International journal of toxicology

MWCNTs Induce ROS Generation, ERK Phosphorylation, and SOD-2 Expression in Human Mesothelial Cells.

PMID 26111538


Biological oxidative responses are involved in the toxicity of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), which may cause asbestos-like pathogenicity. Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD-2) has been proposed as a biomarker of early responses to mesothelioma-inducing fibers. This study was conducted to investigate the alteration of SOD-2 expression in the human mesothelial cell lines Met-5A after exposure to nontoxic doses of MWCNTs and the potential signaling pathway. The parameters measured included the viability, morphological change, superoxide formation, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation, and messenger RNA (mRNA)/protein levels of SOD-2. Our results showed that MWCNTs upregulated SOD-2 expression at both mRNA and protein level. Coincidently, both superoxide formation and ERK1/2 phosphorylation were observed in Met-5A cells exposed to MWCNTs and were diminished by pretreatment with the reactive oxidative species (ROS) scavenger, N-acetyl-l-(+)-cysteine (NAC). To further investigate the role of ROS/ERK1/2 in MWCNTs-induced SOD-2 overexpression, prior to MWCNTs exposure, cells were pretreated with the Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1/2 (MEK 1/2) inhibitor (U0126) or with NAC. Both pretreatments decreased the MWCNTs-induced overexpression of SOD-2. These results suggest that upregulation of SOD-2 in Met-5A cells exposed to MWCNTs is mediated by ROS formation and ERK1/2 activation.