Toxicity of aged gasoline exhaust particles to normal and diseased airway epithelia

Lisa Künzi, Manuel Krapf, Nancy Daher, Josef Dommen, Natalie Jeannet, Sarah Schneider, Stephen Platt, Jay G. Slowik, Nathalie Baumlin, Matthias Salathe, André S.H. Prévôt, Markus Kalberer, Christof Strähl, Lutz Dümbgen, Constantinos Sioutas, Urs Baltensperger, Marianne Geiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Particulate matter (PM) pollution is a leading cause of premature death, particularly in those with pre-existing lung disease. A causative link between particle properties and adverse health effects remains unestablished mainly due to complex and variable physico-chemical PM parameters. Controlled laboratory experiments are required. Generating atmospherically realistic aerosols and performing cell-exposure studies at relevant particle-doses are challenging. Here we examine gasoline-exhaust particle toxicity from a Euro-5 passenger car in a uniquely realistic exposure scenario, combining a smog chamber simulating atmospheric ageing, an aerosol enrichment system varying particle number concentration independent of particle chemistry, and an aerosol deposition chamber physiologically delivering particles on air-liquid interface (ALI) cultures reproducing normal and susceptible health status. Gasoline-exhaust is an important PM source with largely unknown health effects. We investigated acute responses of fully-differentiated normal, distressed (antibiotics-treated) normal, and cystic fibrosis human bronchial epithelia (HBE), and a proliferating, single-cell type bronchial epithelial cell-line (BEAS-2B). We show that a single, short-term exposure to realistic doses of atmospherically-aged gasoline-exhaust particles impairs epithelial key-defence mechanisms, rendering it more vulnerable to subsequent hazards. We establish dose-response curves at realistic particle-concentration levels. Significant differences between cell models suggest the use of fully-differentiated HBE is most appropriate in future toxicity studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11801
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Jun 29 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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