Evaluation of Direct-Oxidative DNA Damage on Human Lung Epithelial Cells Exposed to Urban Airborne Particulate Matter

  • Delia CavalloEmail author
  • Cinzia L. Ursini
  • Patrizia Di Filippo
  • Aureliano Ciervo
  • Sergio Spicaglia
  • Donatella Pomata
  • Federica Incoronato
  • Sergio Iavicoli


Airborne particulate matter (PM) extracts were investigated for their content of organic compounds and for the direct and oxidative DNA damage induced on lung epithelial cells A549. PM10 was seasonally collected at two monitoring sites (Stations 1 and 2), characterized by different traffic loads. The cells were exposed for 30 min to extracts of PM10 diluted at 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1% for summer samples, and at 0.05%, 0.1%, and 0.15% for winter samples. Oxidative and direct DNA damage were evaluated by formamidopyrimidine glycosylase (fpg) comet assay analyzing tail moment (TM) values from fpg-enzyme-treated cells (TMenz) and enzyme untreated cells (TM) respectively and by comet percentage analysis. Measurements relating to Station 2 showed higher levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and their methyl-(methyl-PAHs) and nitro-(nitro-PAHs) derivatives in both the seasons. Nitro-PAH concentrations were higher in summer than in winter at both the stations. We found a significant increase of comet percentages at the highest dose of extract from both stations in summer and from Station 2 in winter. The TM and TMenz values relative to the summer sampling showed an early oxidative DNA damage induction also followed by direct DNA damage more evident at Station 2, that seems to correlate with the presence of higher nitro-PAH concentrations during the warm season. At both monitoring stations, the results from winter sampling campaign showed a direct DNA damage induction at 0.1% of extract and oxidative-direct DNA damage at the highest dose (0.15%).


Urban PM10 PAHs and nitro-PAHs concentrations Fpg comet assay Genotoxic-oxidative effects 



The research was supported by the Ministry of Health within the project ITALIA (PMS/025/2003).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delia Cavallo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cinzia L. Ursini
    • 1
  • Patrizia Di Filippo
    • 2
  • Aureliano Ciervo
    • 1
  • Sergio Spicaglia
    • 2
  • Donatella Pomata
    • 2
  • Federica Incoronato
    • 2
  • Sergio Iavicoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Occupational Medicine-ISPESLNational Institute for Occupational Safety and PreventionRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Interactions of Industrial Settlements-ISPESLNational Institute of Occupational Safety and PreventionRomeItaly

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