mass (toxicity) was highest for ultrafine particles, estimated lung deposition was mainly from accumulation and coarse particles. Contrasts in the phases of these forms of OPDTT deposited in the respiratory system may have differing health impacts.
Project description:The objectives of this study were to measure levels of particulate matter (PM) in mechanically ventilated buildings and to improve understanding of filtration requirements to reduce exposure. With the use of an Ultra High Sensitivity Aerosol Spectrometer and an Aerodyne Mass Spectrometer, ultrafine (0.055-0.1 ?m) and fine (0.1-0.7 ?m) indoor and outdoor PM was measured as a function of time in an office, a university building, and two elementary schools. Indoor particle levels were highly correlated with outdoor levels. Indoor and outdoor number concentrations in Denver were higher than those in Boulder, with the highest number concentrations occurring during summer and fall. The ratio of indoor-to-outdoor (I/O) PM was weakly but positively correlated with the amount of ventilation provided to the indoor environment, did not vary much with particle size (ranged between 0.48 and 0.63 for the entire size range), and was similar for each period of the week (weekend vs. weekday, night vs. day). Regression analyses showed that ultrafine indoor PM baseline concentrations were higher at night from nighttime infiltration. A lag time was observed between outdoor and indoor measurements. Weekday days had the shortest lag time of 11 min, and weekend nighttime lags when the HVAC was not in use were 50 to 148 min. Indoor-outdoor PM concentration plots showed ultrafine PM was more correlated compared to fine, and especially when the HVAC system was on. Finally, AMS data showed that most of the PM was organic, with occasional nitrate events occurring outdoors. During nitrate events, there were less indoor particles detected, indicating a loss of particulate phase nitrate. The results from this study show that improved filtration is warranted in mechanically ventilated buildings, particularly for ultrafine particles, and that nighttime infiltration is significant depending on the building design.
Project description:Air pollution is linked to brain inflammation, which accelerates tumorigenesis and neurodegeneration. The molecular mechanisms that connect air pollution with brain pathology are largely unknown but seem to depend on the chemical composition of airborne particulate matter (PM). We sourced ambient PM from Riverside, California, and selectively exposed rats to coarse (PM2.5-10: 2.5-10?µm), fine (PM<2.5: <2.5?µm), or ultrafine particles (UFPM: <0.15?µm). We characterized each PM type via atomic emission spectroscopy and detected nickel, cobalt and zinc within them. We then exposed rats separately to each PM type for short (2 weeks), intermediate (1-3 months) and long durations (1 year). All three metals accumulated in rat brains during intermediate-length PM exposures. Via RNAseq analysis we then determined that intermediate-length PM2.5-10 exposures triggered the expression of the early growth response gene 2 (EGR2), genes encoding inflammatory cytokine pathways (IL13-R?1 and IL-16) and the oncogene RAC1. Gene upregulation occurred only in brains of rats exposed to PM2.5-10 and correlated with cerebral nickel accumulation. We hypothesize that the expression of inflammation and oncogenesis-related genes is triggered by the combinatorial exposure to certain metals and toxins in Los Angeles Basin PM2.5-10.