Diesel exhaust is a significant, global health problem, but how human health is affected by diesel exhaust is poorly understood. Dr. Carlsten and his team were interested in examining how exposures to diesel exhaust, an allergen, or both would affect the health of the lungs.
Specifically, they studied the proteins produced by the lungs of human volunteers using a mass spectrometer, an instrument that can accurately identify specific proteins.
The research team found that there were 79 proteins that changed by more than 4-fold when the volunteers were exposed to diesel exhaust and an allergen, compared to allergen exposure alone. Further proteomic analyses of these 79 proteins suggest that diesel exhaust and allergen co-exposure increased the inflammatory and oxidative stress responses in the lungs.
This study elucidates new biological mechanisms in the lungs that result from the presence of two common air pollutants that are relevant worldwide.