Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210009, China; Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Biomaterials and Devices, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210009, China. Electronic address: [Email]
PM2.5 is becoming a worldwide environmental problem, which profoundly endangers public health, thus progressively capturing public attention this decade. As a fragile target of PM2.5, the underlying mechanisms of endothelial cell damage are still obscure. According to the previous microarray data and signaling pathway analysis, a new form of cell death termed ferroptosis in the current study is proposed following PM2.5 exposure. In order to verify the vital role of ferroptosis in PM2.5-induced endothelial lesion and further understand the potential mechanism involved, intracellular iron content, ROS release and lipid peroxidation, as well as biomarkers of ferroptosis were detected, respectively. As a result, uptake of particles increases cellular iron content and ROS production. Meanwhile, GSH depletion, and the decrease of GSH-Px and NADPH play significant roles in PM2.5-induced endothelial cell ferroptosis. Moreover, significantly changed expression of TFRC, FTL and FTH1 hinted that dysfunction of iron uptake and storage is a major inducer of ferroptosis. Importantly, index monitored above can be partially rescued by lipid peroxidation inhibitor ferrostatin-1 and iron chelator deferoxamine mesylate, which mediated antiferroptosis activity mainly depends on the restoration of antioxidant activity and iron metabolism. In conclusion, our data basically show that PM2.5 enhances ferroptosis sensitivity with increased ferroptotic events in endothelial cells, in which iron overload, lipid peroxidation and redox imbalance act pivotal roles.