In vivo and in vitro inflammatory responses to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from China and California

Wanjun Yuan, Ciara C. Fulgar, Xiaolin Sun, Christoph F.A. Vogel, Ching Wen Wu, Qi Zhang, Keith J. Bein, Dominique E. Young, Wei Li, Haiying Wei, Kent E. Pinkerton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Ambient PM2.5 was collected during the winter season from Taiyuan, Shanxi, China; Jinan, Shandong, China; and Sacramento, California, USA, and used to create PMSX, PMSD, and PMCA extracts, respectively. Time-lag experiments were performed to explore the in vivo and in vitro toxicity of the PM extracts. In vivo inflammatory lung responses were assessed in BALB/c mice using a single oropharyngeal aspiration (OPA) of PM extract or vehicle (CTRL) on Day 0. Necropsies were performed on Days 1, 2, and 4 post-OPA, and pulmonary effects were determined using bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and histopathology. On Day 1, BAL neutrophils were significantly elevated in all PM- versus CTRL-exposed mice, with PMCA producing the strongest response. However, histopathological scoring showed greater alveolar and perivascular effects in PMSX-exposed mice compared to all three other groups. By Day 4, BAL neutrophilia and tissue inflammation were resolved, similar across all groups. In vitro effects were examined in human HepG2 hepatocytes, and U937 cells following 6, 24, or 48 h of exposure to PM extract or DMSO (control). Luciferase reporter and quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays were used to determine in vitro effects on aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) activation and gene transcription, respectively. Though all three PM extracts activated AhR, PMSX produced the greatest increases in AhR activation, and mRNA levels of cyclooxygenase-2, cytochrome P450, interleukin (IL)-8, and interleukin (IL)-1β. These effects were assumed to result from a greater abundance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in PMSX compared to PMSD and PMCA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology Letters
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Air pollution
  • Aryl hydrocarbon receptor
  • Human macrophages
  • PM
  • Time-lag study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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