A compact and portable deposition chamber to study nanoparticles in air-exposed tissue

Mertes, Peter; Praplan, Arnaud P.; Künzi, Lisa; Dommen, Josef; Baltensperger, Urs; Geiser, Marianne; Weingartner, Ernest; Ricka, Jaroslav; Fierz, Martin; Kalberer, Markus (2013). A compact and portable deposition chamber to study nanoparticles in air-exposed tissue. Journal of aerosol medicine and pulmonary drug delivery, 26(4), pp. 228-235. Mary Ann Liebert 10.1089/jamp.2012.0985

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Epidemiological studies show that elevated levels of particulate matter in ambient air are highly correlated with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Atmospheric particles originate from a large number of sources and have a highly complex and variable composition. An assessment of their potential health risks and the identification of the most toxic particle sources would require a large number of investigations. Due to ethical and economic reasons, it is desirable to reduce the number of in vivo studies and to develop suitable in vitro systems for the investigation of cell-particle interactions.


We present the design of a new particle deposition chamber in which aerosol particles are deposited onto cell cultures out of a continuous air flow. The chamber allows for a simultaneous exposure of 12 cell cultures.


Physiological conditions within the deposition chamber can be sustained constantly at 36-37°C and 90-95% relative humidity. Particle deposition within the chamber and especially on the cell cultures was determined in detail, showing that during a deposition time of 2 hr 8.4% (24% relative standard deviation) of particles with a mean diameter of 50 nm [mass median diameter of 100 nm (geometric standard deviation 1.7)] are deposited on the cell cultures, which is equal to 24-34% of all charged particles. The average well-to-well variability of particles deposited simultaneously in the 12 cell cultures during an experiment is 15.6% (24.7% relative standard deviation).


This particle deposition chamber is a new in vitro system to investigate realistic cell-particle interactions at physiological conditions, minimizing stress on the cell cultures other than from deposited particles. A detailed knowledge of particle deposition characteristics on the cell cultures allows evaluating reliable dose-response relationships. The compact and portable design of the deposition chamber allows for measurements at any particle sources of interest.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Applied Physics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy > Cell Biology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Künzi, Lisa; Geiser, Marianne and Ricka, Jaroslav


600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Mary Ann Liebert




Marianne Geiser Kamber

Date Deposited:

02 May 2014 08:44

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

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