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Extramural Research

Toxicological Evaluation of Realistic Emission Source Aerosol (TERESA): Investigation of Vehicular Emissions

EPA Grant Number: R832416C005
Subproject: this is subproject number 005 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R832416
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Harvard Particle Center
Center Director: Koutrakis, Petros
Title: Toxicological Evaluation of Realistic Emission Source Aerosol (TERESA): Investigation of Vehicular Emissions
Investigators: Koutrakis, Petros , Godleski, John J. , Lawrence, Joy , Wolfson, Jack M.
Current Investigators: Koutrakis, Petros , Godleski, John J.
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Peffers, Mel
Project Period: October 1, 2005 through September 30, 2010 (Extended to September 30, 2011)
RFA: Particulate Matter Research Centers (2004)
Research Category: Health Effects



This project will investigate the relative toxicity of primary and secondary particulate emissions from motor vehicles. The specific objectives of this project are: 1) to determine whether exposures to fresh and to photochemically aged emissions induce cardiovascular responses in normal and spontaneously hypertensive rats; 2) to determine whether atmospheric photochemical processes enhance the toxicity of vehicular emissions, and; 3) to provide toxicological results to compare with those found in previous TERESA studies of coal power plants, as well as current and previous studies of concentrated ambient particles.


To provide the best representation of fleet emissions, the ventilation stack from an urban highway tunnel within the metropolitan area of Boston, MA, will be used as the source of primary vehicular emissions. The mixture of primary particles and gases will undergo photochemical oxidation to form secondary particle matter. Simulations of different types of atmospheres will be conducted, including oxidizing, and oxidizing followed by neutralizing. Five different animal exposure scenarios will be used, including filtered air, primary gas and particle emissions, primary plus secondary particles, primary plus neutralized secondary particles, and secondary particles formed in the absence of primary particles. Normal laboratory rats exposed using each of the five scenarios will be evaluated for pulmonary, systemic, and cardiovascular effects using in vivo organ chemiluminescence, histopathology, bronchoalveolar lavage, blood cytology, and continuous measurements of cardiac and pulmonary function. The scenarios generating the largest and the least biological response will be further investigated using spontaneously hypertensive rats using the same biological outcomes studied in normal rats. Exposure atmospheres will be chemically and physically characterized for CO, NOx, CH4, NMHC, O3, particle count, mass and size distribution, black carbon, elemental and organic carbon, trace elements, inorganic ions, NH3, HCHO, and VOCs.

For the biological effects observed during each exposure scenario, inter-group differences will be assessed using multi-way analysis of variance. To determine the effect of PM composition on biological response, linear regression models containing exposure concentrations as predictors will be fitted to each response outcome measure. Multiple pollutant linear regressions will be used to assess the independent effects of multiple pollution components on biological response.

Expected Results:

The proposed study will provide information on the relative toxicity of primary and secondary particles from mobile source emissions, and whether susceptible populations have greater responses to exposure to these mobile source particles. The findings of this study will complement the findings of previous TERESA studies of primary and secondary particles from coal power plants, and studies of Concentrated Ambient Particles.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 8 publications for this subprojectView all 140 publications for this center

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this subproject: View all 8 journal articles for this subprojectView all 134 journal articles for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

automobile exhaust, inhalation toxicology, photochemical simulation, urban traffic,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, particulate matter, Toxicology, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, ambient air quality, atmospheric particulate matter, chemical characteristics, human health effects, concentrated ambient particulates (CAPs), cardiovascular vulnerability, animal model, automobile exhaust, airborne particulate matter, chemical composition, biological mechanisms, biological mechanism , traffic related particulate matter, ambient particle health effects, PM, autonomic dysfunction, human health risk

Progress and Final Reports:
2008 Progress Report
2009 Progress Report
2010 Progress Report
Final Report

Main Center Abstract and Reports:
R832416    Harvard Particle Center

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R832416C001 Cardiovascular Responses in the Normative Aging Study: Exploring the Pathways of Particle Toxicity
R832416C002 Cardiovascular Toxicity of Concentrated Ambient Fine, Ultrafine and Coarse Particles in Controlled Human Exposures
R832416C003 Assessing Toxicity of Local and Transported Particles Using Animal Models Exposed to CAPs
R832416C004 Cardiovascular Effects of Mobile Source Exposures: Effects of Particles and Gaseous Co-pollutants
R832416C005 Toxicological Evaluation of Realistic Emission Source Aerosol (TERESA): Investigation of Vehicular Emissions

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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