Nasal microbiota modifies the effects of particulate air pollution on plasma extracellular vesicles

Jacopo Mariani, Chiara Favero, Michele Carugno, Laura Pergoli, Luca Ferrari, Matteo Bonzini, Andrea Cattaneo, Angela Cecilia Pesatori, Valentina Bollati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Air pollution exposure has been linked to modifications of both extracellular vesicle (EV) concentration and nasal microbiota structure (NMB), which might act as the respiratory health gatekeeper. This study aimed to assess whether an unbalanced NMB could modify the effect of particulate matter (PM) exposure on plasmatic EV levels. Due to two different NMB taxonomical profiles characterized by a widely different relative abundance of the Moraxella genus, the enrolled population was stratified into Mor‐ (balanced NMB) and Mor+ (unbalanced NMB) groups (Moraxella genus’s cut‐off ≤25% and >25%, respectively). EV features were assessed by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) and flow‐cytometry (FC). Multivariable analyses were applied on EV outcomes to evaluate a possible association between PM10 and PM2.5 and plasmatic EV levels. The Mor‐ group revealed positive associations between PM levels and plasmatic CD105+ EVs (GMR = 4.39 p = 0.02) as for total EV count (GMR = 1.92 p = 0.02). Conversely, the Mor+ group showed a negative association between exposure and EV outcomes (CD66+ GMR = 0.004 p = 0.01; EpCAM+ GMR = 0.005 p = 0.01). Our findings provide an insight regarding how a balanced NMB may help to counteract PM exposure effects in terms of plasmatic EV concentration. Further research is necessary to understand the relationship between the host and the NMB to disentangle the mechanism exerted by inhaled pollutants in modulating EVs and NMB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number611
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2020


  • 16S
  • Bacteria
  • Dysbiosis
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Flow‐cytometry
  • Microbiome
  • Moraxella
  • Nanoparticle tracking analysis
  • Nasal microbiota
  • Particulate matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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