Differential inflammatory potential of particulate matter (PM) size fractions from imperial valley, CA

S. M. D'Evelyn, C. F.A. Vogel, K. J. Bein, B. Lara, E. A. Laing, R. A. Abarca, Q. Zhang, L. Li, J. Li, T. B. Nguyen, K. E. Pinkerton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Particulate matter (PM) in Imperial Valley originates from a variety of sources such as agriculture, traffic at the border crossing, emissions from the cross-border city of Mexicali, and the drying lakebed of the Salton Sea. Dust storms in Imperial Valley, California regularly lead to exceedances of the federal air quality standards for PM10 (diameter less than 10 μm). To determine if there are differences in the composition and biological response to Imperial County PM by size, ambient PM samples were collected from a sampling unit stationed in the northern-most part of the valley, South of the Salton Sea. Ultrafine, fine, and coarse PM samples were collected and extracted separately. Chemical composition of each size fraction was obtained after extraction by using several analytical techniques, and biological response was measured by exposing a cell line of macrophages to particles and quantifying subsequent gene expression. Biological measurements demonstrated coarse PM induced an inflammatory response in macrophages measured in increases of inflammatory markers IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8 and CXCL2 expression, whereas ultrafine and fine PM only demonstrated significant increases in expression of CYP1a1. These differential responses were due not only to particle size, but to the distinct chemical profiles of each size faction as well. Community groups in Imperial Valley have already completed several projects to learn more about local air quality, giving residents access to data that provides real-time levels of PM2.5 and PM10 as well as recommendations on health-based practices dependent on the current AQI (air quality index). However, to date there is no information on the composition or toxicity of ambient PM from the region. The data presented here could provide more definitive information on the toxicity of PM by size, and further inform the community on local air quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117992
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Bioaerosols
  • Coarse PM
  • Endotoxin
  • Imperial valley
  • Particulate matter
  • Size fraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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