Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Cell and Molecular Biology
Dayana Abdullah-Smoot - Texas Southern University
Co-Author(s): Nkem Azu, Texas Southern University, Dept. of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Studie; Selina Hernandez, DeBakey High School for Health Professions ; Djene Keita, Texas Southern University, Dept. of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Studies
Automotive exhaust catalysts have been used over many years now, to reduce the significant amounts of harmful chemical substances generated by car engines, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and aromatic hydrocarbons. Although they considerably decrease environmental contamination, it is known that catalysts contribute to the environmental burden of platinum metals, which are released along side exhaust fumes. Wear and tear of break pads also contributes to the release of metallic contaminants in the environment.
Humans can be exposed to these environmental contaminants through inhalation of airborne particulate matter (PM) that may provoke respiratory diseases and other adverse effects. Exposure to atmospheric PM is known to induce many respiratory diseases especially in susceptible populations such as children. However, it is not clear which constituents of atmospheric PM are responsible for the observed health effects. DNA damage is suggested to drive pathophysiological lung processes in infant lung, pulmonary hypertension, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, very little is known about the mechanism dust particles have on pulmonary function.
Hypothesis statement/ importance of research
: We hypothesized that dust particles exert their effects by activating not only the pro-inflammatory signaling pathways but might also have an effect on the activation of development of genes important in altering DNA damage within cells.
Methods and controls
: To test this hypothesis, we examined hypoxic gene expression using real-time PCR in non-cancer lung cells exposed to Road dust and compared expression in lung cells grown under normal conditions with no road dust present.
: Our results suggest that acute road dust exposure influences the expression of DNA repair genes in human lung cells and could activate asthma development in certain individuals. The effect of road dust induced DNA damage after 24 hours is comparatively higher in the expression of GADD45a, NTHL1 and APEX1 genes.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Funding was provided by NSF/RISE grant to S. Shishodia
Faculty Advisor: Shishir Shishodia PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I was tasked with culturing the cells and exposing the cells to road dust at various time points.