Temporal-spatial analysis of U.S.-Mexico border environmental fine and coarse PM air sample extract activity in human bronchial epithelial cells

Fredine T. Lauer, Leah A. Mitchell, Edward Bedrick, Jacob D. McDonald, Wen Yee Lee, Wen Whai Li, Hector Olvera, Maria A. Amaya, Marianne Berwick, Melissa Gonzales, Robert Currey, Nicholas E. Pingitore, Scott W. Burchiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Particulate matter less than 10 μm (PM10) has been shown to be associated with aggravation of asthma and respiratory and cardiopulmonary morbidity. There is also great interest in the potential health effects of PM2.5. Particulate matter (PM) varies in composition both spatially and temporally depending on the source, location and seasonal condition. El Paso County which lies in the Paso del Norte airshed is a unique location to study ambient air pollution due to three major points: the geological land formation, the relatively large population and the various sources of PM. In this study, dichotomous filters were collected from various sites in El Paso County every 7 days for a period of 1 year. The sampling sites were both distant and near border crossings, which are near heavily populated areas with high traffic volume. Fine (PM2.5) and Coarse (PM10-2.5) PM filter samples were extracted using dichloromethane and were assessed for biologic activity and polycyclic aromatic (PAH) content. Three sets of marker genes human BEAS2B bronchial epithelial cells were utilized to assess the effects of airborne PAHs on biologic activities associated with specific biological pathways associated with airway diseases. These pathways included in inflammatory cytokine production (IL-6, IL-8), oxidative stress (HMOX-1, NQO-1, ALDH3A1, AKR1C1), and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-dependent signaling (CYP1A1). Results demonstrated interesting temporal and spatial patterns of gene induction for all pathways, particularly those associated with oxidative stress, and significant differences in the PAHs detected in the PM10-2.5 and PM2.5 fractions. Temporally, the greatest effects on gene induction were observed in winter months, which appeared to correlate with inversions that are common in the air basin. Spatially, the greatest gene expression increases were seen in extracts collected from the central most areas of El Paso which are also closest to highways and border crossings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Border air samples
  • Lung oxidative stress
  • PM
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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