A representative polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), has been widely detected in environmental compartments and is highly carcinogenic to humans. Oral ingestion of B[a]P is the dominant exposure pathway. The esophagus acts as the first contact point when B[a]P enters the human body. However, its role in the development of human esophageal cancer is rarely discussed. Herein, we employed untargeted metabolomics in combination with proteomics to explore B[a]P-related intracellular responses in human esophageal cell lines. Our results demonstrated that B[a]P exposure induced significant metabolic disorders, further leading to overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and disturbance of the cellular viability process and migration ability of esophageal cells. In response, glutathione (GSH) was consumed to meet the demand for cellular detoxification, and thioredoxin (TXN) was upregulated to balance the cellular redox. These alterations caused the reregulation of some specific protein families, including S100A proteins, ribosomal proteins, and histone H1 proteins. Such changes impeded the viability and migration of esophageal cells, which could adversely affect wound healing of the epithelium. These cellular responses indicate that B[a]P will cause serious cellular damage to esophageal cells and increase the carcinogenic risk even as a result of short-term exposure. Synopsis: Our omics study demonstrated how benzo[a]pyrene hampered the migration of esophageal cells and proposed a plausible mechanism underlying its carcinogenicity, which may contribute to our understanding of environmental pollutants.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Esophageal cancer
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon