Particle Characteristics Responsible for Effects on Human Lung Epithelial Cells

Dr. Aust and her colleagues at Utah State University and Ford Motor company hypothesized that transition metals (metals that can participate in possibly toxic oxidative reactions) associated with particulate matter are released within lung epithelial cells and catalyze the formation of reactive oxygen species. The investigators focused their study on coal fly ash that was produced in the laboratory and separated into four size fractions. This multifaceted study focused mainly on the ability of iron (the major transition metal in coal fly ash) to produce reactive oxygen species and inflammatory mediators in cultured lung epithelial cells.