According to the recent study published in journal eLife, scientists have discovered the mechanism that explains how small air pollution particles may be responsible for occurrence of lung cancer. These findings could lead to new approaches for treating the initial lung changes. The study focuses on how air pollution alerts lung tissues and thus, increases lung cancer susceptibility.
Zhenzhen Wang has conducted the study between laboratories at Nanjing University and the University of Macau. Wang and colleagues gather Fine Particulate Matter (FPM) from seven areas in China and then examined their influences on the core immune cells that are responsible for guarding against the growth of tumors, called as cytotoxic T-cells (CTLs). In mice with lung cancer cells that were not subjected to FPM, CTLs were used to kill cancer cells. Those mice whose lungs were subjected to FPM, the penetration of CTLs was slow, and thus allowing cancer cells to grow in the tissue.
In this study, the researchers have analyzed the CTLs as well as lung tissue structure. They found that the lung tissue structure and the spaces that immune cells travel between were due to their exposure of FPM. They also found that CTLs were hard to move in lung tissue subjected to FPM while those in the untreated tissue could move easily. Zhenzhen Wang, Study First Author and Associate Researcher, said, “Despite its potential to cause mutations, recent research suggests that FPM does not directly promote – and may even inhibit— the growth of lung cancer cells. This suggests that FPM might lead to cancer through indirect means that support tumour growth. For example, some studies suggest FPM can prevent immune cells from moving to where they are needed.”
This study has revealed a new mechanism by which the inhaled fine particles were responsible for lung tumor development. Their discovery explained how small air pollution particles may cause lung cancer.
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