Abstract

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) are engineered nanomaterials widely used in industrial and biomedical applications. Yet, MWCNT inhalation may induce pulmonary adverse effects, and the MWCNT-7 (Mitsui-7) has been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. However, its molecular mechanisms of action are poorly understood and there are no biomarkers of exposure for occupational monitoring. Several pulmonary diseases, including lung cancer, have been associated with alterations in microRNA expression that are used as biomarkers of disease progression, and differentially-expressed microRNAs (DE miRNAs) can also allow understanding the molecular effects induced by a toxicant. In this study, we identify DE miRNAs in A549 alveolar epithelial cells following 24 h exposure to MWCNT-7 or crocidolite, as well as their enriched cellular functional pathways. These indicate that both materials change cell survival, differentiation and proliferative properties under the influence of AMPK, FoxO, TGF-β and Hippo pathways, and their metabolic activity and cell-to-cell communication. In addition, MWCNT-7 affects the actin cytoskeleton, ubiquitin mediated proteolysis, and ECM-receptor interactions; crocidolite the PI3K-Akt and mTOR pathways, endocytosis, and central carbon metabolism. Since deregulation of these pathways may be related to carcinogenesis, an interaction network of DE miRNAs and corresponding target cancer-related genes was constructed, highlighting the carcinogenic potential of Mitsui-7.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-18
JournalToxicology Letters
Volume328
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2020

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