Activation of protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) and risk of lung cancer among rural women in India who cook with biomass fuel


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Abstract

The impact of indoor air pollution (IAP) from biomass fuel burning on the risk of carcinogenesis in the airways has been investigated in 187 pre-menopausal women (median age 34 years) from eastern India who cooked exclusively with biomass and 155 age-matched control women from same locality who cooked with cleaner fuel liquefied petroleum gas. Compared with control, Papanicolau-stained sputum samples showed 3-times higher prevalence of metaplasia and 7-times higher prevalence of dysplasia in airway epithelial cell (AEC) of biomass users. Immunocytochemistry showed up-regulation of phosphorylated Akt (p-Aktser473 and p-Aktthr308) proteins in AEC of biomass users, especially in metaplastic and dysplastic cells. Compared with LPG users, biomass-using women showed marked rise in reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and depletion of antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD) indicating oxidative stress. There were 2–5 times more particulate pollutants (PM10 and PM2.5), 72% more nitrogen dioxide and 4-times more particulate-laden benzo(a)pyrene, but no change in sulfur dioxide in indoor air of biomass-using households, and high performance liquid chromatography estimated 6-fold rise in the concentration of benzene metabolite trans,trans-muconic acid (t,t-MA) in urine of biomass users. Metaplasia and dysplasia, p-Akt expression and ROS generation were positively associated with PM and t,t-MA levels. It appears that cumulative exposure to biomass smoke increases the risk of lung carcinogenesis via oxidative stress-mediated activation of Akt signal transduction pathway.

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