Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 633–642 | Cite as

Diesel exhaust particulate extracts inhibit transcription of nuclear respiratory factor-1 and cell viability in human umbilical vein endothelial cells

Molecular Toxicology


Endothelial dysfunction precedes cardiovascular disease and is accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction. Here we tested the hypothesis that diesel exhaust particulate extracts (DEPEs), prepared from a truck run at different speeds and engine loads, would inhibit genomic estrogen receptor activation of nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1) transcription in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Additionally, we examined how DEPEs affect NRF-1-regulated TFAM expression and, in turn, Tfam-regulated mtDNA-encoded cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI, MTCO1) and NADH dehydrogenase subunit I (NDI) expression as well as cell proliferation and viability. We report that 17β-estradiol (E2), 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT), and raloxifene increased NRF-1 transcription in HUVECs in an ER-dependent manner. DEPEs inhibited NRF-1 transcription, and this suppression was not ablated by concomitant treatment with E2, 4-OHT, or raloxifene, indicating that the effect was not due to inhibition of ER activity. While E2 increased HUVEC proliferation and viability, DEPEs inhibited viability but not proliferation. Resveratrol increased NRF-1 transcription in an ER-dependent manner in HUVECs, and ablated DEPE inhibition of basal NRF-1 expression. Given that NRF-1 is a key nuclear transcription factor regulating genes involved in mitochondrial activity and biogenesis, these data suggest that DEPEs may adversely affect mitochondrial function leading to endothelial dysfunction and resveratrol may block these effects.


Endothelial cells Diesel exhaust Diesel exhaust particles NRF-1, Mitochondrial activity, Resveratrol 



This project was supported by NIH R01 DK53220 to C.M.K. and American Heart Association pre-doctoral fellowship 315087B to K.A.M. We thank Dr. Ryoichi Kizu for the DEPEs used in this study. We thank Dr. Barbara J. Clark for her suggestions for this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Center for Genetics and Molecular MedicineUniversity of Louisville School of MedicineLouisvilleUSA

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