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Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
IF: 1.15 5-Year IF: 1.4 SJR: 0.519 SNIP: 0.613 CiteScore™: 1.61

ISSN Print: 0731-8898
ISSN Online: 2162-6537

Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology

DOI: 10.1615/JEnvironPatholToxicolOncol.v31.i4.40
pages 335-347

Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-lα Increase is an Early and Sensitive Marker of Lung Cells Responding to Benzo[a]Pyrene

Olga Mavrofrydi
Division of Animal and Human Physiology, Department of Biology, University of Athens, 15784 Panepistimiopolis, Ilissia, Athens, Greece
Panagiota Papazafiri
Division of Animal and Human Physiology, Department of Biology, University of Athens, 15784 Panepistimiopolis, Ilissia, Athens, Greece

ABSTRACT

Hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-lα) is a central regulator of tumor survival and metastasis, responsible for metabolic adaptation to hypoxic conditions and promotion of angiogenesis. It has been also shown to respond to non-hypoxic stimuli, such as growth factors and moderate oxidative stress. We examined the protein levels of HIF-lα in A549 human lung cells exposed to the typical carcinogen benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P). Our results revealed that B[a]P, at low, non-cytotoxic concentrations, induced a transient increase of nuclear HIF-lα and its target, GLUT1. HIF-lα upregulation was partly mediated by Akt kinase and coincided with increased nuclear levels of the redox-sensitive marker, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor-2 (NrF-2). B[a]P-induced HIF-lα was also detected during serum depletion or treatment with the hypoxia-mimicking agent, CoCl2. In addition, exposure of A549 cells to B[a]P containing diesel exhaust particles enhanced HIF-lα accumulation, probably due to the presence of additional carcinogenic compounds. B[a]P-induced increase of HIF-lα was further confirmed in normal rat and human lung fibroblasts. Our findings indicate that HIF-lα stimulation may act as an early and sensitive marker of exposure to low, non-cytotoxic concentrations of B[a]P and/or other carcinogens.


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