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Special Issue "Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Otto Hänninen

1) National Institute for Health and Welfare, Environmental Health, POB 95, FI-70701Kuopio, Finland 2) Faculty of Sciences and Forestry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
Phone: +358 29 524 6471
Fax: +358 29 524 6499
Interests: exposure and risk assessment; epidemiology; aerosol modelling; ultrafine and fine particles; ambient air quality; infiltration; indoor air pollution; lung deposition; source apportionment and particle composition; intake fraction; life cycle assessment; environmental burden of disease

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ultrafine particles have special physical and chemical properties that affect their behaviour in the environment and entry to the human body. Ambient particles are estimated to be the leading hazard to human health globally—also in developed countries with lower environmental levels than in many places in the developing world—but the higher number concentration and particle surface area have been suggested to increase the health risks from ultrafines. However, the toxicological evidence has not yet been fully established in human studies.

The Special Issue of IJERPH on Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects aims at presenting the state of art in understanding the risks of nanosized ultrafine particles on human health. This issue welcomes papers on exposure analysis, epidemiology, toxicology and risk assessment focusing specifically on the processes affecting hazards of ultrafine particles for human health. The main interest is in environmental exposures, but also occupational settings may be considered in special cases. The issue also welcomes novel approaches for risk management including both indoor and outdoor sources and exposures. Application of novel monitoring methods like miniature sized personal monitors and estimates of particle surface area and microenvironmental particle size distributions, including dynamic aerosol processes, are warmly welcome. This special issue represents an effort to capture current developments in the field and provide a forum for cutting edge contributions to the literature.

Dr. Otto Hänninen
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Indoor and Outdoor Exposure to Ultrafine, Fine and Microbiologically Derived Particulate Matter Related to Cardiovascular and Respiratory Effects in a Panel of Elderly Urban Citizens
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1667-1686; doi:10.3390/ijerph120201667
Received: 29 August 2014 / Revised: 12 November 2014 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (753 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To explore associations of exposure to ambient and indoor air particulate and bio-aerosol pollutants with cardiovascular and respiratory disease markers, we utilized seven repeated measurements from 48 elderly subjects participating in a 4-week home air filtration study. Microvascular function (MVF), lung function, [...] Read more.
To explore associations of exposure to ambient and indoor air particulate and bio-aerosol pollutants with cardiovascular and respiratory disease markers, we utilized seven repeated measurements from 48 elderly subjects participating in a 4-week home air filtration study. Microvascular function (MVF), lung function, blood leukocyte counts, monocyte adhesion molecule expression, C-reactive protein, Clara cell protein (CC16) and surfactant protein-D (SPD) were examined in relation to exposure preceding each measurement. Exposure assessment included 48-h urban background monitoring of PM10, PM2.5 and particle number concentration (PNC), weekly measurements of PM2.5 in living- and bedroom, 24-h measurements of indoor PNC three times, and bio-aerosol components in settled dust on a 2-week basis. Statistically significant inverse associations included: MVF with outdoor PNC; granulocyte counts with PM2.5; CD31 expression with dust fungi; SPD with dust endotoxin. Significant positive associations included: MVF with dust bacteria; monocyte expression of CD11 with PM2.5 in the bedroom and dust bacteria and endotoxin, CD31 expression with dust serine protease; serum CC16 with dust NAGase. Multiple comparisons demand cautious interpretation of results, which suggest that outdoor PNC have adverse effects on MVF, and outdoor and indoor PM2.5 and bio-aerosols are associated with markers of inflammation and lung cell integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
Open AccessArticle Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions and Children’s Health (UPTECH) in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia): Study Design and Implementation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1687-1702; doi:10.3390/ijerph120201687
Received: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ultrafine particles are particles that are less than 0.1 micrometres (µm) in diameter. Due to their very small size they can penetrate deep into the lungs, and potentially cause more damage than larger particles. The Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions and Children’s [...] Read more.
