News Release

Cadmium and particulate matter toxicity

Peer-Reviewed Publication

PNAS Nexus

Engels et al. supplemental fig 2


High resolution microscopy images of cells from the (A) Control, (B) Urban 125μg/mL, or (C) Urban 500μg/mL exposure conditions captured using a 60x objective. Actin (red), nuclei (blue), and the histone phosphorylation γH2AX (green). Each image is displayed with the same bit range to show the increase in intensity of γH2AX as PM exposure concentration increases.

view more 

Credit: Engels et al.

Particulate matter causes health problems for those who inhale the fine droplets and particles, but the chemical composition of the mixture matters—and can vary widely across space and time. Lydia Contreras and colleagues characterize the consequences of varying levels of exposure to three chemically distinct particulate matter mixes, sourced from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), in a human bronchial epithelial cell model. Following exposures, the authors measured changes in gene expression and cell morphology. NIST’s “Urban” and “Fine” particulate matter mixes, which were collected in St. Louis, Missouri and Prague, Czech Republic, respectively, induced significant changes in gene expression. Particulate matter collected from a diesel engine produced fewer changes. Higher exposures caused more significant changes. Different particulate matter mixes also induced different morphological changes, with exposure to the “Urban” and “Fine” mixtures causing cells to become smaller and more rounded than exposure to the “Diesel” mix. These small rounded cells had signs of significant DNA damage. Next, the authors worked to identify which chemicals were responsible for these changes. Cadmium levels varied between the three mixes tested. Further, when the “Diesel” mix was supplemented with cadmium, it induced changes similar to that of the “Urban” and “Fine” mixes. This indicated that cadmium is at least partially responsible for differences in DNA damage and toxicity between the mixtures, according to the authors.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.