Monocyte adhesion induced by multi-walled carbon nanotubes and palmitic acid in endothelial cells and alveolar–endothelial co-cultures

<p>Free palmitic acid (PA) is a potential pro-atherogenic stimulus that may aggravate particle-mediated cardiovascular health effects. We hypothesized that the presence of PA can aggravate oxidative stress and endothelial activation induced by multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) exposure <i>in vitro</i>. We investigated the interaction between direct exposure to MWCNTs and PA on THP-1 monocyte adhesion to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), as well as on indirect exposure in an alveolar–endothelial co-culture model with A549 cells and THP-1-derived macrophages exposed in inserts and the effect measured in the lower chamber on HUVECs and THP-1 cells. The exposure to MWCNTs, including a short (NM400) and long (NM402) type of entangled fibers, was associated with elevated levels of reactive oxygen species as well as a decrease in the intracellular glutathione concentration in HUVEC and A549 monocultures. Both effects were found to be independent of the presence of PA. MWCNT exposure significantly increased THP-1 monocyte adhesion to HUVECs, and co-exposure to PA aggravated the NM400-mediated adhesion but decreased the NM402-mediated adhesion. For the co-cultures, the exposure of A549 cells did not promote THP-1 adhesion to HUVECs in the lower chamber. When THP-1 macrophages were present on the cell culture inserts, there was a modest increase in the adhesion and an increase in interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 levels in the lower chamber whereas no tumor necrosis factor was detected. Overall, this study showed that direct exposure of HUVECs to MWCNTs was associated with oxidative stress and monocyte adhesion and the presence of PA increased the adhesion when exposed to NM400.</p>