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Chemosphere. 2003 Jun;51(10):1139-48.

Genetic susceptibility to nickel-induced acute lung injury.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056, USA.


Human exposure to insoluble and soluble nickel compounds is extensive. Besides wide usage in many industries, nickel compounds are contained in cigarette smoke and, in low levels, in ambient particulate matter. Soluble nickel particulate, especially nickel sulfate (NiSO(4)), has been associated with acute lung injury. To begin identifying genes controlling susceptibility to NiSO(4), mean survival times (MSTs) of eight inbred mouse strains were determined after aerosol exposure. Whereas A/J (A) mice were sensitive, C57BL/6J (B6) mice survived nearly twice as long (resistant). Their offspring were similarly resistant, demonstrating heritability as a dominant trait. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of backcross mice generated from these strains identified a region on chromosome 6 significantly linked to survival time. Regions on chromosomes 1 and 12 were suggestive of linkage and regions on chromosomes 8, 9, and 16 contributed to the response. Haplotype analysis demonstrated that QTLs on chromosomes 6, 9, 12, and 16 could explain the MST difference between the parental strains. To complement QTL analysis results, cDNA microarray analysis was assessed following NiSO(4) exposure of A and B6 mice. Significant expression changes were identified in one or both strains for >100 known genes. Closer evaluation of these changes revealed a temporal pattern of increased cell proliferation, extracellular matrix repair, hypoxia, and oxidative stress, followed by diminished surfactant proteins. Certain expressed sequence tags clustered with known genes, suggesting possible co-regulation and novel roles in pulmonary injury. Together, results from QTL and microarray analyses of nickel-induced acute lung injury survival allowed us to generate a short list of candidate genes.

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