Cytotoxicity of fractured quartz on THP-1 human macrophages: Role of the membranolytic activity of quartz and phagolysosome destabilization

Riccardo Leinardi, Cristina Pavan, Harita Yedavally, Maura Tomatis, Anna Salvati*, Francesco Turci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The pathogenicity of quartz involves lysosomal alteration in alveolar macrophages. This event triggers the inflammatory cascade that may lead to quartz-induced silicosis and eventually lung cancer. Experiments with synthetic quartz crystals recently showed that quartz dust is cytotoxic only when the atomic order of the crystal surfaces is upset by fracturing. Cytotoxicity was not observed when quartz had as-grown, unfractured surfaces. These findings raised questions on the potential impact of quartz surfaces on the phagolysosomal membrane upon internalization of the particles by macrophages. To gain insights on the surface-induced cytotoxicity of quartz, as-grown and fractured quartz particles in respirable size differing only in surface properties related to fracturing were prepared and physico-chemically characterized. Synthetic quartz particles were compared to a well-known toxic commercial quartz dust. Membranolysis was assessed on red blood cells, and quartz uptake, cell viability and effects on lysosomes were assessed on human PMA-differentiated THP-1 macrophages, upon exposing cells to increasing concentrations of quartz particles (10–250 µg/ml). All quartz samples were internalized, but only fractured quartz elicited cytotoxicity and phagolysosomal alterations. These effects were blunted when uptake was suppressed by incubating macrophages with particles at 4 °C. Membranolysis, but not cytotoxicity, was quenched when fractured quartz was incubated with cells in protein-supplemented medium. We propose that, upon internalization, the phagolysosome environment rapidly removes serum proteins from the quartz surface, restoring quartz membranolytic activity in the phagolysosomes. Our findings indicate that the cytotoxic activity of fractured quartz is elicited by promoting phagolysosomal membrane alteration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2981-2995
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of toxicology
Volume94
Issue number9
Early online date26-Jun-2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26-Jun-2020

Keywords

  • Macrophages
  • Membrane
  • Phagolysosome
  • Quartz cytotoxicity
  • Quartz surface
  • SILICA-INDUCED APOPTOSIS
  • CRYSTALLINE SILICA
  • NALP3 INFLAMMASOME
  • IN-VITRO
  • NANOPARTICLE UPTAKE
  • PROTEIN CORONA
  • POTENTIAL ROLE
  • PARTICLE-SIZE
  • TOXICITY
  • ACTIVATION

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