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Environ Pollut. 2018 Feb;233:820-832. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.11.022.

Benzo(a)pyren-7,8-dihydrodiol-9,10-epoxide induces human trophoblast Swan 71 cell dysfunctions due to cell apoptosis through disorder of mitochondrial fission/fusion.

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Public Health Laboratory Sciences and Toxicology, West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
Department of Toxicology, College of Public Health, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China.
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Reproductive Immunology Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street LSOG 305A, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Public Health Laboratory Sciences and Toxicology, West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China. Electronic address:


Benzo(a)pyren-7,8-dihydrodiol-9,10-epoxide (BPDE) is an endocrine disrupter and ultimate carcinogenic product of benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). Numerous studies have shown that BPDE causes trophoblast-related diseases, such as preeclampsia, growth restriction or miscarriages. However, the underlying mechanism, especially the mitochondria-related BPDE-induced trophoblast dysfunction remains unknown. In this study, we examined mitochondrial functions in BPDE-induced human trophoblast cell line Swan 71. BPDE decreased cell ability, attenuated cell invasion and HCG secretion, induced cell apoptosis, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and MDA, and decreased SOD activity in a dose-dependent manner. In the mechanism, BPDE significantly increased pro-apoptosis protein (P53 and Bak1) and decreased anti-apoptosis protein (Bcl-2). Furthermore, the protein expression levels of mitochondrial fusion genes (Mfn1, Mfn2, and OPA1) were decreased and those of fission genes (Fis1 and Drp1) were increased with increasing concentrations of BPDE and incubation time, resulting in the release of Cyt c and activation of Caspase 3, which irreversibly induced trophoblast cell apoptosis. This study reveals the mechanism of dysfunction of trophoblast cells through cell apoptosis due to the disorder of mitochondrial fission/fusion after exposure to BPDE, providing a further experimental understanding the adverse effects of BaP on trophoblast cells in early pregnancy.


Apoptosis; BPDE; Fission/fusion; Human trophoblast Swan 71 cell; Mitochondria

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