Exposure to ultrafine particles from traffic can change the way genes are expressed in cells in the nose, a recent study finds. The study, led by the University of Eastern Finland, is the first to examine how different types of diesel fuel and exhaust systems affect human olfactory mucosa cells. The results were published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

The olfactory mucosa is a tissue in the nose that is directly exposed to the environment and is in direct contact with the brain. The study looked at how exposure to emissions from traffic affects the genes in these cells and how different types of diesel fuel and exhaust systems can cause different effects.

The study found that exposure to emissions altered the function of human olfactory mucosa cells, and different fuels and engines caused different harmful effects. The study also revealed disturbance in many systems that regulate cell function. Additionally, emissions from renewable diesel with cleaner engine technology caused fewer harmful effects compared to emissions from regular fossil diesel.

The study sheds light on the harmful effects of ultrafine particles on human cells in the nose and provides a basis for possible measures to reduce and prevent toxicological hazards. It is part of the TUBE project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, and has also received funding from several foundations.

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