Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Radical-containing ultrafine particulate matter initiates epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions in airway epithelial cells.

Authors: Thevenot, Paul T; Saravia, Jordy; Jin, Nili; Giaimo, Joseph D; Chustz, Regina E; Mahne, Sarah; Kelley, Matthew A; Hebert, Valeria Y; Dellinger, Barry; Dugas, Tammy R; Demayo, Francesco J; Cormier, Stephania A

Published In Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, (2013 Feb)

Abstract: Environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) in combustion-generated particulate matter (PM) are capable of inducing pulmonary pathologies and contributing to the development of environmental asthma. In vivo exposure of infant rats to EPFRs demonstrates their ability to induce airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, a hallmark of asthma. However, the mechanisms by which combustion-derived EPFRs elicit in vivo responses remain elusive. In this study, we used a chemically defined EPFR consisting of approximately 0.2 ýým amorphrous silica containing 3% cupric oxide with the organic pollutant 1,2-dichlorobenzene (DCB-230). DCB-230 possesses similar radical content to urban-collected EPFRs but offers several advantages, including lack of contaminants and chemical uniformity. DCB-230 was readily taken up by BEAS-2B and at high doses (200 ýýg/cm(2)) caused substantial necrosis. At low doses (20 ýýg/cm(2)), DCB-230 particles caused lysosomal membrane permeabilization, oxidative stress, and lipid peroxidation within 24 hours of exposure. During this period, BEAS-2B underwent epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), including loss of epithelial cell morphology, decreased E-cadherin expression, and increased ýý-smooth muscle actin (ýý-SMA) and collagen I production. Similar results were observed in neonatal air-liquid interface culture (i.e., disruption of epithelial integrity and EMT). Acute exposure of infant mice to DCB-230 resulted in EMT, as confirmed by lineage tracing studies and evidenced by coexpression of epithelial E-cadherin and mesenchymal ýý-SMA proteins in airway cells and increased SNAI1 expression in the lungs. EMT in neonatal mouse lungs after EPFR exposure may provide an explanation for epidemiological evidence supporting PM exposure and increased risk of asthma.

PubMed ID: 23087054 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Air Pollutants/toxicity*; Animals; Animals, Newborn; Bronchioles/cytology; Bronchioles/drug effects; Cell Line; Cell Membrane Permeability; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Epithelial Cells/drug effects; Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition/drug effects*; Mice; Oxidative Stress; Particle Size

to Top