The Impacts of Dust Storm Particles on Human Lung Cells: An Analysis at the Single Cell Level
Seminario del Grupo Interacción Miro y meso escala
Dr. Karin Ardon-Dryer
Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Aerosol particles (Natural and anthropogenic) are a key component of our atmosphere, their presence defines air quality levels and they can affect our health. Small particles penetrate into our lungs and this exposure can cause our lung cells to stress and in some cases leads to the death of the cells and to inflammation. During dust storm events there is an increase in particle concentration, many of them are breathable particles that can penetrate deep into our lungs. Exposure to dust particles can lead to respiratory problems, particularly for people with asthma. Therefore, during and after a dust storm event the number of people who are hospitalized with inflammation and respiratory problems increase. However, the exact mechanism that causes these health problems is still unclear. In this project, we are investigating the impacts that dust storm particles from different sources and of different concentrations (doses) have on human lung cells, performing a new and unique analysis at the single cell level. To accomplish this, each individual lung cell is continuously tracked after being exposed to dust particles. We monitor the behavior of the cell over time, identify the cells time of death and type of death (e.g. cell explosion). With this analysis, we can quantify cell death as a function of dust concentration (doses); to our surprise, an increase in cells death was not observed only as a function of an increase of dust concertation. In addition, we noticed that the way particles come in contact with cells, by sticking to or being engulfed by, and the interaction duration has an effect; cells that interact with dust particles for a longer period died earlier compared to cells with a shorter interaction period. These findings will help us to better understand the health-related consequences of exposure to dust storm events and serve as a baseline for when evaluating other aerosol.