Autophagy dysregulation in trichloroethene-mediated inflammation and autoimmune response

Hui Wang, Nivedita Banerjee, Gangduo Wang, M. Firoze Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Trichloroethene (TCE), an organic solvent extensively used for degreasing metals, can cause inflammatory autoimmune disorders [i.e., systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and autoimmune hepatitis] from both environmental and occupational exposure. Autophagy has emerged as a pivotal pathogenic factor in various autoimmune diseases. However, role of autophagy dysregulation in TCE-mediated autoimmunity is largely unknown. Here, we investigate whether autophagy dysregulation contributes to pathogenesis of TCE-mediated autoimmune responses. Using our established mouse model, we observed TCE-treated mice had elevated MDA-protein adducts, microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 conversion (LC3-II/LC3-I), beclin-1, phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) phosphorylation in the livers of MRL+ /+ mice. Suppression of oxidative stress with antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) effectively blocked TCE-mediated induction of autophagy markers. On the other hand, pharmacological autophagy induction with rapamycin significantly reduced TCE-mediated hepatic inflammation (NLRP3, ASC, Caspase1 and IL1-β mRNA levels), systemic cytokines (IL-12 and IL-17) and autoimmune responses (ANA and anti-dsDNA levels). Taken together, these results suggest that autophagy plays a protective role against TCE-mediated hepatic inflammation and autoimmunity in MRL+ /+ mice. These novel findings on the regulation of autophagy could help in designing therapeutic strategies for chemical exposure-mediated autoimmune responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153468
StatePublished - Mar 15 2023


  • Autoimmunity
  • Autophagy
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Trichloroethene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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