Micronuclei induced by airborne particulate matter from Mexico City

Deborah A. Roubicek, M. Eugenia Gutiérrez-Castillo, Monserrat Sordo, Mariano E. Cebrián-García, Patricia Ostrosky-Wegman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Particulate air pollution is an important environmental health risk. In the present study, we have investigated the ability of chemically characterized water and organic-soluble extracts of PM10 from two different regions of Mexico City to induce micronuclei in a human epithelial cell line. We also evaluated the association between the chemical characteristics of the PM and its genotoxicity. The airborne particulate samples were collected from an industrial and a residential region; a Hi-Vol air sampler was used to collect PM10 on glass fiber filters. PM mass was determined by gravimetric analysis of the filters. One section of each PM10 filter was agitated either with deionized water to extract water-soluble compounds or with dichloromethane to prepare organic-soluble compounds. The chemical composition of the extracts was determined by ion and gas chromatography and atomic adsorption spectroscopy. A549-human alveolar epithelial cells were exposed to different concentrations of PM10 extracts and the cytokinesis blocked micronucleus assay was performed to measure DNA damage. Even though the industrial region had a higher PM concentration, higher amounts of metals and PAHs were found in the residential area. Both industrial and residential extracts induced a significant concentration-related increase in the micronuclei frequency. The PM10 water-soluble industrial extract induced significantly more micronuclei than the one of the residential region; inversely, the organic residential extract induced more micronuclei than the one from the industrial region. The association between the induction of micronuclei and the chemical components obtained by the comparative analysis of standardized regression coefficients showed that cadmium and PAHs were significantly associated with micronuclei induction. Data indicate that water-soluble metals and the organic-soluble fraction of PM10 are both important in the production of micronuclei. Effects observed, point to the risk of PM exposure and shows the need of integrative studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2007



  • Air pollution
  • Metals
  • Micronuclei
  • PAHs
  • PM

Cite this