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Cell Biol Toxicol. 1999;15(6):375-80.

Airborne particles evoke an inflammatory response in human airway epithelium. Activation of transcription factors.

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Laboratoire de Cytophysiologie et Toxicologie cellulaire, Université Paris 7, France.


PM10, the commonly used indicator of respirable environmental suspended particulate matter with a mean aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 microm, is composed of organic or elemental carbon aggregates containing various metals, acid salts, organic pollutants (polyaromatic hydrocarbons, quinones, nitroaromatic hydrocarbons, etc.), and biological contaminants. In urban and industrial areas, fossil fuel combustion products (e.g., diesel exhaust particles and residual oil fly ash) are the main contributors to PM10. Epidemiological data show that air pollution particulates cause adverse pulmonary health effects, especially in individuals with preexisting lung diseases. A critical cell type that encounters particles after inhalation and that is affected in a number of respiratory diseases is the epithelial cell of the airway and alveoli. In vitro studies have shown that PM10 is responsible for the production and the release of inflammatory cytokines by the respiratory tract epithelium as well as for the activation of the transcription factor NFkappaB. As many of the adsorbed materials on the particle surface are direct oxidants (metals, quinones) and indirectly produce reactive oxygen species, it is hypothesized that oxidative stress may be a component of the mechanisms by which particles activate cytokine production and NFkappaB in epithelial cells.

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