Particulate matter (PM), broadly defined as coarse (2.5–10 μm), fine (0.1–2.5 μm) and ultrafine particles (≤0.1 μm), is a major constituent of ambient air pollution. Recent studies have linked PM exposure (coarse and fine particles) with several human diseases including cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying ultrafine PM exposure induced cellular and sub-cellular repercussions are ill-defined. Since mitochondria are one of the major targets of different environmental pollutants, we herein aimed to understand the molecular repercussion of ultrafine PM exposure on mitochondrial machinery in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Upon comparative analysis, a significantly higher DCF fluorescence was observed in ultrafine PM exposed cells that confirmed the strong pro-oxidant nature of these particles. In addition, the depleted activity of antioxidant enzymes, glutathione reductase and superoxide dismutase suggested the strong association of ultrafine PM with oxidative stress. These results further coincided with mitochondrial membrane depolarization, altered mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme activity and decline in mtDNA copy number. Moreover, the higher accumulation of DNA damage response proteins (γH2AX, pATM, p-p53), suggested that exposure to ultrafine PM induces DNA damage and triggers phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase mediated response pathway. Further, the alterations in mitochondrial machinery and redox balance among ultrafine PM exposed cells were accompanied by a considerably elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine response. Interestingly, the lower apoptosis levels observed in ultrafine particle treated cells suggest the possibility that the marked alterations may lead to the impairment of mitochondrial-nuclear cross talk. Together, our results showed that ultrafine PM, because of their smaller size possesses significant ability to disturb mitochondrial redox homeostasis and activates phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase mediated DNA damage response pathway, an unknown molecular paradigm of ultrafine PM exposure. Our findings also indicate that maneuvering through the mitochondrial function might be a viable, indirect method to modulate lymphocyte homeostasis in air pollution associated immune disorders.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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