This study was designed to investigate the effect of particulate matter with a diameter of ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5) on bleomycin (BLM) induced pulmonary fibrosis. Thirty-two Sprague Dawley rats were assigned into four groups (intratracheal instillation of 500 μL of PBS (control),
2 mg/kg PM2.5, 3.5 mg/kg BLM A5, and BLM plus 2.0 mg/kg PM2.5) and were fed for 14 days. All rats were sacrificed after the study. Lung tissues and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were prepared for histological and biological analysis. We found that PM2.5 caused
dose-trend pulmonary alveolitis and fibrosis. Histological scores, expression of α-SMA and Collagen I as well as contents of TNF-α and IL-6 in lung tissues were upregulated by treatment of PM2.5. PM2.5 did not change the percentage of neutrophils and macrophages.
The expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers Chop and GRP78 was upregulated by treatment of PM2.5. In comparison with either PM2.5 or BLM treatment, BLM plus PM2.5 treatment induced higher histological scores, higher expression of α-SMA,
collagen I, TNF-α, IL-6, Chop, and GRP78, with increased neutrophil counts and decreased macrophage counts. We concluded that PM2.5 instillation caused pulmonary alveolitis and fibrosis by stimulating ER stress responses in rat. PM2.5 also showed a synergistic effect
on BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis.
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