Carbon black (CB) is a type of nanoparticle that is found in air pollution and is a known environmental toxin. The purpose of this work is to evaluate whether CB exposure activates cell death via apoptosis in cultured cell lines, supporting future work focused upon assessing the signaling pathways that might be induced by this exposure. Using adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial (A549) and baby hamster kidney (BHK-21) cells, we hypothesized that carbon black exposure causes cell death and potentially stress signaling via the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The cells were exposed to CB and data collected for varied doses and time points. In order to measure cell apoptosis, the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) method was used to detect apoptosis-associated DNA fragmentation. A 5 day exposure of CB at 100 ug/ml generated a significant reduction in cell survival and elevated numbers of TUNEL positive cells. Future work will focus upon assessing the stress pathways induced in these cells.
Calixto, Abigail and Brewster, Jay, "The Effects of Carbon Black on Cell Viability" (2014). Pepperdine University, Featured Research. Paper 138.