The Cytotoxic Effects of Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) from Different Sources at the Air-Liquid Interface Exposure on A549 Cells

December 25, 2023

DOI: 10.3390/toxics12010021

Zhansheng Yan 1, Pengxiang Ge 1, Zhenyu Lu 1, Xiaoming Liu 1, Maoyu Cao 2, Wankang Chen 1, Mindong Chen 1
1Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China.
2School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.

The health of humans has been negatively impacted by PM2.5 exposure, but the chemical composition and toxicity of PM2.5 might vary depending on its source. To investigate the toxic effects of particulate matter from different sources on lung epithelial cells (A549), PM2.5 samples were collected from residential, industrial, and transportation areas in Nanjing, China. The chemical composition of PM2.5 was analyzed, and toxicological experiments were conducted. The A549 cells were exposed using an air-liquid interface (ALI) exposure system, and the cytotoxic indicators of the cells were detected. The research results indicated that acute exposure to different sources of particulate matter at the air-liquid interface caused damage to the cells, induced the production of ROS, caused apoptosis, inflammatory damage, and DNA damage, with a dose-effect relationship. The content of heavy metals and PAHs in PM2.5 from the traffic source was relatively high, and the toxic effect of the traffic-source samples on the cells was higher than that of the industrial- and residential-source samples. The cytotoxicity of particulate matter was mostly associated with water-soluble ions, carbon components, heavy metals, PAHs, and endotoxin, based on the analysis of the Pearson correlation. Oxidative stress played an important role in PM2.5-induced biological toxicity.

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