Chemistry and Toxicology of Atmospheric Emissions Team (CTEA)

Research activity

Our research focuses on assessing exposure levels to gaseous and particulate air pollutants in suspension in the air (PM10, PM2.5, ultrafine) and studying their toxic effects in humans, particularly in the respiratory system.

The development of this theme is based on strategies for sampling particles suspended in outdoor air, their physicochemical characterisation and the evaluation of their toxicity using experimental models (in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo) or carried out in humans. The aim is to examine the underlying physiopathological mechanisms frequently suspected of being involved in the development of respiratory pathologies, and to propose biomarkers of exposure or the effect of atmospheric pollution.

Our approach is based on two main orientations:

Physicochemistry of suspended particles (PM10, PM2.5, ultrafine) and identification of sources

Particulate sampling is carried out in urban or rural areas, subject to various natural or anthropogenic influences such as road traffic, industrial activities or marine emissions. The aim of examining the chemical characteristics of particles (ionic species, major elements and metallic traces, organic compounds) is to identify and/or propose source tracers to enable the origin of particles to be determined. Source-receptor models are used to identify sources and assess their contributions to PM concentration in the atmosphere.

Mechanisms of toxic action of air pollutants

Based on experimental toxicology, we are helping to improve knowledge of changes in cellular homeostasis induced by exposure to environmental pollutants by characterizing oxidant stress parameters, inflammatory response, metabolic activation, genotoxicity and epigenetic alterations. The evaluation of these toxic effects is carried out in-vitro on pulmonary and blood cell line models (A 459, BEAS-2B, THP-1) in mono and/or co-culture but also on primary cells (alveolar macrophages, lymphocytes, blood monocytes) in order to better integrate the cellular diversity of the respiratory tract. The study of these mechanisms of toxic action, using molecular, cellular and metabolomic biology methods, makes it possible to propose new biological markers of exposure or effect potentially involved in the effects of environmental pollutants on human health.

Team members

COURCOT DominiquePr
LEDOUX FrédéricPr

Scientific collaborations

 Nationals :

  •  Unité Aliment Bioprocédés Toxicologie Environnements, ABTE, EA 4651, Equipe « Toxicologie de l’Environnement : milieux aériens et cancers, ToxEMAC », Université de Caen Basse Normandie, Université de Rouen
  • Groupement des Hôpitaux de l’Institut Catholique de Lille, GHICL, Service de Pneumologie, Service de Médecine et Gériatrie
  • Laboratoire Impact de l’Environnement Chimique sur la Santé Humaine, Impecs, EA 4483, Université de Lille
  • Laboratoire Lésions des Acides Nucléiques, Service de Chimie Inorganique et Biologique, UMR E3 – CEA / Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble
  • Institut de Recherches en Santé-Environnement-Travail – IRSET – UMR Inserm 1085, Faculté des Sciences pharmaceutiques et biologiques de Rennes, Université de Rennes
  • Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques, INERIS, Verneuil en Halatte
  • Laboratoire Génie Civil et géoEnvironnement, LGCgE, EA 4515, groupe ISA de Lille
  • IMT Lille-Douai, Département Sciences de l’Atmosphère Génie de l’Environnement, SAGE.
  • Laboratoire de Santé Publique et Environnement, EA 4064 « Impacts sanitaires des pollutions », Université Paris Descartes

 Internationals :

  •  Departemento de Ingenierias Quimica y Biomolecular, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Espagne.
  • Faculté de Médecine, Université de Cagliari, Italie.
  • Bioactive Molecules Research Group, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences-2, Lebanese University, Liban.
  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Balamand, Liban.
  • King’s College London, Environmental Research Group, Royaume-Uni.
  • Equipe  » Thermodynamique et Génie des Procédés Chimiques « , Département Chimie, Faculté Polytechnique de l’Université de Mons, Belgique.
  • Laboratoire de Toxicologie, Faculté de Médecine Pharmacologie Odontologie, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Sénégal.
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Department of Chemical and Radiation, Norway
  • Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Bologna, Italy
  • Shandong University, Environment Research Institute, China

current thesis




Stéphanie Al Koussa


Consequences of PM2.5 exposure on extracellular vesicles (EVs) produced by pulmonary epithelial cells: miRNA profile and effects on the immune microenvironment
Marc Fadel


