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Oxidative Stress, Cytotoxic and Inflammatory Effects of Urban Ultrafine Road-Deposited Dust from the UK and Mexico in Human Epithelial Lung (Calu-3) Cells

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Article number1814
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/09/2022
Issue number9
Number of pages18
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Road-deposited dust (RD) is a pervasive form of particulate pollution identified (typically via epidemiological or mathematical modelling) as hazardous to human health. Finer RD particle sizes, the most abundant (by number, not mass), may pose greater risk as they can access all major organs. Here, the first in vitro exposure of human lung epithelial (Calu-3) cells to 0–300 µg/mL of the ultrafine (<220 nm) fraction of road dust (UF-RDPs) from three contrasting cities (Lancaster and Birmingham, UK, and Mexico City, Mexico) resulted in differential oxidative, cytotoxic, and inflammatory responses. Except for Cd, Na, and Pb, analysed metals were most abundant in Mexico City UF-RDPs, which were most cytotoxic. Birmingham UF-RDPs provoked greatest ROS release (only at 300 µg/mL) and greatest increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Lancaster UF-RDPs increased cell viability. All three UF-RDP samples stimulated ROS production and pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Mass-based PM limits seem inappropriate given the location-specific PM compositions and health impacts evidenced here. A combination of new, biologically relevant metrics and localised regulations appears critical to mitigating the global pandemic of health impacts of particulate air pollution and road-deposited dust.