Over 400,000 people are estimated to have been exposed to World Trade Center particulate matter (WTCPM) since the attack on the Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001. Epidemiological studies have found that exposure to dust may cause respiratory ailments and cardiovascular diseases. However, limited studies have performed a systematic analysis of transcriptomic data to elucidate the biological responses to WTCPM exposure and the therapeutic options. Here, we developed an in vivo mouse exposure model of WTCPM and administered two drugs (i.e., rosoxacin and dexamethasone) to generate transcriptomic data from lung samples. WTCPM exposure increased the inflammation index, and this index was significantly reduced by both drugs. We analyzed the transcriptomics derived omics data using a hierarchical systems biology model (HiSBiM) with four levels, including system, subsystem, pathway, and gene analyses. Based on the selected differentially expressed genes (DEGs) from each group, WTCPM and the two drugs commonly affected the inflammatory responses, consistent with the inflammation index. Among these DEGs, the expression of 31 genes was affected by WTCPM exposure and consistently reversed by the two drugs, and these genes included Psme2, Cldn18, and Prkcd, which are involved in immune- and endocrine-related subsystems and pathways such as thyroid hormone synthesis, antigen processing and presentation, and leukocyte transendothelial migration. Furthermore, the two drugs reduced the inflammatory effects of WTCPM through distinct pathways, e.g., vascular-associated signaling by rosoxacin, whereas mTOR-dependent inflammatory signaling was found to be regulated by dexamethasone. To the best of our knowledge, this study constitutes the first investigation of transcriptomics data of WTCPM and an exploration of potential therapies. We believe that these findings provide strategies for the development of promising optional interventions and therapies for airborne particle exposure.
- Hierarchical Systems Biology Model
- Pulmonary inflammation
- World Trade Center dust