Variability in the Clearance of Lead Oxide Nanoparticles Is Associated with Alteration of Specific Membrane Transporters

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Lead oxide nanoparticles (PbONPs), upon their entry into the lungs via inhalation, induce structural changes in primary and secondary target organs. The fate and ultrastructural localization of PbONPs in organs is known to be dependent on the specific organ. Here, we focused on the differences in the ability to clear the inhaled PbONPs from secondary target organs and on molecular and cellular mechanisms contributing to nanoparticle removal. Mice were exposed to PbONPs in whole-body inhalation chambers. Clearance of ionic lead and PbONPs (Pb/PbONPs) from the lungs and liver was very effective, with the lead being almost completely eliminated from the lungs and the physiological state of the lung tissue conspicuously restored. Kidneys exposed to nanoparticles did not exhibit serious signs of damage; however, LA-ICP-MS uncovered a certain amount of lead located preferentially in the kidney cortex even after a clearance period. The concentration of lead in femurs, as representatives of the axial skeleton, was the highest among studied organs at all designated time points after PbONP exposure, and the clearance ability of lead from the femurs was very low in contrast to other organs. The organ-specific increase of ABC transporters expression (ABCG2 in lungs and ABCC3 in the liver) was observed in exposed animals, suggesting their involvement in removing Pb/PbONPs from tissues. Moreover, the expression of caveolins and clathrin displayed a tissue-specific response to lead exposure. Our results uncovered high variability among the organs in their ability to clear Pb/PbONPs and in the transporters involved in this process.

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Jana Dumková, Tereza Smutná, Lucie Vrlíková, Hana Kotasová, Bohumil Dočekal, Lukáš Čapka, Michaela Tvrdoňová, Veronika Jakešová, Vendula Pelková, Kamil Křůmal, Pavel Coufalík, Pavel Mikuška, Zbyněk Večeřa, Tomáš Vaculovič, Zuzana Husáková, Viktor Kanický, Aleš Hampl, and Marcela Buchtová