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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 801214, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of Nanoparticles and Environmental Particles on a Cocultures Model of the Air-Blood Barrier

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Research Centre Polaris, University of Milano Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 1, 20126 Milano, Italy

Received 14 August 2012; Revised 14 November 2012; Accepted 15 November 2012

Academic Editor: Kazim Husain

Copyright © 2013 Rossella Bengalli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Exposure to engineered nanoparticles (NPs) and to ambient particles (PM) has increased significantly. During the last decades the application of nano-objects to daily-life goods and the emissions produced in highly urbanized cities have considerably augmented. As a consequence, the understanding of the possible effects of NPs and PM on human respiratory system and particularly on the air-blood barrier (ABB) has become of primary interest. The crosstalk between lung epithelial cells and underlying endothelial cells is indeed essential in determining the effects of inhaled particles. Here we report the effects of metal oxides NPs (CuO and TiO2) and of PM on an in vitro model of the ABB constituted by the type II epithelial cell line (NCI-H441) and the endothelial one (HPMEC-ST1.6R). The results demonstrate that apical exposure of alveolar cells induces significant modulation of proinflammatory proteins also in endothelial cells.