2000 Progress Report: Health Effects of Ambient Air PM in Controlled Human Exposures

EPA Grant Number: R827351C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R827351
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: EPA NYU PM Center: Health Risks of PM Components
Center Director: N/A
Title: Health Effects of Ambient Air PM in Controlled Human Exposures
Investigators: Gordon, Terry , Reibman, Joan
Current Investigators: Gordon, Terry , Chen, Lung Chi , Reibman, Joan
Institution: New York University School of Medicine
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2005 (Extended to May 31, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2000 through May 31, 2001
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) Centers (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air


The objective of this research project is to evaluate whether concentrated ambient particulate matter (PM) will produce acute adverse respiratory and cardiovascular health outcomes in volunteers under controlled exposure conditions.

Progress Summary:

Technical problems in the development of a new higher volume centrifugal concentrator, have prevented much progress in the actual exposure of human subjects to concentrated ambient PM. Thus, while the original study endpoints spanned a spectrum of physiological, cellular, and biochemical responses useful for determining the cardiopulmonary effects of PM exposure, we have recently scaled back on these endpoints. Therefore, we concentrated (in collaboration with Dr. L. Chen) our efforts on examining the in vitro response of human bronchial epithelial cells to size-fractionated ambient PM. Because of the significant association between ambient PM and exacerbation of allergic asthma, we examined the potential for airway epithelial cells (primary culture) to modulate the immune system. Size-fractionated ambient PM was collected with a multi-orifice uniform diameter impacter (MOUDI) for 2-week intervals throughout the year and used to treat human bronchial epithelial cells obtained from normal human volunteers. The fraction of particles less than 0.18 micrometers (µm) produced a dose-dependent increase in granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) released from the epithelial cells. The GM-CSF is a cytokine that can elicit inflammation in the airways via an effect on eosinophils, and can also modulate immune responses via effects on dendritic cells. There was no change in secreted GM-CSF in cells treated with larger ambient particles or equivalent doses of carbon or Mount St. Helen dust particles, thus suggesting that the human epithelial cell response was not due to a general particle effect. Moreover, treatment of epithelial cells with endotoxin had no effect on GM-CSF. Further experiments with inhibitors demonstrated that mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are involved in the ambient particle effects on GM-CSF secretion by epithelial cells.

Future Activities:

Normal subjects (ages 18 to 50) will be exposed for 2 hours by face mask to filtered air or 150 µg/m3 concentrated ambient PM. Other researchers have found few if any cellular or biochemical changes in the lavage fluid of subjects exposed to concentrated ambient PM, therefore we have dropped bronchoalveolar lavage from our study protocol. Only blood coagulability indices, electrocardiogram, and heart rate/heart rate variability changes, and pulmonary function will be measured after each exposure. This simpler study aim will allow us to complete a new goal of monitoring the changes in 12 normal subjects after exposure to air or concentrated ambient PM. This will be performed with comprehensive chemical characterization of the exposure atmospheres to permit us to more carefully use day-to-day variability in PM composition in the interpretation of biological results.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 3 publications for this subproject

Supplemental Keywords:

particulate matter, PM, exposure, epidemiology, human exposure, respiratory, cardiovascular, epithelial cell, asthma., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, particulate matter, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Risk Assessment, ambient air quality, atmospheric particulate matter, particulates, air toxics, atmospheric particles, chemical characteristics, toxicology, ambient air monitoring, acute cardiovascular effects, airborne particulate matter, ozone, environmental risks, exposure, Sulfur dioxide, air pollution, aerosol composition, atmospheric aerosol particles, human exposure, PM, exposure assessment

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R827351    EPA NYU PM Center: Health Risks of PM Components

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R827351C001 Exposure Characterization Error
    R827351C002 X-ray CT-based Assessment of Variations in Human Airway Geometry: Implications for Evaluation of Particle Deposition and Dose to Different Populations
    R827351C003 Asthma Susceptibility to PM2.5
    R827351C004 Health Effects of Ambient Air PM in Controlled Human Exposures
    R827351C005 Physicochemical Parameters of Combustion Generated Atmospheres as Determinants of PM Toxicity
    R827351C006 Effects of Particle-Associated Irritants on the Cardiovascular System
    R827351C007 Role of PM-Associated Transition Metals in Exacerbating Infectious Pneumoniae in Exposed Rats
    R827351C008 Immunomodulation by PM: Role of Metal Composition and Pulmonary Phagocyte Iron Status
    R827351C009 Health Risks of Particulate Matter Components: Center Service Core
    R827351C010 Lung Hypoxia as Potential Mechanisms for PM-Induced Health Effects
    R827351C011 Urban PM2.5 Surface Chemistry and Interactions with Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid (BALF)
    R827351C012 Subchronic PM2.5 Exposure Study at the NYU PM Center
    R827351C013 Long Term Health Effects of Concentrated Ambient PM2.5
    R827351C014 PM Components and NYC Respiratory and Cardiovascular Morbidity
    R827351C015 Development of a Real-Time Monitoring System for Acidity and Soluble Components in Airborne Particulate Matter
    R827351C016 Automated Real-Time Ambient Fine PM Monitoring System