Main content area

The effect of desert dust particles on rheological properties of saliva and mucus

Penconek, Agata, Michalczuk, Urszula, Sienkiewicz, Agnieszka, Moskal, Arkadiusz
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.12 pp. 12150-12157
air, asthma, deglutition, dust, epithelium, fluorescence, heart failure, inflammation, models, mucus, respiratory system, rheology, rheometers, rhodamines, saliva, soil, temperature, viscosity, wind, Arizona
Transported desert dust particles (TDDP) are soil particles suspended in the air. Being spread all over the globe by the winds, TDDP affect animals, including humans, plants and other organisms not only in the areas of their emission. In humans, TDDP are responsible for diseases of the respiratory (e.g. asthma) and circulatory (e.g. heart failure) systems and they also act directly on the epithelium and its mucus layer after deposition in the mouth and respiratory system. The aim of the study was to determine the influence of TDDP on the rheology of mucus and saliva, and thus on their functioning. The artificial mucus and saliva, as well as Arizona TDDP, were used in experiments. The rheological properties of TDDP were determined with the use of an oscillatory rheometer, at various temperatures and in the presence of different amount of TDDP. Moreover, the diffusion time of the marker (rhodamine B) throughout mucus with desert dust particles was examined. The obtained results demonstrate that the presence of TDDP in the saliva and mucus model increases their apparent viscosity. The concentration of particles is positively correlated with the increase of viscosity. However, it has not been demonstrated that the presence of TDDP in mucus significantly influenced the diffusion of a fluorescent marker throughout the mucus. The presence of TDDP in the saliva and mucus may interfere with their moisturising function, and cause difficulties in swallowing by increasing the viscosity of mucus and saliva. Moreover, increased viscosity of mucus may cause problems with its ability to pass to the upper respiratory tracts, which may lead to a general discomfort or local inflammation.