Colonic Injuries Induced by Inhalational Exposure to Particulate-Matter Air Pollution

Xiaobo Li, Jian Cui, Hongbao Yang, Hao Sun, Runze Lu, Na Gao, Qingtao Meng, Shenshen Wu, Jiong Wu, Michael Aschner, Rui Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Particulate matter (PM) exposure has been associated with intestinal disorders. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the precise molecular mechanism involved and explore potential prevention strategies. In this study, inhaled PM is shown to activate inflammatory pathways in murine colon. In a panel study, it is found that ambient PM levels are significantly associated with elevated number of fecal white blood cells in healthy subjects. Acting as a promoter, PM exposure accelerates chemical carcinogenesis-induced colonic tumor formation in a murine model. Mechanistically, RNA-seq assays suggest activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT cascades in chronically PM-exposed human colon mucosal epithelial cells. Ablation of up-stream driver fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) effectively inhibits inflammation and neoplasia in PM-exposed murine colons. Notably, dietary curcumin supplement is shown to protect against PM-induced colonic injuries in mice. Collectively, these findings identify that PM exposure accelerates colonic tumorigenesis in a PI3K/AKT-dependent manner and suggests potential nutrient supplement for prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1900180
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 5 2019


  • colon
  • curcumin
  • inflammation
  • particulate matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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