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Particulate matter (PM) is emitted during thermal decomposition of waste. During this process, aromatic compounds chemisorb to the surface of metal-oxide-containing PM, forming a surface-stabilized environmentally persistent free radical (EPFR). We hypothesized that EPFR-containing PM redox cycle to produce ROS and that this redox cycle is maintained in biological environments. To test our hypothesis, we incubated model EPFRs with the fluorescent probe dihydrorhodamine (DHR). Marked increases in DHR fluorescence were observed. Using a more specific assay, hydroxyl radicals ( •OH) were also detected, and their level was further increased by cotreatment with thiols or ascorbic acid (AA), known components of epithelial lining fluid. Next, we incubated our model EPFR in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) or serum. Detection of EPFRs and •OH verified that PM generate ROS in biological fluids. Moreover, incubation of pulmonary epithelial cells with EPFR-containing PM increased •OH levels compared to those in PM lacking EPFRs. Finally, measurements of oxidant injury in neonatal rats exposed to EPFRs by inhalation suggested that EPFRs induce an oxidant injury within the lung lining fluid and that the lung responds by increasing antioxidant levels. In summary, our EPFR-containing PM redox cycle to produce ROS, and these ROS are maintained in biological fluids and environments. Moreover, these ROS may modulate toxic responses of PM in biological tissues such as the lung. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

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Chemical Research in Toxicology

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