In vitro exposure of nasal epithelial cells to atmospheric dust

David Elad, Uri Zaretsky, Sharon Avraham, Ruthie Gotlieb, Michael Wolf, Itzhak Katra, Shlomo Sarig, Eli Zaady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Dust storms are common phenomena in many parts of the world, and significantly increase the level of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). The soil-derived dust is a mixture of organic and inorganic particles and even remnants of pesticides from agricultural areas nearby. The risk of human exposure to atmospheric dust is well documented, but very little is known on the impact of inhaled PM on the biological lining of the nasal cavity, which is the natural filter between the external environment and the respiratory tract. We developed a new system and methodology for in vitro exposure of cultured nasal epithelial cells (NEC) to atmospheric soil-dust pollutants under realistic and controlled laboratory simulations that mimic nasal breathing. We exposed cultured NEC to clean and dust-polluted airflows that mimic physiological conditions. The results revealed that the secretion of mucin and IL-8 from the NEC exposed to clean and dust-polluted airflows was less than the secretion at static conditions under clean air. The secretion of IL-8 from NEC exposed to dust-polluted air was larger than that of clean air, but not larger than in the static case. The experiments with dust air pollution that also contained agricultural pesticides did not reveal differences in the secretion of mucin and IL-8 as compared to the same pollution without pesticides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-901
Number of pages11
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Air-liquid interface (ALI) culture
  • Cell mechanics
  • Dust
  • Environmental climate
  • Nasal epithelium
  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Respiratory airflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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