Characterisation of aerosols and their sources in Eastern Mediterranean sites under industrial influence
Margaux Cochard


Study of the Epithelio-Mesenchymal Transition of cells in human lung toxicity of airborne particles PM2.5
Salimata Thiam


Characterisation of indoor air pollution and study of its impact on the health of Senegalese populations
Nour jaber


Characterisation, understanding and modelling of the toxicity of BTEX mixtures
Yamina Allouche


Evaluation of the oxidising potential of fine particles PM2.5 according to their emission sources
Malak Chwaikani


Study of autophagy and senescence of human lung cells exposed to fine and ultrafine particles

Research agreement

  • 2021-2024 : ANR project, A4A “Air quality and quality of life for asthmatic children in Africa”.
  • 2021-2023 : ANSES/ADEME project, AROMATOX ” Characterisation, understanding and modelling of the toxicity of BTEX mixtures “.
  • 2021-2023 : ANSES project, COPOBOIS “Innovative coupling for the evaluation of the effect on the respiratory tract of Poly-exposure to particulate and gaseous emissions from the mechanical transformation of Wood”.
  • 2020-2026 : Plan Investissement d’Avenir 3, TI-DEC ” Dunkerque, l’énergie créative “.
  • 2020-2022 : ADEME project, TOXTEM “Toxicity of atmospheric particles from rural, urban-industrial and port areas and impact on the epithelio-mesenchymal transition of lung cells”.
  • 2019-2023 : Coastal Health Space Project, PAPOU ” Study of the impregnation in phthalates of a population in urban-industrial areas “.
  • 2019-2021 : IRD / AUF / STDF / MISTRALS, POLCAIR Project ” Air pollution in Cairo: sources and impacts “.
  • 2019-2021 : MTE, EMMA Pole Project ” Multi-scale Mobile Atmospheric Experiment “.
  • 2018-2022 : BIONEUROMET Project “Environmental exposure to particulate matter-bound manganese and other metals: bioaccessibility, biomonitoring, and their association with the neurological function”, Spanish Research Agency, Project leader: Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain.
  • 2016-2021 : Interreg V Project France Wallonia Flanders “DepollutAir: Culture supernatants and extracts of RNA, DNA and proteins from cells exposed to emissions from catalytic devices.
  • 2015-2020 : CPER Climibio project, “WP3: Impact of climate change and environmental dynamics on living organisms”.

