Background: A series of epidemiological and experimental studies have suggested that diesel exhaust particles (DEP) and formaldehyde (FA) may help trigger T helper type 2 (Th2)-mediated allergic responses. Methods: To identify the molecular events by which DEP and FA induce a Th2-skewed immune response, we stimulated T cells from healthy subjects with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies and examined the effect of pretreatment with DEP or FA on mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB by Western blotting and colorimetric NF-κB assays. We also examined the mRNA expression profiles of the T cells by microarray and real-time PCR analyses. Results:FA selectively suppressed interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin-10 mRNA expression and protein production in stimulated T cells, as we previously reported with DEP. In the present study, we found that both DEP and FA suppressed NF-κB signaling and activated MAPKs. Both also significantly suppressed the mRNA expression of T-bet, Txk and c-Maf. Microarrays revealed significant augmentation of the expression of 2 FoxO3a-dependent genes, namely glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper and growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible gene 45α (Gadd45a), which are known to modulate T cell immune responses. Treatment with N-acetylcysteine reversed the augmented Gadd45a mRNA response and caused the suppressed IFN-γ mRNA response to recover. Conclusions:DEP and FA have similar transcriptional and nontranscriptional effects on T cell signaling that together promote a Th2-skewed immune response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy