Microplastics (MPs) have emerged as a global concern, with a recent study being the first to detect them in the bloodstream of healthy people. However, precise information regarding the toxic effects of MPs on the human vascular system is currently lacking. In this study, we used human vascular endothelial EA. hy926 cells to examine the toxic potential of polystyrene MPs (PSMPs) under realistic blood concentrations. Our findings indicated that PSMPs can cause oxidative stress by reducing the expression of antioxidants, thereby leading to apoptotic cytotoxicity in EA. hy926 cells. Furthermore, the protective potential of heat shock proteins can be reduced by PSMPs. PSMP-induced apoptosis might also lower the expression of rho-associated protein kinase-1 and nuclear factor-κB expression, thus dampening LRR- and pyrin domain-containing protein 3 in EA. hy926 cells. Moreover, we observed that PSMPs induce vascular barrier dysfunction via the depletion of zonula occludens-1 protein. However, although protein expression of the nuclear hormone receptor 77 was inhibited, no significant increase in ectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 was noted in PSMP-treated EA. hy926 cells. These results demonstrate that exposure to PSMPs may not sufficiently increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Overall, our research signifies that exposure to realistic blood concentrations of PSMPs is associated with low atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk in humans. Copyright © 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
CitationChen, Y.-C., Chen, K.-F., Lin, K.-Y. A., Su, H.-P., Wu, D.-N., & Lin, C.-H. (2023). Evaluation of toxicity of polystyrene microplastics under realistic exposure levels in human vascular endothelial EA.hy926 cells. Chemosphere, 313. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.137582
- Oxidative stress
- Vascular toxicity
- Endothelial barrier