pp 1-9 | Cite as

Phagocytosis and Autophagy in THP-1 Cells Exposed to Urban Dust: Possible Role of LC3-Associated Phagocytosis and Canonical Autophagy

  • A. HolowniaEmail author
  • A. Niechoda
  • J. Lachowicz
  • E. Golabiewska
  • U. Baranowska
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series


Exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) increases mortality and morbidity due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of standardized urban dust (UD) on phagocytosis and autophagy in a monocyte-macrophage cell line (THP-1 cells). The cells were grown for 24 h in the medium supplemented with 200 μg·mL−1 coarse carbon black (CB) or UD. In some experiments glutathione (GSH) was depleted in THP-1 cells by buthionine sulfoximine. The cells were double stained with green latex beads (phagocytosis) and with red autophagy marker (LC3) and were evaluated in a flow cytometer. In naïve THP-1 cells, about 61% of them were classified as “negative,” while 39% were classified as “double-positive.” Both GSH depletion and UD treatment produced three distinct subpopulations of cells on bivariate scatterplots. A new subpopulation of cells (about 24% of the total number) appeared, with a lower autophagy and phagocytosis, but with a higher autophagy/phagocytosis ratio, when compared to highly positive cells. CB affected, to some extent, phagocytosis without a substantial effect on autophagy. In conclusion, the research on distinct pathways of immune cell activation may be relevant to the diagnostics and therapy of PM-induced pneumotoxicity, inflammation, and tumorigenesis.


Autophagy Carbon black Phagocytosis THP-1 cells Urban dust 


Conflicts of Interest

The authors had no conflicts of interest to declare in relation to this article.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Holownia
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Niechoda
    • 1
  • J. Lachowicz
    • 1
  • E. Golabiewska
    • 1
  • U. Baranowska
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyMedical UniversityBialystokPoland

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