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      Instillation of Six Different Ultrafine Carbon Particles Indicates a Surface Area Threshold Dose for Acute Lung Inflammation in Mice

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          Increased levels of particulate air pollution are associated with increased respiratory and cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Some epidemiologic and toxicologic research suggests ultrafine particles (UFPs) (< 100 nm) to be more harmful per unit mass than larger particles. Our study was aimed at a quantitative comparison of acute adverse effects of different types of carbonaceous UFPs at a dose range that causes a moderate inflammatory response in lungs. We used six different particle types (primary particle size 10–50 nm, specific surface area 30–800 m 2/g, and organic content 1–20%): PrintexG, Printex90, flame soot particles with different organic content (SootL, SootH), spark-generated ultrafine carbon particles (ufCP), and the reference diesel exhaust particles (DEP) SRM1650a. Mice were instilled with 5, 20, and 50 μg of each particle type, and bronchoalveolar lavage was analyzed 24 hr after instillation for inflammatory cells and the level of proinflammatory cytokines. At respective mass-doses, particle-caused detrimental effects ranked in the following order: ufCP > SootL ≥ SootH > Printex90 > PrintexG > DEP. Relating the inflammatory effects to the particle characteristics—organic content, primary particle size, or specific surface area—demonstrates the most obvious dose response for particle surface area. Our study suggests that the surface area measurement developed by Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller is a valuable reference unit for the assessment of causative health effects for carbonaceous UFPs. Additionally, we demonstrated the existence of a threshold for the particle surface area at an instilled dose of approximately 20 cm 2, below which no acute proinflammatory responses could be detected in mice.

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          Concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles near a major highway.

          Motor vehicle emissions usually constitute the most significant source of ultrafine particles (diameter <0.1 microm) in an urban environment, yet little is known about the concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles in the vicinity of major highways. In the present study, particle number concentration and size distribution in the size range from 6 to 220 nm were measured by a condensation particle counter (CPC) and a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS), respectively. Measurements were taken 30, 60, 90, 150, and 300 m downwind, and 300 m upwind, from Interstate 405 at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. At each sampling location, concentrations of CO, black carbon (BC), and particle mass were also measured by a Dasibi CO monitor, an aethalometer, and a DataRam, respectively. The range of average concentration of CO, BC, total particle number, and mass concentration at 30 m was 1.7-2.2 ppm, 3.4-10.0 microg/m3, 1.3-2.0 x 10(5)/cm3, and 30.2-64.6 microg/m3, respectively. For the conditions of these measurements, relative concentrations of CO, BC, and particle number tracked each other well as distance from the freeway increased. Particle number concentration (6-220 nm) decreased exponentially with downwind distance from the freeway. Data showed that both atmospheric dispersion and coagulation contributed to the rapid decrease in particle number concentration and change in particle size distribution with increasing distance from the freeway. Average traffic flow during the sampling periods was 13,900 vehicles/hr. Ninety-three percent of vehicles were gasoline-powered cars or light trucks. The measured number concentration tracked traffic flow well. Thirty meters downwind from the freeway, three distinct ultrafine modes were observed with geometric mean diameters of 13, 27, and 65 nm. The smallest mode, with a peak concentration of 1.6 x 10(5)/cm3, disappeared at distances greater than 90 m from the freeway. Ultrafine particle number concentration measured 300 m downwind from the freeway was indistinguishable from upwind background concentration. These data may be used to estimate exposure to ultrafine particles in the vicinity of major highways.
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            Epidemiology of fine particulate air pollution and human health: biologic mechanisms and who's at risk?

             C Pope (2000)
            This article briefly summarizes the epidemiology of the health effects of fine particulate air pollution, provides an early, somewhat speculative, discussion of the contribution of epidemiology to evaluating biologic mechanisms, and evaluates who's at risk or is susceptible to adverse health effects. Based on preliminary epidemiologic evidence, it is speculated that a systemic response to fine particle-induced pulmonary inflammation, including cytokine release and altered cardiac autonomic function, may be part of the pathophysiologic mechanisms or pathways linking particulate pollution with cardiopulmonary disease. The elderly, infants, and persons with chronic cardiopulmonary disease, influenza, or asthma are most susceptible to mortality and serious morbidity effects from short-term acutely elevated exposures. Others are susceptible to less serious health effects such as transient increases in respiratory symptoms, decreased lung function, or other physiologic changes. Chronic exposure studies suggest relatively broad susceptibility to cumulative effects of long-term repeated exposure to fine particulate pollution, resulting in substantive estimates of population average loss of life expectancy in highly polluted environments. Additional knowledge is needed about the specific pollutants or mix of pollutants responsible for the adverse health effects and the biologic mechanisms involved.
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              Respiratory effects are associated with the number of ultrafine particles.

              The association between fine and ultrafine particles and respiratory health was studied in adults with a history of asthma in Erfurt, Eastern Germany. Twenty-seven nonsmoking asthmatics recorded their peak expiratory flow (PEF) and respiratory symptoms daily. The size distribution of ambient particles in the range of 0.01 to 2.5 microm was determined with an aerosol spectrometer during the winter season 1991-1992. Most of the particles (73%) were in the ultrafine fraction (smaller than 0.1 microm in diameter), whereas most of the mass (82%) was attributable to particles in the size range of 0.1 to 0.5 microm. Because these two fractions did not have similar time courses (correlation coefficient r = 0.51), a comparison of their health effects was possible. Both fractions were associated with a decrease of PEF and an increase in cough and feeling ill during the day. Health effects of the 5-d mean of the number of ultrafine particles were larger than those of the mass of the fine particles. In addition, the effects of the number of the ultrafine particles on PEF were stronger than those of particulate matter smaller than 10 microm (PM10). Therefore, the present study suggests that the size distribution of ambient particles helps to elucidate the properties of ambient aerosols responsible for health effects.

                Author and article information

                Environ Health Perspect
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
                March 2006
                22 September 2005
                : 114
                : 3
                : 328-333
                GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute of Inhalation Biology, Muenchen-Neuherberg, Germany
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to T. Stoeger, Ingolstaedter Landstrasse 1, D-85764 Muenchen-Neuherberg, Germany. Telephone: 49-89-3187-3104. Fax: 49-89-3187-2400. E-mail: tobias.stoeger@gsf.de

                The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

                This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI.


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