The herbicide paraquat-induced molecular mechanisms in the development of acute lung injury and lung fibrosis.
Crit Rev Toxicol. 2021 Jan ;51(1):36-64. Epub 2021 Feb 2. PMID: 33528289
The herbicide paraquat (PQ; 1,1'-dimethyl-4,4'-bipyridylium dichloride) is a highly toxic organic heterocyclic herbicide that has been widely used in agricultural settings. Since its commercial introduction in the early 1960s, numerous cases of fatal PQ poisonings attributed to accidental and/or intentional ingestion of PQ concentrated formulations have been reported. The clinical manifestations of the respiratory system during the acute phase of PQ poisoning mainly include acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), followed by pulmonary fibrosis in a later phase. The focus of this review is to summarize the most recent publications related to PQ-induced lung toxicity as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms for PQ-mediated pathologic processes. Growing sets of data from in vitro and in vivo models have demonstrated the involvement of the PQ in regulating lung oxidative stress, inflammatory response, epigenetics, apoptosis, autophagy, and the progression of lung fibrosis. The article also summarizes novel therapeutic avenues based on a literature review, which can be explored as potential means to combat PQ-induced lung toxicity. Finally, we also presented clinical studies on the association of PQ exposure with the incidence of lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis.