Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) enhances allergic sensitization in BALB/c mice

Alejandro R. Castañeda, Keith J. Bein, Suzette Smiley-Jewell, Kent E Pinkerton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Ambient particulate matter (PM), a component of air pollution, exacerbates airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in asthmatic patients. Studies showed that PM possesses adjuvant-like properties that enhance the allergic inflammatory response; however, the mechanism (or mechanisms) by which PM enhances the allergic response remains to be determined. The aim of this study was to assess how exposure to fine PM collected from Sacramento, CA, shapes the allergic airway immune response in BALB/c mice undergoing sensitization and challenge with ovalbumin (OVA). Eight-week-old BALB/c male mice were sensitized/challenged with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS/PBS; n = 6), PM/PBS (n = 6), OVA/OVA (n = 6), or OVA + PM/OVA (n = 6). Lung tissue, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and plasma were analyzed for cellular inflammation, cytokines, immunoglobulin E, and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression. Mice in the OVA + PM/OVA group displayed significantly increased airway inflammation compared to OVA/OVA animals. Total cells, macrophages, and eosinophils recovered in BALF were significantly elevated in the OVA + PM/OVA compared to OVA/OVA group. Histopathological grading indicated that OVA + PM/OVA treatment induced significant inflammation compared to OVA/OVA. Both immunoglobulin (Ig) E and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α levels were significantly increased in OVA/OVA and OVA + PM /OVA groups compared to PBS/PBS control. The number of HO-1 positive alveolar macrophages was significantly elevated in lungs of mice treated with OVA + PM /OVA compared to OVA/OVA. Our findings suggest that fine PM enhances allergic inflammatory response in pulmonary tissue through mechanisms involving increased oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-207
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 16 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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