Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2011

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Air pollution is linked to central nervous system disease, but the mechanisms responsible are poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES:

Here, we sought to address the brain-region-specific effects of diesel exhaust (DE) and key cellular mechanisms underlying DE-induced microglia activation, neuroinflammation, and dopaminergic (DA) neurotoxicity.

METHODS:

Rats were exposed to DE (2.0, 0.5, and 0 mg/m3) by inhalation over 4 weeks or as a single intratracheal administration of DE particles (DEP; 20 mg/kg). Primary neuron-glia cultures and the HAPI (highly aggressively proliferating immortalized) microglial cell line were used to explore cellular mechanisms.

RESULTS:

Rats exposed to DE by inhalation demonstrated elevated levels of whole-brain IL-6 (interleukin-6) protein, nitrated proteins, and IBA-1 (ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1) protein (microglial marker), indicating generalized neuroinflammation. Analysis by brain region revealed that DE increased TNFα (tumor necrosis factor-α), IL-1β, IL-6, MIP-1α (macrophage inflammatory protein-1α) RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation end products), fractalkine, and the IBA-1 microglial marker in most regions tested, with the midbrain showing the greatest DE response. Intratracheal administration of DEP increased microglial IBA-1 staining in the substantia nigra and elevated both serum and whole-brain TNFα at 6 hr posttreatment. Although DEP alone failed to cause the production of cytokines and chemokines, DEP (5 μg/mL) pretreatment followed by lipopolysaccharide (2.5 ng/mL) in vitro synergistically amplified nitric oxide production, TNFα release, and DA neurotoxicity. Pretreatment with fractalkine (50 pg/mL) in vitro ameliorated DEP (50 μg/mL)-induced microglial hydrogen peroxide production and DA neurotoxicity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Together, these findings reveal complex, interacting mechanisms responsible for how air pollution may cause neuroinflammation and DA neurotoxicity.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1002986

Comments

Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives.

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