Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Shannon Jones


Inflammatory diseases caused by biomass smoke exposure and indoor air pollution affect millions of people worldwide. These diseases can be caused by the burning of biomass (plastic, wood, rubber, tobacco, etc.) for light or heat. Acrolein is a common indoor and outdoor pollutant from tobacco smoke or organic combustion. Wood smoke is hypothesized to cause inflammation since it contains high concentrations of particulate matter and gaseous compounds and are similar in size to other well-known damaging particles. Natural remedies, like curcumin, are hypothesized to be a natural remedy for combating inflammation. The goal of this research was to investigate the ability of indoor air pollutants, like acrolein and wood smoke, to induce inflammatory responses. Many studies have found induced responses in animal models. This research also looked at the ability of natural remedies, like curcumin, to combat these inflammatory effects. Curcumin has been found to have therapeutic effects in many inflammatory diseases. This research was done on specific inflammatory cells and used cytokine secretion and gene expression to measure inflammatory responses. Cells were cultured for 24 hours to assess inflammatory gene expression (TNFα, MIP-2, and COX-2) via RT-PCR, gel electrophoresis, and ELISA. Woodsmoke was found to dose-dependently induce gene expression of COX-2 and MIP-2. Curcumin was found to dose-dependently decrease gene expression of COX-2 and MIP-2. However, neither woodsmoke or curcumin significantly affected secretion of TNFα and MIP-2 cytokines. Further research must be conducted to confirm these findings and determine whether curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties against biomass fuels like woodsmoke.

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Biology Commons