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J Biol Chem. 2003 Dec 12;278(50):50781-90. Epub 2003 Sep 30.

Use of proteomics to demonstrate a hierarchical oxidative stress response to diesel exhaust particle chemicals in a macrophage cell line.

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  • 1Keck Functional Proteomics Center, Department of Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Epidemiological studies demonstrate an association between short term exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) and cardiorespiratory morbidity and mortality. Although the biological mechanisms of these adverse effects are unknown, emerging data suggest a key role for oxidative stress. Ambient PM and diesel exhaust particles (DEP) contain redox cycling organic chemicals that induce pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory effects in the lung. These responses are suppressed by N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which directly complexes to electrophilic DEP chemicals and exert additional antioxidant effects at the cellular level. A proteomics approach was used to study DEP-induced responses in the macrophage cell line, RAW 264.7. We demonstrate that in the dose range 10-100 microg/ml, organic DEP extracts induce a progressive decline in the cellular GSH/GSSG ratio, in parallel with a linear increase in newly expressed proteins on the two-dimensional gel. Using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry and electrospray ionization-liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry analysis, 32 newly induced/NAC-suppressed proteins were identified. These include antioxidant enzymes (e.g. heme oxygenase-1 and catalase), pro-inflammatory components (e.g. p38MAPK and Rel A), and products of intermediary metabolism that are regulated by oxidative stress. Heme oxygenase-1 was induced at low extract dose and with minimal decline in the GSH/GSSG ratio, whereas MAP kinase activation required a higher chemical dose and incremental levels of oxidative stress. Moreover, at extract doses >50 microg/ml, there is a steep decline in cellular viability. These data suggest that DEP induce a hierarchical oxidative stress response in which some of these proteins may serve as markers for oxidative stress during PM exposures.

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