Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(1):24-33. doi:10.7150/ijbs.28633

Research Paper

PM2.5 Exposure Induces More Serious Apoptosis of Cardiomyocytes Mediated by Caspase3 through JNK/ P53 Pathway in Hyperlipidemic Rats

Qin Wang2*, Xiangdong Gan1*, Fei Li3, Yao Chen1, Wenliang Fu1, Xiaoming Zhu1, Dongqun Xu2, Minhui Long1,3✉, Donggang Xu1✉

1. Institute of Military Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Beijing, China.
2. National Institute of Environmental Health, Chinese center for disease control and prevention, Beijing, China
3. College of Life Science, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.
*Contributed equally.

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Wang Q, Gan X, Li F, Chen Y, Fu W, Zhu X, Xu D, Long M, Xu D. PM2.5 Exposure Induces More Serious Apoptosis of Cardiomyocytes Mediated by Caspase3 through JNK/ P53 Pathway in Hyperlipidemic Rats. Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(1):24-33. doi:10.7150/ijbs.28633. Available from

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Exposure to airborne particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equivalent to 2.5 microns (PM2.5) easily induces acute myocardial infarction in populations with high-risk cardiovascular diseases such as hyperlipidemia, but its mechanism remains unclear. In this study, hyperlipidemic rats were used to examine the effects of PM2.5 exposure on the cardiovascular system and the mechanism for its induction of cardiovascular events. We found that PM2.5 exposure resulted in bigger changes in the myocardial enzyme profile (cTnI, LDH, CK, CK-MB) in hyperlipidemic rats than that of control rats, as well as a significant increase in the C-reactive protein (CRP) level and a decrease in the superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. It promoted a hypercoagulable state, significantly increased blood pressure and heart rate, while decreased the variability of heart rate in hyperlipidemic rats. In addition, pathological test showed that PM2.5 exposure more easily deteriorated myocardial injury in hyperlipidemic rats. It upregulated the phosphorylation levels of myocardial c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) and P53, resulting in the elevated expression of downstream effector protein Bax and the decreased expression of Bcl-2, and then increased caspase3 level leading to cardiomyocyte apoptosis, while little change of caspase2 was observed. Taken together, PM2.5 exposure induced more serious inflammation and oxidative stress in the circulation system of hyperlipidemic rats, promoted a hypercoagulable state and triggered cardiomyocyte apoptosis, in which JNK/P53 pathway played a key role.

Keywords: PM2.5 exposure, hyperlipidemia, cardiacmyocyte apoptosis, JNK/P53 pathway, caspase3