Benzo[a]pyrene induces fibrotic changes and impairs differentiation in lung stem cells

Yi Hsin Tseng, Yu Chi Chen, Alice L. Yu, John Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

11 Scopus citations


Human activities have generated air pollution, with extremely small particles (PM 2.5, particulate matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter) and liquid droplets, which become a menace to human health. Among the pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which enhance the risks of pulmonary dysfunction and cancer development, have been extensively studied. Numerous studies have addressed the effects of PAHs on the respiratory system, whereas the effects on lung stem/progenitor cells remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence that benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), a major toxic PAH, induces fibrotic changes with a loss of α-1,6-fucosylation in CD54+CD157+CD45 cells (lung stem cells). In studies with aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) antagonist, we found that these effects by BaP are independent of the canonical AHR pathway. In addition, these BaP-induced fibrotic changes are reduced by TGF-β antagonist, suggesting an alternative pathway of BaP toxicity is different from other PAH/AHR signaling pathways. Finally, it was observed that BaP impairs the spheroid formation and the podoplanin expression of CD54+CD157+CD45 cells, indicating that BaP suppresses the differentiation of lung stem cells. Taken together, our findings reveal specific BaP-induced injuries in CD54+CD157+CD45 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111892
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - 01 03 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Core fucosylation
  • Differentiation
  • Fibrosis
  • Lung stem cell
  • PAH


Dive into the research topics of 'Benzo[a]pyrene induces fibrotic changes and impairs differentiation in lung stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this