Role of Inflammation in the Malignant Transformation of Pleural Mesothelial Cells Induced by Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Nanotoxicology 2020 June 23 [Link]

Xiaopei Huang, Yijun Tian, Wenjing Shi, Jikuai Chen, Lang Yan, Lijun Ren, Xiaofang Zhang, Jiangbo Zhu


Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are one of the most widely used types of novel nano-fiber materials. The aim of this study was to establish an experimental system based on actual exposure dosage and environments and explore the roles and mechanisms of inflammation in the malignant transformation of pleural mesothelial cells induced by MWCNTs after low doses and long-term exposure. Here, we established an in vitro system by co-culturing macrophages and mesothelial cells and exposing these cells to high aspect ratio MWCNTs (0.1 μg/mL) for three months. Results indicated that IL-1β, secreted by macrophages stimulated by MWCNTs, may significantly enhance the release of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-8, TNF-α, and IL-6, from mesothelial cells. Results obtained from proliferation, migration, invasion, colony formation, and chromosomal aberration studies indicated that MWCNTs may promote malignant transformation of mesothelial cells after long-term and low-dose exposure via inflammation. Furthermore, the obtained results demonstrated that the NF-κB/IL-6/STAT3 pathway was active in the malignant transformation of Met 5A cells, induced by MWCNTs, and played an important role in the process. In conclusion, our results showed that the NF-κB (p65)/IL-6/STAT3 molecular pathway, which was mediated by inflammation, played an important role in the malignant transformation of pleural mesothelial cells induced by MWCNTs. These findings also provide novel ideas and references for the treatment of mesothelioma and offers options for the occupational safety of nanomaterial practitioners.