Inflammatory effects on human lung epithelial cells after exposure to diesel exhaust micron sub particles (PM₁.₀) and pollen allergens

Environ Pollut. 2012 Feb:161:64-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.09.046. Epub 2011 Nov 2.


Asthma is currently defined as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway. Several evidence indicate that vehicle emissions in cities is correlated with the allergic respiratory diseases. In the present study, we evaluated in the A549 cells the production and release of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 after treatment with sub-micron PM(1.0) particles (PM(1.0)), Parietaria officinalis (ALL), and PM(1.0) + ALL together. Our data demonstrated that PM(1.0) + ALL together exhibited the greatest capacity to induce A549 cells to enhance the expression of IL-4 and IL-5 compared with the only PM(1.0) or ALL treatment. Interestingly, IL-13 that is necessary for allergen-induced airway hyper responsiveness, is increased in cells treated with PM(1.0) + ALL together, but is higher expressed when the cells are treated only with the allergen. Our data support the hypothesis that the urban environment damage the acinar lung units and activates cells of the immune system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Allergens / toxicity*
  • Cell Line
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity
  • Pollen / toxicity
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Allergens
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions