Félix E. Rivera-Mariani

The airborne environment poses numerous human health risks, including potential exposure to particulate matter and to fungal bioaerosols with pro-inflammatory capabilities. The utility of animal models in the study of the human health effects of these exposures is often limited. This is due to the necessity for a high-throughput of samples and the high financial costs involved, as well as various associated animal welfare issues. In addition, animal models might not appropriately predict the responses of humans to pro-inflammatory stimuli. Here are discussed the recent applications of a human-based assay, the cryopreserved human whole blood system, to study the human health effects of exposures to particulate matter and to the less-studied fungal spores of higher fungi (phylum Basidiomycota or ‘true mushrooms’).
Evidence is provided to support the utility of the human-based assay in the fields of environmental health and medical mycology, for the evaluation of common paradigms in environmental health studies, and to highlight the potential human health effects of spores of basidiomycete fungi.
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