Effects of carbonaceous nanoparticles from low-emission and older diesel engines on human skin cells

Silvana Fiorito, Arianna Mastrofrancesco, Giorgia Cardinali, Edoardo Rosato, Felice Salsano, Dang Sheng Su, Annalucia Serafino, Mauro Picardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are major constituents of ambient air pollution and are associated with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well skin cell alterations in vitro. The epidermal cells are among the first cell populations exposed to chemical pollutants, including DEP, and are an important source of pro-inflammatory mediators. We evaluated the effects of carbonaceous soot particles from current low-emission (Euro IV) diesel engines on the oxidative and inflammatory response of normal human skin cells and compared the results with those induced by carbonaceous soot particles from an older diesel engine (BS) operating under black smoke conditions. We observed that both soot nanoparticles were spontaneously internalised by keratinocytes and distributed mostly around the cell nucleus. Moreover, at the same mass concentration, Euro IV soot particles exhibited a much higher oxidative, pro-fibrotic and toxic potential on these cell types than soot particles from the older diesel engine. These results are in agreement with and confirm our previous findings on human macrophage cells and strengthen the assumption that, at the same massconcentration, soot particles produced under low emission conditions are more cytotoxic than particles from the older diesel engine. This effect could be assigned to the defective surface structure of Euro IV diesel soot, rendering it highly active. Our findings highlight that the reduction of soot emission in terms of mass does not automatically lead to a reduction of the dangerous effects and show that soot particles from different diesel engines possess different biological behaviour towards human cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5038-5048
Number of pages11
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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