Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure has a risk of inducing several health problems, especially in the respiratory tract. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and is therefore the primary target of PM2.5. In this study, we examined the effects of PM2.5 on the skin using a human 3-dimensional cultured epidermis model. PM2.5 was collected by cyclonic separation in Yokohama, Japan. Global analysis of 34 proteins released from the epidermis revealed that the chemokines, chemokine C-X-C motif ligand 1 (CXCL1) and interleukin 8 (IL-8), were significantly increased in response to PM2.5 exposure. These chemokines stimulated neutrophil chemotaxis in a C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 2-dependent manner. The oxidative stress and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 pathways may be involved in the increased expression of CXCL1 and IL-8 in the human epidermis model. Interestingly, in the HaCaT human keratinocyte cell line, PM2.5 did not affect chemokine expression but did induce IL-6 expression, suggesting a different effect of PM2.5 between the epidermis model and HaCaT cells. Overall, PM2.5 could induce the epidermis to release chemokines, followed by neutrophil activation, which might cause an unregulated inflammatory reaction in the skin.
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