Nathanial Chase Stevens

UC Davis

“Location matters: Mass spectrometry imaging distinguishes spatial lipidomic responses following ozone exposure in the lung”

Asthma is worsened by exposure to air pollutants formed from fossil fuel combustion. My work uses advanced imaging techniques and metabolomics to improve our understanding of the adverse health effects posed by these environmental contaminants.


Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that is exacerbated by exposure to air pollutants, including ozone. This study used mass spectrometry imaging to characterize metabolomic changes at the cellular level following acute ozone exposure in allergen-sensitized mice. This is the first study to our knowledge that has examined spatial differences in metabolite profiles using a model of environmental exposure. Combined allergen and ozone exposure modified inherent spatial differences among lung regions, potentially identifying metabolites that participate in cellular signaling events related to ozone-induced exacerbation in asthma. Overall, our study highlights the potential of mass spectrometry imaging to achieve metabolomic characterization of individual cell types within the lung and provides the basis for future studies to better understand the adverse health effects of environmental pollutants.

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