141 Assessing the ecological impacts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons petroleum pollutants using a network toxicity model

Wang S., Li C., Zhang L., Chen Q., Wang S. (2024) Environmental Research, 245, art. no. 117901,  DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.117901

ABSTRACT: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are significant petroleum pollutants that have long-term impacts on human health and ecosystems. However, assessing their toxicity presents challenges due to factors such as cost, time, and the need for comprehensive multi-component analysis methods. In this study, we utilized network toxicity models, enrichment analysis, and molecular docking to analyze the toxicity mechanisms of PAHs at different levels: compounds, target genes, pathways, and species. Additionally, we used the maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) value and risk quotient (RQ) as an indicator for the potential ecological risk assessment of PAHs. The results showed that higher molecular weight PAHs had increased lipophilicity and higher toxicity. Benzo[a]pyrene and Fluoranthene were identified as core compounds, which increased the risk of cancer by affecting core target genes such as CCND1 in the human body, thereby influencing signal transduction and the immune system. In terms of biological species, PAHs had a greater toxic impact on aquatic organisms compared to terrestrial organisms. High molecular weight PAHs had lower effective concentrations on biological species, and the ecological risk was higher in the Yellow River Delta region. This research highlights the potential application of network toxicity models in understanding the toxicity mechanisms and species toxicity of PAHs and provides valuable insights for monitoring, prevention, and ecological risk assessment of these pollutants.

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