CD34+ derived macrophage and dendritic cells display differential responses to paraquat

Leonie F.H. Fransen, Martin Leonard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Paraquat (PQ) is a redox cycling herbicide known for its acute toxicity in humans. Airway parenchymal cells have been identified as primary sites for PQ accumulation, tissue inflammation and cellular injury. However, the role of immune cells in PQ induced tissue injury is largely unknown. To explore this further, primary cultures of human CD34+ stem cell derived macrophages (MCcd34) and dendritic cells (DCcd34) were established and characterised using RNA-Seq profiling. The impact of PQ on DCcd34 and MCcd34 cytotoxicity revealed increased effect within DCcd34 cultures. PQ toxicity mechanisms were examined using sub-cytotoxic concentrations and TempO-seq transcriptomic assays. Comparable increases for several stress response pathway (NFE2L2, NF-kB and HSF) dependent genes were observed across both cell types. Interestingly, PQ induced unfolded protein response (UPR), p53, Irf and DC maturation genes in DCcd34 but not in MCcd34. Further exploration of the immune modifying potential of PQ was performed using the common allergen house dust mite (HD). Co-treatment of PQ and HD resulted in enhanced inflammatory responses within MCcd34 but not DCcd34. These results demonstrate immune cell type differential responses to PQ, that may underlie aspects of acute toxicity and susceptibility to inflammatory disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105198
Number of pages11
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Early online date9 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The work was funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action-Innovative Training Network project in3, under grant no. 721975 . This study is part funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Exposures and Health, a partnership between Public Health England and Imperial College London. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Open Access: No Open Access licence

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Citation: Leonie F.H. Fransen, Martin O. Leonard, CD34+ derived macrophage and dendritic cells display differential responses to paraquat, Toxicology in Vitro, Volume 75, 2021, 105198, ISSN 0887-2333



  • Lung
  • Myeloid
  • TempO-Seq
  • Transcriptomics


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