In vitro immunotoxic and genotoxic activities of particles emitted from two different small-scale wood combustion appliances

Maija Tapanainen (Corresponding Author), Pasi I. Jalava, Jorma Mäki-Paakkanen, Pasi Hakulinen, Mikko S. Happo, Heikki Lamberg, Jarno Ruusunen, Jarkko Tissari, Kati Nuutinen, Pasi Yli-Pirilä, Risto Hillamo, Raimo O. Salonen, Jorma Jokiniemi, Maija-Riitta Hirvonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Residential wood combustion appliances emit large quantities of fine particles which are suspected to cause a substantial health burden worldwide. Wood combustion particles contain several potential health-damaging metals and carbon compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which may determine the toxic properties of the emitted particles. The aim of the present study was to characterize in vitro immunotoxicological and chemical properties of PM1 (Dp ≤ 1 μm) emitted from a pellet boiler and a conventional masonry heater. Mouse RAW264.7 macrophages were exposed for 24 h to different doses of the emission particles. Cytotoxicity, production of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α and the chemokine MIP-2, apoptosis and phases of the cell cycle as well as genotoxic activity were measured after the exposure. The type of wood combustion appliance had a significant effect on emissions and chemical composition of the particles. All the studied PM1 samples induced cytotoxic, genotoxic and inflammatory responses in a dose-dependent manner. The particles emitted from the conventional masonry heater were 3-fold more potent inducers of programmed cell death and DNA damage than those emitted from the pellet boiler. Furthermore, the particulate samples that induced extensive DNA damage contained also large amounts of PAH compounds. Instead, significant differences between the studied appliances were not detected in measurements of inflammatory mediators, although the chemical composition of the combustion particles differed considerably from each other. In conclusion, the present results show that appliances representing different combustion technology have remarkable effects on physicochemical and associated toxicological and properties of wood combustion particles. The present data indicate that the particles emitted from incomplete combustion are toxicologically more potent than those emitted from more complete combustion processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7546-7554
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed
Event3rd American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) International Specialty Conference: “Air Pollution and Health: Bridging the Gap from Sources to Health Outcomes” - San Diego, United States
Duration: 22 Mar 201026 Mar 2010


  • Small-scale wood combustion
  • Particulate matter
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Genotoxicity
  • Inflammation
  • Chemical composition


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