The association between exposure to particulate matter (PM) air pollutants and respiratory viral infection is well recognized. We developed an in vitro mimic of the in vivo event of exposure to PM contaminated with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Concentration of an RSV stock without affecting its infectivity and a particle levitation apparatus were the foundations of the methodology developed to generate designer particles prior to their dry deposition directly onto human lung epithelial cultures. Ex vivo PM Mimics comprised of RSV and carbon (PC+RSV) remain capable of infection months longer than ex vivo PM Mimics comprised of RSV (ARSV). Cells dosed with ARSV, PC+RSV, or PMMimics comprised of carbon exhibited differential secretion patterns of IL-6 and IL-8. In conclusion, our system provides an approach to study the airway epithelial-environmental interaction and the PM-viral interaction in the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases involving inhalation of environmental agents.
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