William Vizuete, Kenneth G. Sexton, Hang Nguyen, Lisa Smeester, Kjersti Marie Aagaard, Cynthia Shope, Barry Lefer, James H. Flynn, Sergio Alvarez, Mathew H. Erickson, Rebecca C. Fry
Environmental Health Insights 9 (s4), (1 January 2020) https://doi.org/10.1177/EHI.S15656
KEYWORDS: in vitro, air pollutants, field campaign, gene expressions, hazardous air pollutants, epithelial lung cell, air–liquid interface
Current in vitro studies do not typically assess cellular impacts in relation to real-world atmospheric mixtures of gases. In this study, we set out to examine the feasibility of measuring biological responses at the level of gene expression in human lung cells upon direct exposures to air in the field. This study describes the successful deployment of lung cells in the heavily industrialized Houston Ship Channel. By examining messenger RNA (mRNA) levels from exposed lung cells, we identified changes in genes that play a role as inflammatory responders in the cell. The results show anticipated responses from negative and positive controls, confirming the integrity of the experimental protocol and the successful deployment of the in vitro instrument. Furthermore, exposures to ambient conditions displayed robust changes in gene expression. These results demonstrate a methodology that can produce gas-phase toxicity data in the field.