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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ambient vapor samples activate the Nrf2-ARE pathway in human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells

  • Author(s): Shinkai, Y
  • Nakajima, S
  • Eiguren-Fernandez, A
  • Stefano, ED
  • Schmitz, DA
  • Froines, JR
  • Cho, AK
  • Kumagai, Y
  • et al.

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© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Ambient air pollutants have been reported to induce oxidative stress based inflammatory responses in humans and experimental animals. However, most of these reports describe the actions of the particulate phase of ambient and exhaust samples. We describe here results of studies investigating the actions of the vapor phase of ambient air samples collected in the midtown area of Los Angeles on human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells using DNA microarray analysis. Among 26 genes whose expression increased fourfold or more, four genes were associated with detoxifying genes regulated by the transcription factor Nrf2. Consistent with these results, the vapor samples activate the Nrf2-ARE pathway, resulting in up-regulation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), glutamate cysteine ligase modifier subunit, and cystine transporter (xCT) mRNA and proteins. No appreciable increases in pro-inflammatory genes were observed. These results suggest that ambient vapor samples activate the Nrf2-ARE pathway but not an inflammatory response. Also, treatment of the vapor samples with glutathione resulted in reduction in the Nrf2 activation and HO-1 induction, suggesting that electrophiles in vapor samples contribute to this Nrf2-dependent antioxidant or adaptive response.

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