Fluoride Action Network



  • Effects of fluoride on the transcriptome and metabolome in BMSCs were studied.
  • Fluoride inhibited lysosomal function.
  • Glutathione metabolism was the hub affected metabolic processes in fluoride -treated BMSCs.
  • Palmitic acid and prostaglandin metabolisms were associated with lysosomal pathway in fluoride-treated BMSCs.

Fluoride has received much attention for its predominant bone toxicity in the human body. However, the toxic mechanism of bone injury caused by fluoride exposure remains largely unclear. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) are widely used as model cells for evaluating bone toxicity after environmental toxicant exposure. In this study, BMSCs were exposed to fluoride at 1, 2, and 4 mM for 24 h, and fluoride significantly inhibited cell viability at 2 and 4 mM. A multiomics analysis combining transcriptomics with metabolomics was employed to detect alterations in genes and metabolites in BMSCs treated with 2 mM fluoride. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis of transcriptomics profiles identified “lysosomes” as the top enriched pathway, which was severely damaged by fluoride exposure. Lysosomal damage was indicated by decreases in the expression of lysosomal associated membrane protein 2 (LAMP 2) and cathepsin B (CTSB) as well as an increase in pH. Upregulation of the lysosome-related genes Atp6v0b and Gla was observed, which may be attributed to a compensatory lysosomal biogenesis transcriptional response. Interestingly, inhibition of glutathione metabolism was observed in fluoride-treated BMSCs at the metabolomic level. Moreover, an integrative analysis between altered genes, metabolites and lysosome signaling pathways was conducted. Palmitic acid, prostaglandin C2, and prostaglandin B2 metabolites were positively associated with Atp6v0b, a lysosome-related gene. Overall, our results provide novel insights into the mechanism responsible for fluoride-induced bone toxicity.