Cellular pathways affected by carbon nanopowder-benzo(α)pyrene complex in human skin fibroblasts identified by proteomics

A. Binelli, S. Magni, C. La Porta, L. Bini, C. Della Torre, M. Ascagni, D. Maggioni, A. Ghilardi, A. Armini, C. Landi, N. Santo, L. Madaschi, V. Coccè, F. Mutti, M. C. Lionetti, E. Ciusani, L. Del Giacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the crucial and unsolved problems of the airborne carbon nanoparticles is the role played by the adsorbed environmental pollutants on their toxicological effect. Indeed, in the urban areas, the carbon nanoparticles usually adsorb some atmospheric contaminants, whose one of the leading representatives is the benzo(α)pyrene. Herein, we used the proteomics to investigate the alteration of toxicological pathways due to the carbon nanopowder-benzo(α)pyrene complex in comparison with the two contaminants administered alone on human skin-derived fibroblasts (hSDFs) exposed for 8 days in semi-static conditions. The preliminary confocal microscopy observations highlighted that carbon-nanopowder was able to pass through the cell membranes and accumulate into the cytoplasm both when administered alone and with the adsorbed benzo(α)pyrene. Proteomics revealed that the effect of carbon nanopowder-benzo(α)pyrene complex seems to be related to a new toxicological behavior instead of simple additive or synergistic effects. In detail, the cellular pathways modulated by the complex were mainly related to energy shift (glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway), apoptosis, stress response and cellular trafficking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-153
Number of pages10
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - Sep 30 2018


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Nanoparticles
  • Omics
  • Particulate matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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