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Environmental science & technology

Exposure to Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil Burnoff Particulate Matter Induces Pulmonary Inflammation and Alters Adaptive Immune Response.


PMID 26115348

Abstract

The ″in situ burning" of trapped crude oil on the surface of Gulf waters during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill released numerous pollutants, including combustion-generated particulate matter (PM). Limited information is available on the respiratory impact of inhaled in situ burned oil sail particulate matter (OSPM). Here we utilized PM collected from in situ burn plumes of the DWH oil spill to study the acute effects of exposure to OSPM on pulmonary health. OSPM caused dose-and time-dependent cytotoxicity and generated reactive oxygen species and superoxide radicals in vitro. Additionally, mice exposed to OSPM exhibited significant decreases in body weight gain, systemic oxidative stress in the form of increased serum 8-isoprostane (8-IP) levels, and airway inflammation in the form of increased macrophages and eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Further, in a mouse model of allergic asthma, OSPM caused increased T helper 2 cells (Th2), peribronchiolar inflammation, and increased airway mucus production. These findings demonstrate that acute exposure to OSPM results in pulmonary inflammation and alteration of innate/adaptive immune responses in mice and highlight potential respiratory effects associated with cleaning up an oil spill.