In the present study, we investigated the role of Nrf2 in airway immune responses induced by diesel exhaust (DE) inhalation in mice. C57BL/6J Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− mice were exposed to DE or clean air for 8 h/day and 6 days/week for 4 weeks. After DE exposure, the number of neutrophils and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2 level in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and interleukin (IL)-17 level in the lung tissue increased in Nrf2−/− mice compared with Nrf2+/+ mice; however, the lack of an increase in the level of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in the lung tissue in Nrf2+/+ mice and mild suppression of the level of TNF-α in Nrf2−/− mice were observed; the level of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in the lung tissue decreased in Nrf2−/− mice than in Nrf2+/+ mice; the number of DE particle-laden alveolar macrophages in BALF were larger in Nrf2−/− mice than in Nrf2+/+ mice. The results of electron microscope observations showed alveolar type II cell injury and degeneration of the lamellar body after DE exposure in Nrf2−/− mice. Antioxidant enzyme NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase (NQO)1 mRNA expression level was higher in Nrf2+/+ mice than in Nrf2−/− mice after DE exposure. Our results suggested that Nrf2 reduces the risk of pulmonary disease via modulating the airway innate immune response caused by DE in mice.
- Immune response
- Lung diseases
- Oxidative stress/anti-oxidative stress