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Research

Nutritional Supplementation with the Antioxidant, Glutathione, to Reduce the Health Effects of Petro- and Biodiesel Exhaust Particle Emissions

Principal Investigator: Fukagawa, Naomi K.; Holmen, Britt
Funding Agency: USDOT

Project Summary

Particulate matter (PM) from diesel engines is associated with adverse health effects but the mechanisms are unknown. Because oxidative stress and inflammation link PM in air pollution and disease risk, this work will determine whether providing a novel nutritional form of glutathione (GSH), the most abundant antioxidant in living cells, reduces inflammation associated with exposure to diesel and biodiesel PM. Despite the belief that biofuels may be better for the environment and health, there is very limited information about the effects of biodiesel emissions, including risk for developing asthma. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the source of the biodiesel (e.g. soy, canola, algae, or waste grease) for fuel mixtures influences the nature and magnitude of the biological effects. GSH plays an important role in lung defense and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in animals exposed to diesel engine exhaust. However, administration of exogenous GSH is challenging because it is not readily taken up by cells and can be broken down into its constituent amino acids which may not readily reform GSH. Strategies to boost cellular GSH have included different forms of GSH or its precursor amino acids but tolerance is limited for these alternatives. In this project, in vivo experiments will be used to test the hypothesis that a novel liposomal form of GSH ingested as a dietary supplement can change the magnitude of the effects associated with exposure to PM from petrodiesel and biodiesel combustion.