Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Hang Nguyen: Assessing targeted genomic expression following In Vitro exposures of human lung cells to ambient gases in Houston, Texas
(Under the direction of William Vizuete)
Ambient exposures consist of many gaseous air pollutants that continue to transform chemically. Current in vitro studies, however, do not typically assess cellular impacts in relation to real-world gaseous mixtures. In vitro exposures of lung cells to ambient mixtures were completed and produced gene expression data from a field campaign in the industrialized Houston Ship Channel. An integral part of this field campaign was the real-time monitoring of both emitted and secondary gas phase pollutants. This real-time chemical characterization data was used to quantify correlations with expressions of 979 genes selected for their roles in inflammation and cancer in human lung cells. We found statistically significant correlations between expressions of 11 genes and 8 pollutants. As expected, large fold increases in gene expressions were measured from exposures to known hazardous air pollutants. The genomic response correlation with alkanes, however, was not expected and could be serving as a surrogate for other unmeasured pollutants. For these alkanes, the transforming growth factor beta 3 (TGFB3) had a positive correlation and is associated with a cell proliferation pathway. Of the seven genes correlated with benzene, NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) had the highest correlation and is associated with the inflammasome activation.