Soluble transition metals in welding fumes cause inflammation via activation of NF-B and AP-1

McNeilly, J.D. and Jimenez, L. A. and Clay, M. F. and MacNee, W and Howe, A. and Heal, M.R. and Beverland, I J and Donaldson, K. (2004) Soluble transition metals in welding fumes cause inflammation via activation of NF-B and AP-1. Toxicology Letters, 158 (2). pp. 152-157. ISSN 0378-4274 (

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We previously reported that the molecular pro-inflammatory effects of welding fumes in vitro were caused by soluble transition metals via an oxidative stress-mediated mechanism. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that transition metals in welding fume drive the in vivo inflammatory response caused by welding fume. Rats were instilled with either whole, soluble extract or washed welding fume particulates or soluble extracts pre-treated with a transition metal chelator. Markers of pulmonary inflammation were measured in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and nuclear translocation of transcription factor was assessed in BAL cells by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Instillation of either whole or soluble fractions of welding fume caused a significant influx of inflammatory cells and other markers of inflammation in the BALF 24 h later. MIP-2 protein in BALF and nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB and AP-1 were significantly greater following instillation of whole and soluble fractions than in saline-instilled lungs. Chelation of the soluble fraction, to remove transition metals, abolished the ability to cause inflammation, MIP-2 increase or transcription factor translocation to the nucleus. Instillation of washed particulates alone caused no significant change in any end-point compared to saline. This study demonstrates that soluble transition metals present in welding fumes cause inflammation via activation of the redox-sensitive transcription factors NF-kappaB and AP-1 and confirms the validity of utilising in vitro models to assess inflammatory responses to such particles.


McNeilly, J.D., Jimenez, L. A., Clay, M. F., MacNee, W, Howe, A., Heal, M.R., Beverland, I J ORCID logoORCID: and Donaldson, K.;