Aryl hydrocarbon receptor protects lung adenocarcinoma cells against cigarette sidestream smoke particulates-induced oxidative stress

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Abstract

Environmental cigarette smoke has been suggested to promote lung adenocarcinoma progression through aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-signaled metabolism. However, whether AhR facilitates metabolic activation or detoxification in exposed adenocarcinoma cells remains ambiguous. To address this question, we have modified the expression level of AhR in two human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines and examined their response to an extract of cigarette sidestream smoke particulates (CSSP). We found that overexpression of AhR in the CL1–5 cell line reduced CSSP-induced ROS production and oxidative DNA damage, whereas knockdown of AhR expression increased ROS level in CSSP-exposed H1355 cells. Oxidative stress sensor Nrf2 and its target gene NQO1 were insensitive to AhR expression level and CSSP treatment in human lung adenocarcinoma cells. In contrast, induction of AhR expression concurrently increased mRNA expression of xenobiotic-metabolizing genes CYP1B1, UGT1A8, and UGT1A10 in a ligand-independent manner. It appeared that AhR accelerated xenobiotic clearing and diminished associated oxidative stress by coordinate regulation of a set of phase I and II metabolizing genes. However, the AhR-signaled protection could not shield cells from constant oxidative stress. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of CSSP induced G0/G1 cell cycle arrest via the p53–p21–Rb1 signaling pathway. Despite no effect on DNA repair rate, AhR facilitated the recovery of cells from growth arrest when CSSP exposure ended. AhR-overexpressing lung adenocarcinoma cells exhibited an increased anchorage-dependent and independent proliferation when recovery from exposure. In summary, our data demonstrated that AhR protected lung adenocarcinoma cells against CSSP-induced oxidative stress and promoted post-exposure clonogenicity.

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