Effect of Lead on Human Middle Ear Epithelial Cells

Biomed Res Int. 2018 Mar 6;2018:5058729. doi: 10.1155/2018/5058729. eCollection 2018.


Lead is a ubiquitous metal in the environment, but no studies have examined lead toxicity on the middle ear. Here, we investigated lead toxicity and its mechanism in human middle ear epithelial cells (HMEECs). Moreover, we investigated the protective effects of amniotic membrane extract (AME) and chorionic membrane extract (CME) against lead toxicity in HMEECs. Cell viability was analyzed using the cell counting kit, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity was measured using a cellular ROS detection kit. After lead(II) acetate trihydrate treatment, mRNA levels of various genes were assessed by semiquantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Following treatment with AME or CME after lead exposure, the changes in cell viability, ROS activity, and gene expression were analyzed. Exposure to >100 μg/mL of lead(II) acetate trihydrate caused a significant decrease in cell viability and increased ROS production in HMEECs. Lead exposure significantly increased the mRNA expression of genes encoding inflammatory cytokines and mucins. Administration of AME or CME restored cell viability, reduced ROS activity, and ameliorated mRNA levels. Our findings suggest that environmental lead exposure is related to the development of otitis media, and AME and CME may have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects against lead toxicity.