Contribution of pulmonary CYP-mediated bioactivation of naphthalene to airway epithelial injury in the lung

Nataliia Kovalchuk, Qing Yu Zhang, Laura Van Winkle, Xinxin Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Previous studies have established that cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) in both liver and lung are capable of bioactivating naphthalene (NA), an omnipresent air pollutant and possible human carcinogen, in vitro and in vivo. The aim of this study was to examine the specific contribution of pulmonary CYPs in airway epithelial cells to NA-induced airway toxicity. We used a lung-Cpr-null mouse model, which undergoes doxycycline-induced, Cre-mediated deletion of the Cpr (a redox partner of all microsomal CYPs) gene specifically in airway epithelial cells. In 2-month-old lung-Cpr-null mice, Cpr deletion occurred in 75%-82% of epithelial cells of conducting airways. The extent of NA-induced acute lung toxicity (as indicated by total protein concentration and lactate dehydrogenase activity in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid collected at 24-h after initiation of a 4-h, nose-only, 10-ppm NA inhalation exposure) was substantially lower (by 37%-39%) in lung-Cpr-null mice, compared with control littermates. Moreover, the extent of cellular proliferation (as indicated by 5-bromo-20-deoxyuridine incorporation) was noticeably lower in both proximal and distal airways (by 59% and 65%, respectively) of NA-treated lung- Cpr-null mice, compared with control littermates, at 2-day post-NA inhalation exposure. A similar genotype-related difference in the extent of postexposure cell proliferation was also observed in mice exposed to NA via intraperitoneal injection at 200 mg/kg. These results directly validate the hypothesis that microsomal CYP enzymes in airway epithelial cells play a large role in causing injury to airway epithelia following exposure to NA via either inhalation or intraperitoneal route.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-346
Number of pages13
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Airway toxicity
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Inhalation exposure
  • Naphthalene
  • P450 reductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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