Inflammatory response modulation of airway epithelial cells exposed to formaldehyde

March 31, 2012

2012, 211(2):159-163. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.03.799 [Epub ahead of print]

Persoz C, Achard S, Momas I, Seta N.

PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Descartes, Laboratoire de Santé Publique et Environnement – EA 4064, Paris, France.


The comparing of the effects of formaldehyde on two cell lines, A549 and BEAS-2B, with the measured endpoints IL-8 and MCP-1. 


The two main difficulties when assessing the role and action mechanism of environmental pollutant exposure on the respiratory tract using in vitro methodology are firstly to create exposure conditions that closely mimic the human situation, and secondly to choose an experimental model that accurately represents lung compartment complexity, with different types of cell interaction. The aim of this study was to resolve these two challenges. The first of our difficulties was to find the closest experimental conditions to mimic respiratory environmental pollutant exposure. We compared the effects of formaldehyde (FA) on two cellular models, alveolar and bronchial cell lines, respectively A549 and BEAS-2B. The cells were exposed for 30 min to an environmental dose of gaseous FA (50 μg/m³) at the air-liquid interface. In order to mimic macrophage-epithelial cell cooperation, sensitizations (with TNFα or with conditioned medium from macrophages–CM) prior to gas exposure were applied. After toxicity evaluation, local inflammation was assessed by IL-8 and MCP-1 production 24h after exposure. In our experimental conditions FA had no effects on alveolar and bronchial epithelial cells without any sensitization. FA exposure after TNFα sensitization alone induced a moderate increase of IL-8 by A549 cells. After sensitization with CM, FA exposure induced a strong increase of IL-8 production by A549 cells in comparison to air, whereas a decrease of MCP-1 production was observed on BEAS-2B cells. It appears that the response of alveolar and bronchial epithelial cells to FA was moderate and that complex sensitization refines the inflammatory response to environmental stresses. When sensitized with CM, these cell lines responded differently to FA exposure. Finally by interacting with the respiratory epithelium, FA could exacerbate the inflammation of airways that occurs in severe asthma, and even synergize the effects of other air pollutants such as allergens. Evaluation of nasal cell inflammatory response could shed further light on the effects of FA on respiratory epithelium.

Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

PMID: 22484645 [PubMed-as supplied by publisher]

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