Proteomic investigation of the impact of combustion aerosols and gases on lung epithelial cells

Tamara Kanashova

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


In recent years, air pollution has been consistently linked to negative health impact in exposed populations. The present work was carried out in the framework of the Helmholtz Virtual Institute of Complex Molecular System in Environmental Health (HICE). In HICE the biological impact of lung cells, induced by the uptake of combustion aerosols, is investigated and linked to the chemical and physical properties of the combustion aerosols to identify potentially harmful fractions. Within this thesis the proteomic changes in response to shipping emissions were investigated. The combination with transcriptomic and metabolomics results enabled a deep overview of the lung cell responses. For simultaneous analysis a robust method for the fast and efficient sample preparation for proteomics and metabolomics from one sample was developed.
The multi-omics analysis results showed that despite a lower content of known toxic compounds, combustion particles from the diesel fuel (DF) influenced several essential pathways of lung cell metabolism more strongly than particles from the unrefined fuel (heavy fuel oil - HFO). This might be attributable to higher soot content in DF. Therefore, the role of diesel soot, which is a known carcinogen and induces acute health effects, was further investigated. Therefore adsorbates and core composition of HFO combustion particles were analyzed with focus on the early cellular responses, allowing for the development of measures that counteract their detrimental effects.
This study reveals biological impact of substances not previously considered in the literature as meaningful markers for aerosol sources and provides valuable input for the establishment of an effect and cause relationship between aerosols and the adverse effects induced in human health.
Original languageEnglish
  • Dittmar, Gunnar, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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