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Zhu J.,Hubei University | Zhu J.,Hubei Key Laboratory of Allergy and Immune related Diseases | Wang H.,Hubei University | Wang H.,Hubei Key Laboratory of Allergy and Immune related Diseases | And 18 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Benzene is an occupational toxicant and an environmental pollutant that potentially causes hematotoxicity and leukemia in exposed populations. Epidemiological studies suggest an association between an increased incidence of childhood leukemia and benzene exposure during the early stages of pregnancy. However, experimental evidence supporting the association is lacking at the present time. It is believed that benzene and its metabolites target hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to cause toxicity and cancer in the hematopoietic system. In the current study, we compared the effects of hydroquinone (HQ), a major metabolite of benzene in humans and animals, on mouse embryonic yolk sac hematopoietic stem cells (YS-HSCs) and adult bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells (BM-HSCs). YS-HSCs and BM-HSCs were isolated and enriched, and were exposed to HQ at increasing concentrations. HQ reduced the proliferation and the differentiation and colony formation, but increased the apoptosis of both YS-HSCs and BM-HSCs. However, the cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of HQ were more apparent and reduction of colony formation by HQ was more severe in YS-HSCs than in BM-HSCs. Differences in gene expression profiles were observed in HQ-treated YS-HSCs and BM-HSCs. Cyp4f18 was induced by HQ both in YS-HSCs and BM-HSCs, whereas DNA-PKcs was induced in BM-HSCs only. The results revealed differential effects of benzene metabolites on embryonic and adult HSCs. The study established an experimental system for comparison of the hematopoietic toxicity and leukemogenicity of benzene and metabolites during mouse embryonic development and adulthood.


Zhu J.,Hubei University | Zhu J.,Hubei Key Laboratory of Allergy and Immune related Diseases | Bi Z.,Hubei Provincial Academy for Preventive Medicine | Yang T.,Hubei University | And 23 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Benzene is an occupational toxicant and an environmental pollutant that is able to induce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing oxidative stress and damages of the macromolecules in target cells, such as the hematopoietic stem cells. We had previously found that embryonic yolk sac hematopoietic stem cells (YS-HSCs) are more sensitive to benzene toxicity than the adult bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells, and that nuclear factor-erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is the major regulator of cytoprotective responses to oxidative stress. In the present report, we investigated the effect of PKM2 and Nrf2-ARE pathway on the cellular antioxidant response to oxidative stress induced by benzene metabolite benzoquinone (BQ) in YS-HSC isolated from embryonic yolk sac and enriched by magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS). Treatment of the YS-HSC with various concentrations of BQ for 6 hours induces ROS generation in a dose-dependent manner. Additional tests showed that BQ is also capable of inducing expression of NADPH oxidase1 (NOX1), and several other antioxidant enzymes or drugmetabolizing enzymes, including heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase and NAD(P)H dehydrogenase quinone 1 (NQO1). Concomitantly, only the expression of PKM2 protein was decreased by the treatment of BQ but not the PKM2 mRNA, which suggested that BQ may induce PKM2 degradation. Pretreatment of the cells with antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) decreased ROS generation and prevented BQ-induced PKM2 degradation, suggesting involvement of ROS in the PKM2 protein degradation in cellular response to BQ. These findings suggest that BQ is a potent inducer of ROS generation and the subsequent antioxidant responses of the YS-HSC. The accumulated ROS may attenuate the expression of PKM2, a key regulator of the pyruvate metabolism and glycolysis. © 2014 Zhu et al.

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