Epidemiologists have tried to establish an association between human health and exposure to particulate matter (PM). In addition, many researchers have investigated the adverse effects of PM as a trigger of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. It is known that a number of environmental contaminants are attached to PM and the toxicity of PM may depend on the sources. We investigated the effects of PM collected in a residential area of Seoul on the immunotoxic responses including cytokine production in BAL fluid and in blood after a single intratracheal instillation in mice with the characterization of physico-chemical properties of PM 2.5 samples. As results, pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, TNF-α, and IL-6), Th0-type cytokine (IL-2), and Th1-type cytokines (IL-12 and IFN-γ) were increased by a dose-dependent manner. Cell infiltration in the alveolar area and phagocytosis by macrophage was observed until day 28 after instillation. The expressions of oxidative stress-related genes (HSP 1a, HSP 8, and SOD) and tissue damage-related genes (MMP-15, -19, and Slpi) were time-dependently increased. PM 2.5 also induced an increase of T cell distribution in lymphocyte and decreased the CD4+/CD8+ ratio. Based on the results, we suggest that PM 2.5 collected in a residential area of Seoul may induce Th1 type-inflammatory responses with oxidative stress and trigger adverse effects in human health.
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