Genotoxic Activity of Particulate Matter and In Vivo Tests in Children Exposed to Air Pollution

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 17;18(10):5345. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18105345.


The aim of this paper was to investigate the relationship between micronuclei and DNA damage in children's buccal mucosa cells and the genotoxicity and mutagenicity of the different sized fractions of particulate matter as well as the concentration of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and metals in particulate matter. Air particulate matter was collected by high volume samplers located near the schools attended by the children on the same days of biological samplings. The mutagenic activity was assessed in different cells in in vitro tests (Ames test on bacteria and comet test on leukocytes). Our study showed weak positive correlations between (a) the mutagenicity of the PM0.5 fraction and PAHs and (b) the micronuclei test of children's buccal cells and PAHs detected in PM0.5 and PM0.5-3 fractions. A positive correlation was also found between in vitro comet test on leukocytes and PAHs in the PM3-10 fraction. No correlation was observed for metal concentrations in each PM fraction.

Keywords: Ames test; children; comet assay; early biological effects; in vitro mutagenicity; metals; micronuclei test; mucosa buccal cells; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; urban particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollutants* / toxicity
  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Child
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Mouth Mucosa
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Mutagens / toxicity
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons* / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons* / toxicity


  • Air Pollutants
  • Mutagens
  • Particulate Matter
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons