TOPIC IV "Aerosol Mutagenesis"

The research group Aerosol Mutagenesis aims to detect, characterize and depict the mechanism of action of physical, chemical, and biological aerosol components in inducing genetic and epigenetic changes in vitro related to environmental and occupational inhalation exposures.

New requirements in the (epi) genotoxicity testing of different aerosol phases are therefore taken into account both with regard to the adaptation of cytogenetic assays to ALI exposures (Air-Liquid Interface) and with regard to cell-based model improvements for assessing health-related risks.

The overarching aim is to Replace, Reduce and Refine (3R) animal testing with improved airborne (nano) particle and fiber exposure systems, which retain the contribution of the aerosol gas phase to the induction of mutagenic effects. This challenging approach allows us to consider the role of atmospheric oxidation of aerosol´s volatile organic compounds in differentiating secondary organic aerosol cytogenetic effects with respect to primary emissions. Additionally, advanced co-culture systems, which allow a variety of cell types to be cultured together in the ALI, will enhance the understanding of secondary (epi) genotoxic mechanisms of action and thus implying genetic damage caused by oxidative burst during an aerosol-elicited inflammation. 

Overall, these insights contribute to an increased knowledge about the complexity of environmental factors effects on human health.