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Inhal Toxicol. 2000 Jun;12(6):453-68.

In vivo and in vitro correlation of pulmonary MAP kinase activation following metallic exposure.

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Human Studies Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research LAboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.


Residual oil fly ash (ROFA) is a particulate pollutant produced in the combustion of fuel oil. Exposure to ROFA is associated with adverse respiratory effects in humans, induces lung inflammation in animals, and induces inflammatory mediator expression in cultured human airway epithelial cells (HAEC). ROFA has a high content of transition metals, including vanadium, a potent tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor that we have previously shown to disregulate phosphotyrosine metabolism and activate mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades in HAEC. In order to study MAPK activation in response to in vivo metal exposure, we used immunohistochemical methods to detect levels of phosphorylated protein tyrosines (P-Tyr) and the MAPKs ERK1/2, JNK, and P38 in lung sections from rats intratracheally exposed to ROFA. After a 1-h exposure to 500 microg ROFA, rat lungs showed no histological changes and no significant increases in immunostaining for either P-Tyr or phospho-(P-) MAPKs compared to saline-instilled controls. At 4 h of exposure, there was mild and variable inflammation in the lung, which was accompanied by an increase in specific immunostaining for P-Tyr and P-MAPKs in airway and alveolar epithelial cells and resident macrophages. By 24 h of exposure, there was a pronounced inflammatory response to ROFA instillation and a marked increase in levels of P-Tyr and P-MAPKs present within the alveolar epithelium and in the inflammatory cells, while the airway epithelium showed a continued increase in the expression of P-ERK1/2. By comparison, HAEC cultures exposed to 100 microg/ml ROFA for 20 min resulted in marked increases in P-Tyr and P-MAPKs, which persisted after 24 h of exposure. P-Tyr levels continued to accumulate for up to 24 h in HAEC exposed to ROFA. These results demonstrate in vivo activation in cell signaling pathways in response to pulmonary exposure to particulate matter, and support the relevance of in vitro studies in the identification of mechanisms of lung injury induced by pollutant inhalation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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