Ultrafine particles are particles that are less than 0.1 micrometres (µm) in diameter. Due to their very small size they can penetrate deep into the lungs, and potentially cause more damage than larger particles. The Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions and Children’s Health (UPTECH) study is the first Australian epidemiological study to assess the health effects of ultrafine particles on children’s health in general and peripheral airways in particular. The study is being conducted in Brisbane, Australia. Continuous indoor and outdoor air pollution monitoring was conducted within each of the twenty five participating school campuses to measure particulate matter, including in the ultrafine size range, and gases. Respiratory health effects were evaluated by conducting the following tests on participating children at each school: spirometry, forced oscillation technique (FOT) and multiple breath nitrogen washout test (MBNW) (to assess airway function), fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO, to assess airway inflammation), blood cotinine levels (to assess exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke), and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (to measure systemic inflammation). A pilot study was conducted prior to commencing the main study to assess the feasibility and reliably of measurement of some of the clinical tests that have been proposed for the main study. Air pollutant exposure measurements were not included in the pilot study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Diesel Engine Exhaust Origin Secondary Organic Aerosols on Novel Object Recognition Ability and Maternal Behavior in BALB/C Mice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(11), 11286-11307; doi:10.3390/ijerph111111286
Received: 21 March 2014 / Revised: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 October 2014 / Published: 30 October 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (944 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epidemiological studies have reported an increased risk of cardiopulmonary and lung cancer mortality associated with increasing exposure to air pollution. Ambient particulate matter consists of primary particles emitted directly from diesel engine vehicles and secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) are formed by oxidative [...] Read more.
Epidemiological studies have reported an increased risk of cardiopulmonary and lung cancer mortality associated with increasing exposure to air pollution. Ambient particulate matter consists of primary particles emitted directly from diesel engine vehicles and secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) are formed by oxidative reaction of the ultrafine particle components of diesel exhaust (DE) in the atmosphere. However, little is known about the relationship between exposure to SOA and central nervous system functions. Recently, we have reported that an acute single intranasal instillation of SOA may induce inflammatory response in lung, but not in brain of adult mice. To clarify the whole body exposure effects of SOA on central nervous system functions, we first created inhalation chambers for diesel exhaust origin secondary organic aerosols (DE-SOAs) produced by oxidation of diesel exhaust particles caused by adding ozone. Male BALB/c mice were exposed to clean air (control), DE and DE-SOA in inhalation chambers for one or three months (5 h/day, 5 days/week) and were examined for memory function using a novel object recognition test and for memory function-related gene expressions in the hippocampus by real-time RT-PCR. Moreover, female mice exposed to DE-SOA for one month were mated and maternal behaviors and the related gene expressions in the hypothalamus examined. Novel object recognition ability and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor expression in the hippocampus were affected in male mice exposed to DE-SOA. Furthermore, a tendency to decrease maternal performance and significantly decreased expression levels of estrogen receptor (ER)-a, and oxytocin receptor were found in DE-SOA exposed dams compared with the control. This is the first study of this type and our results suggest that the constituents of DE-SOA may be associated with memory function and maternal performance based on the impaired gene expressions in the hippocampus and hypothalamus, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
Open AccessArticle Modeling Population Exposure to Ultrafine Particles in a Major Italian Urban Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(10), 10641-10662; doi:10.3390/ijerph111010641
Received: 30 July 2014 / Revised: 24 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 October 2014 / Published: 15 October 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (889 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Average daily ultrafine particles (UFP) exposure of adult Milan subpopulations (defined on the basis of gender, and then for age, employment or educational status), in different exposure scenarios (typical working day in summer and winter) were simulated using a microenvironmental stochastic simulation [...] Read more.
Average daily ultrafine particles (UFP) exposure of adult Milan subpopulations (defined on the basis of gender, and then for age, employment or educational status), in different exposure scenarios (typical working day in summer and winter) were simulated using a microenvironmental stochastic simulation model. The basic concept of this kind of model is that time-weighted average exposure is defined as the sum of partial microenvironmental exposures, which are determined by the product of UFP concentration and time spent in each microenvironment. In this work, environmental concentrations were derived from previous experimental studies that were based on microenvironmental measurements in the city of Milan by means of personal or individual monitoring, while time-activity patterns were derived from the EXPOLIS study. A significant difference was observed between the exposures experienced in winter (W: 28,415 pt/cm3) and summer (S: 19,558 pt/cm3). Furthermore, simulations showed a moderate difference between the total exposures experienced by women (S: 19,363 pt/cm3; W: 27,623 pt/cm3) and men (S: 18,806 pt/cm3; W: 27,897 pt/cm3). In addition, differences were found as a function of (I) age, (II) employment status and (III) educational level; accordingly, the highest total exposures resulted for (I) 55–59 years old people, (II) housewives and students and (III) people with higher educational level (more than 10 years of scholarity). Finally, significant differences were found between microenvironment-specific exposures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
Open AccessArticle Altered Gene Transcription in Human Cells Treated with Ludox® Silica Nanoparticles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8867-8890; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908867
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
PDF Full-text (993 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Silica (SiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) have found extensive applications in industrial manufacturing, biomedical and biotechnological fields. Therefore, the increasing exposure to such ultrafine particles requires studies to characterize their potential cytotoxic effects in order to provide exhaustive information to assess the [...] Read more.
