Gene Expression Profiling of Mono- and Co-Culture Models of the Respiratory Tract Exposed to Crystalline Quartz under Submerged and Air-Liquid Interface Conditions

Alexandra Friesen, Susanne Fritsch-Decker, Matthias Hufnagel, Sonja Mülhopt, Dieter Stapf, Carsten Weiss, Andrea Hartwig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In vitro lung cell models like air-liquid interface (ALI) and 3D cell cultures have advanced greatly in recent years, being especially valuable for testing advanced materials (e.g., nanomaterials, fibrous substances) when considering inhalative exposure. Within this study, we established submerged and ALI cell culture models utilizing A549 cells as mono-cultures and co-cultures with differentiated THP-1 (dTHP-1), as well as mono-cultures of dTHP-1. After ALI and submerged exposures towards α-quartz particles (Min-U-Sil5), with depositions ranging from 15 to 60 µg/cm2, comparison was made with respect to their transcriptional cellular responses employing high-throughput RT-qPCR. A significant dose- and time-dependent induction of genes coding for inflammatory proteins, e.g., IL-1A, IL-1B, IL-6, IL-8, and CCL22, as well as genes associated with oxidative stress response such as SOD2, was observed, even more pronounced in co-cultures. Changes in the expression of similar genes were more pronounced under submerged conditions when compared to ALI exposure in the case of A549 mono-cultures. Hereby, the activation of the NF-κB signaling pathway and the NLRP3 inflammasome seem to play an important role. Regarding genotoxicity, neither DNA strand breaks in ALI cultivated cells nor a transcriptional response to DNA damage were observed. Altogether, the toxicological responses depended considerably on the cell culture model and exposure scenario, relevant to be considered to improve toxicological risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7773
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume23
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • air-liquid interface
  • co-culture
  • gene expression
  • particle
  • pulmonary toxicity
  • quartz
  • transcriptional toxicity profile

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