Metabolomics and proteomics study reveals the effects of benzo[a]pyrene on the viability and migration of KYSE-150 esophageal cells

Yuting Shen, Guangshan Xie, Siyi Lin, Lin Zhu, Hongna Zhang, Zhu Yang*, Zongwei Cai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153761
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Metabolomics
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
  • Proteomics


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