Silica (SiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) have found extensive applications in industrial manufacturing, biomedical and biotechnological fields. Therefore, the increasing exposure to such ultrafine particles requires studies to characterize their potential cytotoxic effects in order to provide exhaustive information to assess the impact of nanomaterials on human health. The understanding of the biological processes involved in the development and maintenance of a variety of pathologies is improved by genome-wide approaches, and in this context, gene set analysis has emerged as a fundamental tool for the interpretation of the results. In this work we show how the use of a combination of gene-by-gene and gene set analyses can enhance the interpretation of results of in vitro treatment of A549 cells with Ludox® colloidal amorphous silica nanoparticles. By gene-by-gene and gene set analyses, we evidenced a specific cell response in relation to NPs size and elapsed time after treatment, with the smaller NPs (SM30) having higher impact on inflammatory and apoptosis processes than the bigger ones. Apoptotic process appeared to be activated by the up-regulation of the initiator genes TNFa and IL1b and by ATM. Moreover, our analyses evidenced that cell treatment with LudoxÒ silica nanoparticles activated the matrix metalloproteinase genes MMP1, MMP10 and MMP9. The information derived from this study can be informative about the cytotoxicity of Ludox® and other similar colloidal amorphous silica NPs prepared by solution processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Range-Finding Risk Assessment of Inhalation Exposure to Nanodiamonds in a Laboratory Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 5382-5402; doi:10.3390/ijerph110505382
Received: 13 March 2014 / Revised: 4 May 2014 / Accepted: 8 May 2014 / Published: 16 May 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1096 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study considers fundamental methods in occupational risk assessment of exposure to airborne engineered nanomaterials. We discuss characterization of particle emissions, exposure assessment, hazard assessment with in vitro studies, and risk range characterization using calculated inhaled doses and dose-response translated to humans [...] Read more.
This study considers fundamental methods in occupational risk assessment of exposure to airborne engineered nanomaterials. We discuss characterization of particle emissions, exposure assessment, hazard assessment with in vitro studies, and risk range characterization using calculated inhaled doses and dose-response translated to humans from in vitro studies. Here, the methods were utilized to assess workers’ risk range of inhalation exposure to nanodiamonds (NDs) during handling and sieving of ND powder. NDs were agglomerated to over 500 nm particles, and mean exposure levels of different work tasks varied from 0.24 to 4.96 µg·m−3 (0.08 to 0.74 cm−3). In vitro-experiments suggested that ND exposure may cause a risk for activation of inflammatory cascade. However, risk range characterization based on in vitro dose-response was not performed because accurate assessment of delivered (settled) dose on the cells was not possible. Comparison of ND exposure with common pollutants revealed that ND exposure was below 5 μg·m−3, which is one of the proposed exposure limits for diesel particulate matter, and the workers’ calculated dose of NDs during the measurement day was 74 ng which corresponded to 0.02% of the modeled daily (24 h) dose of submicrometer urban air particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Metrics, Dose, and Dose Concept: The Need for a Proper Dose Concept in the Risk Assessment of Nanoparticles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(4), 4026-4048; doi:10.3390/ijerph110404026
Received: 18 February 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (919 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to calculate the dose for nanoparticles (NP), (i) relevant information about the dose metrics and (ii) a proper dose concept are crucial. Since the appropriate metrics for NP toxicity are yet to be elaborated, a general dose calculation model for [...] Read more.
