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Variation in the Composition and In Vitro Proinflammatory Effect of Urban Particulate Matter from Different Sites


  • The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

  • Contract Grant Sponsor: Fogarty International Research Collaboration Award (FIRCA).

  • Contract Grant Sponsor: National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

  • Contract Grant Numbers: R01 ES016932 and R01 ES017022-01.

  • Contract Grant Sponsor: Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INE-Mexico).

Correspondence to: Álvaro R. Osornio-Vargas.


Spatial variation in particulate matter–related health and toxicological outcomes is partly due to its composition. We studied spatial variability in particle composition and induced cellular responses in Mexico City to complement an ongoing epidemiologic study. We measured elements, endotoxins, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in two particle size fractions collected in five sites. We compared the in vitro proinflammatory response of J774A.1 and THP-1 cells after exposure to particles, measuring subsequent TNFα and IL-6 secretion. Particle composition varied by site and size. Particle constituents were subjected to principal component analysis, identifying three components: C1 (Si, Sr, Mg, Ca, Al, Fe, Mn, endotoxin), C2 (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and C3 (Zn, S, Sb, Ni, Cu, Pb). Induced TNFα levels were higher and more heterogeneous than IL-6 levels. Cytokines produced by both cell lines only correlated with C1, suggesting that constituents associated with soil induced the inflammatory response and explain observed spatial differences. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J BiochemMol Toxicol 27:87-97, 2013; View this article online at DOI 10.1002/jbt.21471