Carbon black nanoparticles promote endothelial activation and lipid accumulation in macrophages independently of intracellular ROS production

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Exposure to nanoparticles (NPs) may cause vascular effects including endothelial dysfunction and foam cell formation, with oxidative stress and inflammation as supposed central mechanisms. We investigated oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and lipid accumulation caused by nano-sized carbon black (CB) exposure in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), THP-1 (monocytes) and THP-1 derived macrophages (THP-1a). The proliferation of HUVECs or co-cultures of HUVECs and THP-1 cells were unaffected by CB exposure, whereas there was increased cytotoxicity, assessed by the LDH and WST-1 assays, especially in THP-1 and THP-1a cells. The CB exposure decreased the glutathione (GSH) content in THP-1 and THP-1a cells, whereas GSH was increased in HUVECs. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was increased in all cell types after CB exposure. A reduction of the intracellular GSH concentration by buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) pre-treatment further increased the CB-induced ROS production in THP-1 cells and HUVECs. The expression of adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, but not adhesion of THP-1 to HUVECs or culture dishes, was elevated by CB exposure, whereas these effects were unaffected by BSO pre-treatment. qRT-PCR showed increased VCAM1 expression, but no change in GCLM and HMOX1 expression in CB-exposed HUVECs. Pre-exposure to CB induced lipid accumulation in THP-1a cells, which was not affected by the presence of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine. In addition, the concentrations of CB to induce lipid accumulation were lower than the concentrations to promote intracellular ROS production in THP-1a cells. In conclusion, exposure to nano-sized CB induced endothelial dysfunction and foam cell formation, which was not dependent on intracellular ROS production.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere106711
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ID: 126064181