Long-term exposure to PM(2.5) leads to mitochondrial damage and differential expression of associated circRNA in rat hepatocytes

Sci Rep. 2024 May 24;14(1):11870. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-62748-y.


Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is one of the four major causes of mortality globally. The objective of this study was to investigate the mechanism underlying liver injury following exposure to PM2.5 and the involvement of circRNA in its regulation. A PM2.5 respiratory tract exposure model was established in SPF SD male rats with a dose of 20 mg/kg, and liver tissue of rats in control group and PM2.5-exposed groups rats were detected. The results of ICP-MS showed that Mn, Cu and Ni were enriched in the liver. HE staining showed significant pathological changes in liver tissues of PM2.5-exposed group, transmission electron microscopy showed significant changes in mitochondrial structure of liver cells, and further mitochondrial function detection showed that the PM2.5 exposure resulted in an increase in cell reactive oxygen species content and a decrease in mitochondrial transmembrane potential, while the expression of SOD1 and HO-1 antioxidant oxidase genes was upregulated. Through high-throughput sequencing of circRNAs, we observed a significant down-regulation of 10 and an up-regulation of 17 circRNAs in the PM2.5-exposed groups. The functional enrichment and pathway analyses indicated that the differentially expressed circRNAs by PM2.5 exposure were primarily associated with processes related to protein ubiquitination, zinc ion binding, peroxisome function, and mitochondrial regulation. These findings suggest that the mechanism underlying liver injury induced by PM2.5-exposure may be associated with mitochondrial impairment resulting from the presence of heavy metal constituents. Therefore, this study provides a novel theoretical foundation for investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying liver injury induced by PM2.5 exposure.

PMID:38789588 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-024-62748-y