Suppression of PTPN6 exacerbates aluminum oxide nanoparticle-induced COPD-like lesions in mice through activation of STAT pathway

Part Fibre Toxicol. 2017 Dec 12;14(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s12989-017-0234-0.


Background: Inhaled nanoparticles can deposit in the deep lung where they interact with pulmonary cells. Despite numerous studies on pulmonary nanotoxicity, detailed molecular mechanisms of specific nanomaterial-induced lung injury have yet to be identified.

Results: Using whole-body dynamic inhalation model, we studied the interactions between aluminum oxide nanoparticles (Al2O3 NPs) and the pulmonary system in vivo. We found that seven-day-exposure to Al2O3 NPs resulted in emphysema and small airway remodeling in murine lungs, accompanied by enhanced inflammation and apoptosis. Al2O3 NPs exposure led to suppression of PTPN6 and phosphorylation of STAT3, culminating in increased expression of the apoptotic marker PDCD4. Rescue of PTPN6 expression or application of a STAT3 inhibitor, effectively protected murine lungs from inflammation and apoptosis, as well as, in part, from the induction of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-like effects.

Conclusion: In summary, our studies show that inhibition of PTPN6 plays a critical role in Al2O3 NPs-induced COPD-like lesions.

Keywords: Aluminum oxide nanoparticles; PTPN6; Experimental COPD; Inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Aluminum Oxide / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / enzymology
  • Lung / physiology
  • Male
  • Metal Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phosphorylation
  • Pneumonia / chemically induced
  • Pneumonia / enzymology
  • Pneumonia / pathology
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 6 / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / enzymology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / pathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / chemically induced
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / enzymology
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / pathology
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Pdcd4 protein, mouse
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Stat3 protein, mouse
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 6
  • Ptpn6 protein, mouse
  • Aluminum Oxide