Recent publications

  • FADEL, M., LEDOUX, F., FARHAT, M., KFOURY, A., COURCOT, D. , AFIF, C. PM2.5 characterization of primary and secondary organic aerosols in two urban-industrial areas in the East Mediterranean. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2021. 101, pp. 98-116 (
  • AL ZALLOUHA, M., LANDKOCZ, Y., MÉAUSOONE, C., LEDOUX, F., VISADE, F., CAZIER, F., MARTIN, P.J., BORGIE, M., VITAGLIANO, J.-J., TRÉMOLET, G., CAILLIEZ, J.-C., GOSSET, P., COURCOT, D., BILLET, S., 2020. A prospective pilot study of the T-lymphocyte response to fine particulate matter exposure. J. Appl. Toxicol. JAT. 40, 619–630 (
  • AUGUSTIN, P., BILLET, S., CRUMEYROLLE, S., DEBOUDT, K., DIEUDONNÉ, E., FLAMENT, P., FOURMENTIN, M., GUILBAUD, S., HANOUNE, B., LANDKOCZ, Y., MÉAUSOONE, C., ROY, S., SCHMITT, F.G., SENTCHEV, A., SOKOLOV, A., 2020, Impact of sea breeze dynamics on atmospheric pollutants and their toxicity in industrial and urban coastal environments. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 648 (https://doi:10.3390/rs12040648).
  • MOUFARREJ, L., COURCOT, D., LEDOUX, F. Assessment of the PM2.5 oxidative potential in a coastal industrial city in Northern France: Relationships with chemical composition, local emissions and long range sources. Science of the Total Environment 748 (2020) 141448 (https://doi.org10.1016j.scitotenv.2020.141448)
  • BADRAN, G., VERDIN, A., GRARE,C., ABBAS,I., ACHOUR, D., LEDOUX, F., ROUMIE, M., CAZIER, F., COURCOT , D., LO GUIDICE, J.M.,GARÇON, G. Toxicological appraisal of the chemical fractions of ambient fine (PM2.5-0.3) and quasi-ultrafine (PM0.3) particles in human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells. Environmental Pollution 263 (2020) 114620 (
  • MÉAUSOONE, M., LANDKOCZ, Y., CAZIER, F., SEIGNEUR, M., COURCOT, D, BILLET, S. Toxicological responses of BEAS-2B cells to repeated exposures to benzene, toluene, m-xylene and mesitylene using Air-Liquid Interface method. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2020, 1-13 (
  • ALKOUSSA, S., HULO, S., COURCOT, D., BILLET, S., MARTIN, P.J., (2020). Extracellular vesicles as actors in the air pollution related cardiopulmonary diseases. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 50, 402–423. (
  • COCHARD, M., LEDOUX, F., LANDKOCZ, Y. Atmospheric fine particulate matter and epithelial mesenchymal transition in pulmonary cells: state of the art and critical review of the in vitro studies. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health – Part B: Critical Reviews 2020 Oct 2;23(7):293-318. (
  • DELMAIRE G., OMIDVAR M., PUIGT M., LEDOUX F., LIMEM A., ROUSSEL G., COURCOT D., Informed Weighted Non-negative Matrix Factorization Using ab-Divergence Applied to Source Apportionment, Entropy, 21, 253, 2019, pp. 1-35 (doi: 10.3390/e21030253).
  • MARTIN P.J., HÉLIOT A., TREMOLET G., LANDKOCZ Y., DEWAELE D., CAZIER F., LEDOUX F., COURCOT D., Cellular response and extracellular vesicles characterization of human macrophages exposed to PM2.5, Environmental Pollution, 254 (A), 2019, pp. 112933 (doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.07.101).
  • ZHANG J., YANG L., LEDOUX F., COURCOT D., MELLOUKI A., GAO Y., JIANG P., LI Y., WANG W., PM2.5-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrated PAHs (NPAHs) in rural and suburban areas in Shandong and Henan Provinces during the 2016 Chinese New Year’s holiday, Environmental Pollution, 250, 2019, pp. 782-791 (doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.04.040).
  • BADRAN G., LEDOUX F., VERDIN A., ABBAS I., ROUMIÉ M., GENEVRAY P., LANDKOCZ Y., LO GUIDICE J.-M., GARÇON G., COURCOT D., Toxicity of fine and quasi-ultrafine particles: focus on the effects of organic extractable and non-extractable matter fractions, Chemosphere, 2019, pp. in press (doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125440).
  • VERDIN A., CAZIER F., FITOUSSI R., BLANCHET N., VIE K., COURCOT D., MOMAS I., SETA N., ACHARD S., 2019, An in vitro model to evaluate the impact of environmental fine particles (PM 0.3-2.5 ) on skin damage. Toxicology Letters, 305, pp. 94-102 (doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2019.01.016)
  • MEAUSOONE C., EL KHAWAJA R., TREMOLET G., SIFFERT S., COUSIN R., CAZIER F., BILLET S., COURCOT D., LANDKOCZ Y., In vitro toxicological evaluation of emissions from catalytic oxidation removal of industrial VOCs by air/liquid interface (ALI) exposure system in repeated mode, Toxicology In Vitro, 58, 2019, pp. 110-117 (
  • NDONG A., VERDIN A., CAZIER F., GARCON G., THOMAS J., CABRAL M., DEWAELE D., GENEVRAY P., GARAT A., ALLORGE D., DIOUF A., LOGUIDICE J.M., COURCOT D., FALL M., GUALTIERI M., Individual exposure level following indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure in Dakar (Senegal). Environmental Pollution, 248, 2019, pp. 397-407 (doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.02.042).