Indications of potential toxic/mutagenic effects of world trade center dust on human lung cell cultures

Constantino G. Lambroussis, Barbara D. Soares, Sergio Perez, David Gaipa, Anise L. Elie, Caitlin M. Ament, Fahad T. Rouf, Lotfi M. Bassa, Ann Marie Dilorenzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Problem statement: Respiratory complications have been linked with exposure to dust particulates after the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 at the World Trade Center (WTC) site. Approach: The purpose of these experiments was to investigate the extent of cellular damage resulting from WTC dust exposure. Results: This research project was conducted with human lung fibroblast cells exposed to WTC dust. To determine if cell proliferation levels were affected, cultured cells were exposed to WTC dust at various concentrations in simulated physiological stress environments via decreased serum levels. Results indicated that cell proliferation levels decreased as WTC dust concentrations increased. This pattern persisted regardless of serum level. The serum concentrations used were 10% Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS), which represented a non-stressed system, with 2.5 and 1% FBS concentrations used to simulate stressed environments. Assessment for apoptosis, programmed cell death, resulted in higher than baseline levels in cells exposed to WTC dust in both MRC-5 and WI-38 human lung fibroblasts. Conclusion/Recommendations: In summary, results showed that exposure to WTC dust led to decreased cell proliferation and increased apoptosis levels. These findings evidence need for future research regarding mutagenic properties of World Trade Center dust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-85
Number of pages5
JournalOnLine Journal of Biological Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Airborne particulates
  • Apoptose
  • Human lung fibroblast cells
  • Mutagen
  • Particles
  • Proliferate
  • Toxin
  • WTC


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