Thioredoxin-1 suppresses lung injury and apoptosis induced by diesel exhaust particles (DEP) by scavenging reactive oxygen species and by inhibiting DEP-induced downregulation of Akt

M. Kaimul Ahsan, Hajime Nakamura, Masaki Tanito, Kenichi Yamada, Hideo Utsumi, Junji Yodoi

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Diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are reactive oxygen species (ROS)-inducing toxic agents that damage lungs. Thioredoxin-1 (Trx-1) is a thiol protein with antioxidant and redox-regulating effects. In this study, we demonstrate that Trx-1 scavenges ROS generated by DEP and attenuates the lung injury. Intratracheal instillation of DEP resulted in the generation of more hydroxyl radicals in control mice than in human Trx-1 (hTrx-1)-transgenic mice as measured by noninvasive L-band in vivo electron spin resonance. DEP caused acute lung damage with massive infiltration of inflammatory cells in control mice, but much less damage in hTrx-1-transgenic mice. The hTrx-1 transgene protected the mice against DEP toxicity. To investigate further the molecular mechanism of the protective role of Trx-1 against DEP-induced lung injury, we used hTrx-1-transfected L-929 cells and recombinant hTrx-1 (rhTrx-1)-pretreated A-549 cells. DEP-induced ROS generation was suppressed by hTrx-1 transfection or pretreatment with rhTrx-1. Endogenous Trx-1 expression was induced by DEP in control cells. The downregulation of Akt phosphorylation by DEP resulted in apoptosis, which was prevented by Trx-1. Moreover, an Akt inhibitor canceled this protective effect of Trx-1. Collectively, the results suggest that Trx-1 exerts antioxidant effects in vivo and in vitro and that this plays a role in protection against DEP-induced lung damage by regulating Akt-mediated antiapoptotic signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1559
Number of pages11
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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