4 years ago

Modifications of autophagy influenced the Alzheimer-like changes in SH-SY5Y cells promoted by ultrafine black carbon

Yu Shang, Mingyuan Liu, Tiantian Wang, Lu Wang, Huixin He, Yufang Zhong, Guangren Qian, Jing An, Tong Zhu, Xinghua Qiu, Jing Shang, Yingjun Chen

Publication date: March 2019

Source: Environmental Pollution, Volume 246

Author(s): Yu Shang, Mingyuan Liu, Tiantian Wang, Lu Wang, Huixin He, Yufang Zhong, Guangren Qian, Jing An, Tong Zhu, Xinghua Qiu, Jing Shang, Yingjun Chen


Ambient ultrafine black carbon (uBC) can potentially cross blood-brain barrier, however, very little is currently known about the effects they may have on central nervous system. This study aimed to explore the roles of autophagy in Alzheimer-like pathogenic changes promoted by uBC in SH-SY5Y cells. We firstly found uBC could cause cytotoxicity and oxidative stress in SH-SY5Y cells. Additionally we found uBC initiated progressive development of Alzheimer's disease (AD) associated features, mainly including neuro-inflammation and phosphorylation of tau protein (p-Tau) accumulation. Meanwhile, autophagy process was activated by uBC probably through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/Akt) pathway. RNA interference and autophagosome-lysosome fusion inhibitor were applied to block autophagy process at different stages. Autophagy dysfunction at the initial membrane expansion stage could aggravate p-Tau accumulation and other Alzheimer-like changes in SH-SY5Y cells promoted by uBC. However, autophagy inhibition at the final stage could alleviate p-Tau accumulation caused by uBC. This suggested that inhibition of the infusion of autophagosome and lysosome could possibly activate ubiquitination degradation pathway to regulate p-Tau equilibrium in SH-SY5Y cells. Our findings further raise the concerns about the effects of uBC on the risk of AD and indicate potential roles of autophagy in early Alzheimer-like pathogenic changes caused by ambient uBC.

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