Evaluation of inflammatory effects of airborne endotoxin emitted from composting sources

Environ Toxicol Chem. 2011 Mar;30(3):602-6. doi: 10.1002/etc.434. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Because of the lack of effective methodology, the biological effects of environmental endotoxin have not been assessed. Here we have collected and measured airborne endotoxin at different locations around composting sites. Increased endotoxin concentrations were observed close to composting activities and also at nearby boundary areas. Analysis of proinflammatory effects of the environmental endotoxin on interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-6 release from human D562 pharyngeal epithelial and MM6 monocytic cell cultures showed an association between endotoxin level and cytokine induction. The cytokine-inducing effect of bioaerosol extracts was inhibited by polymyxin B, indicating that endotoxin was the cause of cytokine responses we found. The environmental endotoxin was also more active for stimulating cytokines in airway epithelial cells than commercially purified Escherichia coli endotoxin. Our results suggest that these in vitro inflammatory cell models may contribute to the assessment of health impacts of environmental endotoxin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Cell Line
  • Endotoxins / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Respiratory Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism


  • Air Pollutants
  • Endotoxins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8