To reduce the nanoplastics (NPs) toxicity assessment error, we established a Transwell-based bronchial epithelial cell exposure system to assess the pulmonary toxicity of polystyrene NPs (PSNPs). Transwell exposure system was more sensitive than submerged culture for toxicity detection of PSNPs. PSNPs adhered to the BEAS-2B cell surface, were ingested by the cell, and accumulated in the cytoplasm. PSNPs induced oxidative stress and inhibited cell growth through apoptosis and autophagy. A noncytotoxic dose of PSNPs (1 ng/cm²) increased the expression levels of inflammatory factors (ROCK-1, NF-κB, NLRP3, ICAM-1, etc) in BEAS-2B cells, whereas a cytotoxic dose (1000 ng/cm²) induced apoptosis and autophagy, which might inhibit the activation of ROCK-1 and contribute to reducing inflammation. In addition, the noncytotoxic dose increased the expression levels of zonula occludens-2 (ZO-2) and α1-antitrypsin (α-AT) proteins in BEAS-2B cells. Therefore, in response to PSNP exposure, a compensatory increase in the activities of inflammatory factors, ZO-2, and α-AT may be triggered at low doses as a mechanism to preserve the survival of BEAS-2B cells. In contrast, exposure to a high dose of PSNPs elicits a noncompensatory response in BEAS-2B cells. Overall, these findings suggest that PSNPs may be harmful to human pulmonary health even at an ultralow concentration. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
CitationChen, Y.-C., Chen, K.-F., Lin, K.-Y. A., Tsang, Y. F., Hsu, Y.-F., & Lin, C.-H. (2023). Evaluation of the pulmonary toxicity of PSNPs using a Transwell-based normal human bronchial epithelial cell culture system. Science of The Total Environment, 895, Article 165213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.165213
- Polystyrene nanoplastic
- Bronchial epithelial cells
- Oxidative stress