2011 Progress Report: Relative Toxicity of Air Pollution Mixtures

EPA Grant Number: R834798C001
Subproject: this is subproject number 001 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R834798
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Air Pollution Mixtures: Health Effects across Life Stages
Center Director: Koutrakis, Petros
Title: Relative Toxicity of Air Pollution Mixtures
Investigators: Godleski, John J. , Koutrakis, Petros
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2015 (Extended to December 31, 2016)
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 2011 through June 30,2011
RFA: Clean Air Research Centers (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Air


Project 1, an inhalation toxicological animal exposure study, investigates the relative toxicity of different component concentration combinations of air pollution mixtures. These components include both particles and gases that are emitted directly from sources (primary species) or are formed in the atmosphere through a series of reactions that are predominantly photochemical (secondary species). The project uses source-specific emissions as well as ambient air or concentrated ambient particles and our photochemical chamber technologies to generate realistic mixtures. We are testing the biological responses of exposure to fresh, aged primary, and secondary pollutants (both gas and particle phase) formed from the photochemical oxidation of traffic emissions or Boston ambient air. We will investigate the toxicological effects of exposure to aged primary or secondary particles. Toxicity will be assessed in Sprague-Dawley rats by changes in 1) in vivo oxidant response, 2) blood pressure, 3) measures of inflammation, and 4) vascular blood flow/resistance. Three concurrent exposures groups (Sham, Control Exposure and Exposure) will allow us to control for the variability in criteria air pollutants (CAPs) composition. With this design, there can always be a direct comparison between two exposure mixtures on every exposure day, making it possible to determine which mixture is more toxic.

Progress Summary:

During the reporting period, we have completed a group of eight papers, all dealing with primary and secondary emissions from power plants, on studies that were funded by the previous Harvard EPA PM Center and the Electric Power Research Institute. These papers have all been accepted for publication and will be published in a special issue of the journal Inhalation Toxicology. We also have completed similar studies on emissions derived from traffic using a northeastern traffic tunnel as the source of mixed vehicular emissions, and compared the effects of the emissions with or without simulation of atmospheric aging by photochemistry and formation of secondary particles.

These investigations are continuing in the new CLARC, as we examine the relative toxicity of different components of air pollution mixtures, focusing on source-specific emissions and ambient particles and gases. In the new CLARC, we are adding a rat model of vascular flow and resistance to our exposures, with excellent progress to report in preparing rats with implanted hardware for these microsphere studies. Specifically, this includes catheterizing the left ventricle for perfusion and the thoracic aorta for sampling, and connecting these catheters to access ports implanted subcutaneously in the posterior intrascapular area. 

Exposures conducted at our tunnel site in support of the new CLARC to date have included primary emissions, with some preliminary secondary exposures scheduled for August 2011.

Future Activities:

We will continue with our investigations as described above. Exposures to fresh and photochemically aged source emissions/CAPs, with and without ozone and other secondary gases, will be conducted. Toxicity of exposures will be assessed in rats using a variety of outcomes, as described above (including changes in vivo chemiluminescence, blood pressure, inflammation, and vascular flow/resistance), to determine the contribution of different components of the exposure mixture to observed biological effects.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 36 publications 14 publications in selected types All 14 journal articles
Other center views: All 410 publications 347 publications in selected types All 347 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Papapostolou V, Lawrence JE, Diaz EA, Wolfson JM, Ferguson ST, Long MS, Godleski JJ, Koutrakis P. Laboratory evaluation of a prototype photochemical chamber designed to investigate the health effects of fresh and aged vehicular exhaust emissions. Inhalation Toxicology 2011;23(8):495-505. R834798 (2010)
R834798 (2011)
R834798 (2013)
R834798 (2014)
R834798 (2015)
R834798 (Final)
R834798C001 (2010)
R834798C001 (2011)
R834798C001 (2014)
R834798C001 (Final)
R834798C005 (Final)
R832416 (Final)
R832416C005 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: ResearchGate-Abstract & Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Informa-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Scientific Discipline, Air, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Air Pollution Effects, Biochemistry, Environmental Monitoring, ambient air quality, complex mixtures, health effects, particulates, sensitive populations, children's health, air pollutants, biological sensitivities, aerosol particles, exposure and effects, lung epithelial cells, susceptible populations, chemical composition, neurotoxicity, human exposure, toxicity, coronary artery disease, cardiopulmonary, cardiotoxicity, environmental effects, mortality, human health

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R834798    Air Pollution Mixtures: Health Effects across Life Stages

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R834798C001 Relative Toxicity of Air Pollution Mixtures
    R834798C002 Cognitive Decline, Cardiovascular Changes, and Biological Aging in Response to Air Pollution
    R834798C003 Identifying the Cognitive and Vascular Effects of Air Pollution Sources and Mixtures in the Framingham Offspring and Third Generation Cohorts
    R834798C004 Longitudinal Effects of Multiple Pollutants on Child Growth, Blood Pressure and Cognition
    R834798C005 A National Study to Assess Susceptibility, Vulnerability, and Effect Modification of Air Pollution Health Risks