Air pollution causes lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and other pulmonary diseases 2023
Air pollution and lung illness are well known. A new study suggests a biological pathway that may explain that relationship, which might lead to better pollution-related illness treatment and prevention. The study discovered that ambient nanoparticles, or extremely small air contaminants, trigger autophagy, which may limit cells’ capacity to resist other threats.
This may explain why air pollution raises the risk of lung cancer, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, and COPD. Air pollution causes illnesses, notably lung disorders. “We don’t know the mechanisms,” said USC Keck School of Medicine pathology professor Edward Crandall.
Researchers tested lung adenocarcinoma cells.
The researchers discovered that nanoparticles increase cell autophagy activity to a threshold. These investigations suggest that autophagy has a limit beyond which it cannot safeguard the cell, Crandall said.
They first exposed the cells to nanoparticles, then rapamycin, which stimulates autophagy, and finally both. Autophagy activity always reached a plateau. Thus, cells may be unable to increase autophagy to protect against smoke inhalation or viral or bacterial infections.
Autophagy helps healthy cells but hinders cancer cell destruction. The team suggested that manipulating cell autophagy may prevent and treat illness.