Integrated Transcriptomics, Metabolomics, and Lipidomics Profiling in Rat Lung, Blood, and Serum for Assessment of Laser Printer-Emitted Nanoparticle Inhalation Exposure-Induced Disease Risks

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Dec 16;20(24):6348. doi: 10.3390/ijms20246348.


Laser printer-emitted nanoparticles (PEPs) generated from toners during printing represent one of the most common types of life cycle released particulate matter from nano-enabled products. Toxicological assessment of PEPs is therefore important for occupational and consumer health protection. Our group recently reported exposure to PEPs induces adverse cardiovascular responses including hypertension and arrythmia via monitoring left ventricular pressure and electrocardiogram in rats. This study employed genome-wide mRNA and miRNA profiling in rat lung and blood integrated with metabolomics and lipidomics profiling in rat serum to identify biomarkers for assessing PEPs-induced disease risks. Whole-body inhalation of PEPs perturbed transcriptional activities associated with cardiovascular dysfunction, metabolic syndrome, and neural disorders at every observed time point in both rat lung and blood during the 21 days of exposure. Furthermore, the systematic analysis revealed PEPs-induced transcriptomic changes linking to other disease risks in rats, including diabetes, congenital defects, auto-recessive disorders, physical deformation, and carcinogenesis. The results were also confirmed with global metabolomics profiling in rat serum. Among the validated metabolites and lipids, linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, docosahexanoic acid, and histidine showed significant variation in PEPs-exposed rat serum. Overall, the identified PEPs-induced dysregulated genes, molecular pathways and functions, and miRNA-mediated transcriptional activities provide important insights into the disease mechanisms. The discovered important mRNAs, miRNAs, lipids and metabolites may serve as candidate biomarkers for future occupational and medical surveillance studies. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study systematically integrating in vivo, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics to assess PEPs inhalation exposure-induced disease risks using a rat model.

Keywords: biomarkers; inhalation; lipidomics; metabolomics; nanotoxicity; printer emitted nanoparticles; transcriptomics.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Animals
  • Disease / genetics*
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Lipidomics*
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Nanoparticles / adverse effects*
  • Printing
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Risk Factors
  • Serum / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome / genetics*


  • Air Pollutants
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger