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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(4), 4031-4046; doi:10.3390/ijerph120404031

Chemical Characterisation of the Coarse and Fine Particulate Matter in the Environment of an Underground Railway System: Cytotoxic Effects and Oxidative Stress—A Preliminary Study

Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Italy Via Pastore, 1-16132 Genoa, Italy
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Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 23 February 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 13 April 2015
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Abstract

Background: Exposure to the particulate matter produced in underground railway systems is arousing increasing scientific interest because of its health effects. The aim of our study was to evaluate the airborne concentrations of PM10 and three sub-fractions of PM2.5 in an underground railway system environment in proximity to platforms and in underground commercial areas within the system, and to compare these with the outdoor airborne concentrations. We also evaluated the metal components, the cytotoxic properties of the various fractions of particulate matter (PM) and their capacity to induce oxidative stress. Method: We collected the coarse fraction (5–10 µm) and the fine fractions (1–2.5 µm; 0.5–1 µm; 0.25–0.5 µm). Chemical characterisation was determined by means of spectrometry. Cytotoxicity and oxidative stress were evaluated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) assessment. Results: The concentrations of both PM10 and PM2.5 proved to be similar at the three sampling sites. Iron and other transition metals displayed a greater concentration at the subway platform than at the other two sites. The 2.5–10 µm and 1–2.5 µm fractions of PM from all three sampling sites determined a greater increase in ROS; the intensity of oxidative stress progressively declined as particle diameter diminished. Moreover, ROS concentrations were correlated with the concentrations of some transition metals, namely Mn, Cr, Ti, Fe, Cu, Zn, Ni and Mo. All particulate matter fractions displayed lower or similar ROS values between platform level and the outdoor air. Conclusions: The present study revealed that the underground railway environment at platform level, although containing higher concentrations of some particularly reactive metallic species, did not display higher cytotoxicity and oxidative stress levels than the outdoor air. View Full-Text
Keywords: underground railway; airborne particulate matter; metallic components; ROS underground railway; airborne particulate matter; metallic components; ROS
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Spagnolo, A.M.; Ottria, G.; Perdelli, F.; Cristina, M.L. Chemical Characterisation of the Coarse and Fine Particulate Matter in the Environment of an Underground Railway System: Cytotoxic Effects and Oxidative Stress—A Preliminary Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 4031-4046.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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