Gene expression profiling and pathway analysis of human bronchial epithelial cells exposed to airborne particulate matter collected from Saudi Arabia

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Epidemiological studies have established a positive correlation between human mortality and increased concentration of airborne particulate matters (PM). However, the mechanisms underlying PM related human diseases, as well as the molecules and pathways mediating the cellular response to PM, are not fully understood. This study aims to investigate the global gene expression changes in human cells exposed to PM10 and to identify genes and pathways that may contribute to PM related adverse health effects. Human bronchial epithelial cells were exposed to PM10 collected from Saudi Arabia for 1 or 4 days, and whole transcript expression was profiled using the GeneChip human gene 1.0 ST array. A total of 140 and 230 genes were identified that significantly changed more than 1.5 fold after PM10 exposure for 1 or 4 days, respectively. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis revealed that different exposure durations triggered distinct pathways. Genes involved in NRF2-mediated response to oxidative stress were up-regulated after 1 day exposure. In contrast, cells exposed for 4 days exhibited significant changes in genes related to cholesterol and lipid synthesis pathways. These observed changes in cellular oxidative stress and lipid synthesis might contribute to PM related respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

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