ROS generation and p-38 activation contribute to montmorillonite-induced corneal toxicity in vitro and in vivo

Part Fibre Toxicol. 2023 Mar 10;20(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s12989-023-00519-9.


BACKGROUND: Montmorillonite (Mt) and its derivatives are now widely used in industrial and biomedical fields. Therefore, safety assessments of these materials are critical to protect human health after exposure; however, studies on the ocular toxicity of Mt are lacking. In particular, varying physicochemical characteristics of Mt may greatly alter their toxicological potential. To explore the effects of such characteristics on the eyes, five types of Mt were investigated in vitro and in vivo for the first time, and their underlying mechanisms studied.

RESULTS: The different types of Mt caused cytotoxicity in human HCEC-B4G12 corneal cells based on analyses of ATP content, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage, cell morphology, and the distribution of Mt in cells. Among the five Mt types, Na-Mt exhibited the highest cytotoxicity. Notably, Na-Mt and chitosan-modified acidic Na-Mt (C-H-Na-Mt) induced ocular toxicity in vivo, as demonstrated by increases corneal injury area and the number of apoptotic cells. Na-Mt and C-H-Na-Mt also induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in vitro and in vivo, as indicated by 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescin diacetate and dihydroethidium staining. In addition, Na-Mt activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. The pretreatment of HCEC-B4G12 cells with N-acetylcysteine, an ROS scavenger, attenuated the Na-Mt-induced cytotoxicity and suppressed p38 activation, while inhibiting p38 activation with a p38-specific inhibitor decreased Na-Mt-induced cytotoxicity.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that Mt induces corneal toxicity in vitro and in vivo. The physicochemical properties of Mt greatly affect its toxicological potential. Furthermore, ROS generation and p38 activation contribute at least in part to Na-Mt-induced toxicity.

PMID:36899356 | DOI:10.1186/s12989-023-00519-9


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