Fine chalk dust induces inflammatory response via p38 and ERK MAPK pathway in rat lung

Yuexia Zhang, Zhenhua Yang, Yunzhu Chen, Ruijin Li, Hong Geng, Wenjuan Dong, Zongwei CAI, Chuan Dong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Chalk teaching is widely used in the world due to low cost, especially in some developing countries. During teaching with chalks, a large amount of fine chalk dust is produced. Although exposure to chalk dust is associated with respiratory diseases, the mechanism underlying the correlation between chalk dust exposure and adverse effects has not fully been elucidated. In this study, inflammation and its signal pathway in rat lungs exposed to fine chalk dust were examined through histopathology analyses; pro-inflammatory gene transcription; and protein levels measured by HE staining, RT-PCR, and western blot analysis. The results demonstrated that fine chalk dust increased neutrophils and up-regulated inflammatory gene mRNA levels (TNF-α, IL-6, TGF-β1, iNOS, and ICAM-1), and oxidative stress marker (HO-1) level, leading to the increase of inflammatory cell infiltration and inflammatory injury on the lungs. These inflammation responses were mediated, at least in part, via p38 and extracellular regulated proteinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling mechanisms. In contrast, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) supplement significantly ameliorated these changes in inflammatory responses. Our results support the hypothesis that fine chalk dust can damage rat lungs and the NAC supplement may attenuate fine chalk dust-associated lung inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1742-1751
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Fine chalk dust
  • Inflammation
  • Lung
  • Pathway


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