Protective effects of thalidomide on pulmonary injuries in a rat model of paraquat intoxication
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Abstract Background This study was designed to evaluate the protective effects of thalidomide on paraquat (PQ)-induced lung injuries in a rat model and to explore the underlying mechanisms. Methods Rats were exposed to 50 mg/kg PQ by oral gavage, and treated with thalidomide through oral administration at 60 mg/kg once a day, 6 days/week for 2 weeks. Serum levels of IL-6, TNF-alpha, TGFbeta1 and COL1A1 were detected at different time points after paraquat exposure. At the end of the study, lung tissues were collected for pathological inspection as well as analyses of water content and expression levels of IL-6, TNF-alpha, TGFbeta1 and COL1A1 mRNA. Results The results showed that thalidomide treatment could significantly alleviate PQ-induced pathological changes in lung tissue and severity of lung edema. Thalidomide treatment after PQ exposure resulted in significantly reduced serum levels of IL-6, TNF-alpha, TGF-beta1 and COL1A1, as compared to PQ group. PCR analysis demonstrated that expression levels of IL-6, TNF-alpha, TGF-beta1 and COL1A1 in lung tissue were significantly increased after PQ exposure but reduced by thalidomide, which were confirmed by immunohistochemistry staining. Conclusions Our results indicated that inflammatory factors played important roles in PQ-induced lung injuries and thalidomide could protect rats from PQ-induced lung injuries by inhibiting the upregulation of inflammatory factors.