Quartz can increase oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, and inflammation. The objective of this study was to explore the volatile biomarkers of quartz-induced lung injury using a lung alveolar cell model. We exposed the human alveolar A549 cell line to 0, 200, and 500 μg/mL quartz particles for 24 h and used gas chromatography–mass spectrometry to measure the volatile metabolites in the headspace air of cells. We identified ten volatile metabolites that had concentration–response relationships with particles exposure, including 1,2,4-oxadiazole, 5-(4-nitrophenyl)-3-phenyl- (CAS: 28825-12-9), 2,6-dimethyl-6-trifluoroacetoxyoctane (CAS: 61986-67-2), 3-buten-1-amine, N,N-dimethyl- (CAS: 55831-89-5), 2-propanol, 2-methyl- (CAS: 75-65-0), glycolaldehyde dimethyl acetal (CAS: 30934-97-5), propanoic acid, 2-oxo-, ethyl ester (CAS: 617-35-6), octane (CAS: 111-65-9), octane, 3,3-dimethyl- (CAS: 4110-44-5), heptane, 2,3-dimethyl- (CAS: 3074-71-3) and ethanedioic acid, bis(trimethylsilyl) ester (CAS: 18294-04-7). The volatile biomarkers are generated through the pathways of propanoate and nitrogen metabolism. The volatile biomarkers of the alkanes and methylated alkanes are related to oxidative and lipid peroxidation of the cell membrane. The lung alveolar cell model has the potential to explore the volatile biomarkers of particulate-induced lung injury.
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