Determination of genotoxicity attributed to diesel exhaust particles in normal human embryonic lung cell (Wi-38) line

Joong Won Lee, Hee Jae Lee, Young Joo Lee, Yong Beom Lim, Woo Jong Sim, Ji Hye Jang, Hye Ryeon Heo, Hyun Joung Lim, Ji Won Jung, Jin Sik Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Several epidemiological studies concluded that inhalation of diesel exhaust particles (DEP) is associated with an increase in the relative risk of lung cancer. In vitro research evaluating the genetic damage and/or changes in gene expression have been attempted to explain the relationship between DEP exposure and carcinogenicity. However, to date, investigations have been largely confined to studies in immortalized or tumorigenic epithelial cell models. Few studies have investigated damage at the chromosomal level to DEP exposure in normal cell lines. Here, we present the genotoxic effects of DEP in normal cells (embryonic human lung fibroblasts) by conventional genotoxicity testing (micronuclei (MN) and comet assay). We show the differentially expressed genes and enriched pathways in DEP-exposed WI-38 cells using RNA sequencing data. We observed a significant increase in single-strand DNA breaks and the frequency of MN in DEP-exposed cells in a dose-dependent manner. The differentially expressed genes following DEP exposure were significantly enriched in the pathway for responding to xenobiotics and DNA damage. Taken together, these results show that DEP exposure induced DNA damage at the chromosomal level in normal human lung cells and provide information on the expression of genes associated with genotoxic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number291
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by a fund (2019-NI-099-01, 2019-NI-098-01) by the Research of Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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