Chemical multi-fingerprinting of exogenous ultrafine particles in human serum and pleural effusion


Ambient particulate matter pollution is one of the leading causes of global disease burden. Epidemiological studies have revealed the connections between particulate exposure and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. However, until now, the real species of ambient ultrafine particles (UFPs) in humans are still scarcely known. Here we report the discovery and characterization of exogenous nanoparticles (NPs) in human serum and pleural effusion (PE) samples collected from non-occupational subjects in a typical polluted region. We show the wide presence of NPs in human serum and PE samples with extreme diversity in chemical species, concentration, and morphology. Through chemical multi-fingerprinting (including elemental fingerprints, high-resolution structural fingerprints, and stable iron isotopic fingerprints) of NPs, we identify the sources of the NPs to be abiogenic, particularly, combustion-derived particulate emission. Our results provide evidence for the translocation of ambient UFPs into the human circulatory system, and also provide information for understanding their systemic health effects.

Authors: Dawei Lu, Qian Luo, Rui Chen, Yongxun Zhuansun, Jie Jiang, Weichao Wang, Xuezhi Yang, Luyao Zhang, Xiaolei Liu, Fang Li, Qian Liu, Guibin Jiang
; Full Source: Nature Communications. 2020 May 22;11(1):2567.  doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16427-x.