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Toxicol In Vitro. 2006 Jun;20(4):519-28. Epub 2005 Nov 17.

Dunkerque City air pollution particulate matter-induced cytotoxicity, oxidative stress and inflammation in human epithelial lung cells (L132) in culture.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Recherche en Toxicologie Industrielle et Environnementale, Maison de la Recherche en Environnement Industriel de Dunkerque 2, 189A, Avenue Maurice Schumann, 59140 Dunkerque, France.


Exposure to urban airborne particulate matter (PM) has been associated with adverse health effects. In this work, we focused our attention on the capacity of air pollution PM to induce cytotoxic, oxidative stress, and inflammatory responses in human epithelial lung cells (L132) in culture. PM were collected in Dunkerque, a French seaside city, and their physical and chemical characteristics were carried out. Their size distribution showed that 92.15% of the PM were equal or smaller than 2.5 and their specific surface area was 1 m2/g. Inorganic (i.e. Fe, Al, Ca, Na, K, Mg, Pb, etc.) and organic (i.e. VOC, PAH, etc.) chemicals were found in PM. Physical and chemical properties of Dunkerque City's PM suggested that much of the collected PM derived from wind-borne dust from the industrial complex and the heavy motor vehicle traffic. Their cytotoxicity, as evaluated by survival rate determination, lactate dehydrogenase activity, and mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity showed concentration and time-dependent effects in L132 cells (LC10 = 18.84 microg PM/ml; LC50 = 75.36 microg PM/ml). Moreover, in PM-exposed L132 cells, there were concentration- and time-dependent changes in lipid peroxidation, superoxide dismutase activity, 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine formation, and poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation, on the one hand, and in tumor necrosis factor-alpha secretion, inducible nitric oxide synthase activity, and nitric oxide release, on the other hand. Taken together, these findings suggested that oxidative stress and inflammatory responses proceeded cytotoxicity in PM-exposed L132 cells.

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