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Open AccessArticle

Seasonal Variation in the Biological Effects of PM2.5 from Greater Cairo

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Research Center POLARIS, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20126 Milan, Italy
Air Pollution Research Department, Environmental Research Division, National Research Centre, 33 El-Bohouth St., Dokki, Giza 12622, Egypt
ENEA SSPT-MET-INAT Bologna Research Centre; Via Martiri di Monte Sole, 4; 40129 Bologna, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 4970;
Received: 11 September 2019 / Revised: 4 October 2019 / Accepted: 5 October 2019 / Published: 9 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inhalation Toxicology and Biological Response)
Greater Cairo (Egypt) is a megalopolis where the studies of the air pollution events are of extremely high relevance, for the geographical-climatological aspects, the anthropogenic emissions and the health impact. While preliminary studies on the particulate matter (PM) chemical composition in Greater Cairo have been performed, no data are yet available on the PM’s toxicity. In this work, the in vitro toxicity of the fine PM (PM2.5) sampled in an urban area of Greater Cairo during 2017–2018 was studied. The PM2.5 samples collected during spring, summer, autumn and winter were preliminary characterized to determine the concentrations of ionic species, elements and organic PM (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, PAHs). After particle extraction from filters, the cytotoxic and pro-inflammatory effects were evaluated in human lung A549 cells. The results showed that particles collected during the colder seasons mainly induced the xenobiotic metabolizing system and the consequent antioxidant and pro-inflammatory cytokine release responses. Biological events positively correlated to PAHs and metals representative of a combustion-derived pollution. PM2.5 from the warmer seasons displayed a direct effect on cell cycle progression, suggesting possible genotoxic effects. In conclusion, a correlation between the biological effects and PM2.5 physico-chemical properties in the area of study might be useful for planning future strategies aiming to improve air quality and lower health hazards. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; PM2.5; toxicity; lung; in vitro systems air pollution; PM2.5; toxicity; lung; in vitro systems
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Marchetti, S.; Hassan, S.K.; Shetaya, W.H.; El-Mekawy, A.; Mohamed, E.F.; Mohammed, A.M.F.; El-Abssawy, A.A.; Bengalli, R.; Colombo, A.; Gualtieri, M.; Mantecca, P. Seasonal Variation in the Biological Effects of PM2.5 from Greater Cairo. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 4970.

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