Cytotoxic response in human lung epithelial cells and ion characteristics of urban-air particles from Torino, a northern Italian city
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- Alessandria, L., Schilirò, T., Degan, R. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2014) 21: 5554. doi:10.1007/s11356-013-2468-1
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Recently, much attention has been devoted to urban air pollution because epidemiological studies have reported health impacts related to particulate matter (PM). PM10 and PM2.5 were collected during different seasons in Torino, a northern Italian city, and were characterised by inorganic chemical species (secondary particulates and bio-available iron). The biological effects of aqueous and organic solvent PM extracts on human epithelial lung A549 were evaluated, and the effects on cell proliferation and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release were assayed. The average PM10 concentration during the sampling period was 47.9 ± 18.0 μg/m3; the secondary particles accounted for 49 % ± 9 % of the PM10 total mass, and the bio-available iron concentration was 0.067 ± 0.045 μg/m3. The PM2.5/PM10 ratio in Torino ranged from 0.47 to 0.90 and was higher in cold months than in warm months. The PM10 and PM2.5 extracts inhibited cell proliferation and induced LDH release in a dose-dependent manner with a seasonal trend. The PM10 extract had a stronger effect on LDH release, whereas the PM2.5 extract more strongly inhibited cell proliferation. No significant differences were observed in the effects induced by the two extracts, and no significant correlations were found between the biological effects and the PM components evaluated in this study, thus emphasising the importance of the entire mixture in inducing a cytotoxic response.