In order to calculate the dose for nanoparticles (NP), (i) relevant information about the dose metrics and (ii) a proper dose concept are crucial. Since the appropriate metrics for NP toxicity are yet to be elaborated, a general dose calculation model for nanomaterials is not available. Here we propose how to develop a dose assessment model for NP in analogy to the radiation protection dose calculation, introducing the so-called “deposited and the equivalent dose”. As a dose metric we propose the total deposited NP surface area (SA), which has been shown frequently to determine toxicological responses e.g. of lung tissue. The deposited NP dose is proportional to the total surface area of deposited NP per tissue mass, and takes into account primary and agglomerated NP. By using several weighting factors the equivalent dose additionally takes into account various physico-chemical properties of the NP which are influencing the biological responses. These weighting factors consider the specific surface area, the surface textures, the zeta-potential as a measure for surface charge, the particle morphology such as the shape and the length-to-diameter ratio (aspect ratio), the band gap energy levels of metal and metal oxide NP, and the particle dissolution rate. Furthermore, we discuss how these weighting factors influence the equivalent dose of the deposited NP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview When Neurons Encounter Nanoobjects: Spotlight on Calcium Signalling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9621-9637; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909621
Received: 16 May 2014 / Revised: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (582 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanosized objects are increasingly present in everyday life and in specialized technological applications. In recent years, as a consequence of concern about their potential adverse effects, intense research effort has led to a better understanding of the physicochemical properties that underlie their [...] Read more.
Nanosized objects are increasingly present in everyday life and in specialized technological applications. In recent years, as a consequence of concern about their potential adverse effects, intense research effort has led to a better understanding of the physicochemical properties that underlie their biocompatibility or potential toxicity, setting the basis for a rational approach to their use in the different fields of application. Among the functional parameters that can be perturbed by interaction between nanoparticles (NPs) and living structures, calcium homeostasis is one of the key players and has been actively investigated. One of the most relevant biological targets is represented by the nervous system (NS), since it has been shown that these objects can access the NS through several pathways; moreover, engineered nanoparticles are increasingly developed to be used for imaging and drug delivery in the NS. In neurons, calcium homeostasis is tightly regulated through a complex set of mechanisms controlling both calcium increases and recovery to the basal levels, and even minor perturbations can have severe consequences on neuronal viability and function, such as excitability and synaptic transmission. In this review, we will focus on the available knowledge about the effects of NPs on the mechanisms controlling calcium signalling and homeostasis in neurons. We have taken into account the data related to environmental NPs, and, in more detail, studies employing engineered NPs, since their more strictly controlled chemical and physical properties allow a better understanding of the relevant parameters that determine the biological responses they elicit. The literature on this specific subject is all quite recent, and we have based the review on the data present in papers dealing strictly with nanoparticles and calcium signals in neuronal cells; while they presently amount to about 20 papers, and no related review is available, the field is rapidly growing and some relevant information is already available. A few general findings can be summarized: most NPs interfere with neuronal calcium homeostasis by interactions at the plasmamembrane, and not following their internalization; influx from the extracellular medium is the main mechanism involved; the effects are dependent in a complex way from concentration, size and surface properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Environmental exposure to ultrafine particles inside and nearby a military airport.
Authors: Campagna M1, Frattolillo A2, Pili S1, Marcias G1, Angius N1, Mastino CC2, Cocco P1, Buonanno G3
Affiliations: 1 Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari
2 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture, University of Cagliari
3 Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio
Abstract: Airport activities can contribute to the emission of ultrafine particles (UFP) in the environment. Aim of our study is to assess the airborne levels of UFP in a military airport and in the surrounding area and to compare such levels to those generated by other anthropic sources. Four outdoor air samplings were carried out inside a military airport during flight activities, twelve nearby the military airport, five in an urban area, and one in a rural area. We used a portable Electrical Low Pressure Impactor to detect the UFP concentration, mass and surface area. Particles were chemically analyzed by field emission scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy. Inside the military airport, we observed an inverse correlation with distance from flight activities. The median UFP count ranged 3,743-28,949 particles/cm3, and the highest UFP count was 4,014,052 particles/cm3 (during the taxi and take-off activities). Nearby the airport, UFP number, mass and surface area were more elevated in the winter season and we did not observe a correlation with flight activities. Our results show a constant presence of UFP regardless of the flight activities nearby the airport. Other anthropic sources may generate UFP concentrations significantly higher than those generated by airport activities.
Key words: airborne particles, UFPs, airports, ELPI+, environmental pollution.

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