Environmental aggressions and course of lung diseases


Sophie Lanone Group leader, DR2 Sophie Lanone

Tél.: +33-(0)1 49 81 37 25

Research focus:

Environmental factors, including air pollution, are major causes of chronic non-communicable diseases and premature death in the world today, particularly at the respiratory level. Various mineral particles, such as asbestos or silica, are known for their ability to induce different pulmonary diseases, particularly in the occupational settings. Alongside these mineral particles, there is increasing interest in the detrimental effects of human exposure to nanoparticles (NP). Indeed, as the field of nanotechnology develops, there are thousands of consumer products on the market claiming to contain incorporated NP.


Over the last years, we have developed a specialized research theme dedicated to study the toxicity of mineral particles (mainly asbestos), as well as that of carbon and metallic NP of anthropic origin, with the secondary aim to decipher the relationship between NP toxicity and their physico-chemical characteristics.

More recently, we enlarged our research to the respiratory effects of air pollution as a complex mixture of chemical species.

This research is conducted both at the general population level, but also in the context of occupational exposures, which constitutes a unique specificity of our work.

Moreover, as it is largely accepted that exposure events during pregnancy can significantly influence fetal and postnatal lung development and maturation, we initiated a research focused on the early origins of respiratory diseases linked to environmental contaminants exposure.


Recent results:

Identification of the relations between asbestos exposure, pleural plaques, and occurrence of mesothelioma, lung cancer or colon cancer in asbestos-exposed patients (Environ Health Perspect 2017, Occup Environ Med 2014, AJRCCM 2014, J Natl Cancer Inst 2013)

First evidence of respiratory consequences of occupational exposure to metal NP in welders ( Rep. 2018, Nanotoxicology2016, JACI 2016, Particle & Fibre Toxicol 2014)

Long-term effects of maternal exposure to environmental contaminants (cigarette smoke, metal nanoparticles) during gestation; susceptibility factors to develop lung diseases in adulthood (Environ Health Perspect2017, Nanotoxicology 2017)

NP physico-chemical characteristics such as diameter, length, surface properties or chemical nature are critical determinants of their effects on lung inflammation, oxidative stress and autophagy, as well as their intracellular modification (Autophagy 2018, Particle & Fibre Toxicol2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, AJRCMB 2013)

Specific developments:

PolluRisk platform

PolluRisk platform

A major issue when studying the health effects of air pollution is the extreme complexity of the atmospheric chemical mixture, which is not investigated in experimental studies often focusing on one individual pollutant (usually particulate matter – PM10, PM2.5 – ozone, carbon dioxide).


In the recent years, we largely contributed, in close collaboration with LISA UMR CNRS 7583 (www.lisa.u-pec.fr) to develop an innovative tool dedicated to study the health impact of air pollution: the PolluRisk platform (www.pollurisk.cnrs.fr).





Despite the general acknowledgement by the scientific community that ‘Genetics load the gun but environment pulls the trigger’ there is persistent uncertainty as to the global burden of disease attributable to environmental factors (life-style, climatic, …), including healthcare costs and negative economic impact.

Throughout our lives, we are exposed to a variety of factors, both internal and external, which are a function of our lifestyle, behavior and environment. All these exposures form a concept called “the exposome”, which reflects the cumulative measure of environmental influences and associated biological responses from the perinatal period onwards. Its importance to health and disease is undeniable and the exposome of each individual could completely interact with the way chronic diseases develop and evolve.

In this context, we recently launched a new project, REMEDIA (Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program grant agreement No 874753 – www.h2020-remedia.eu) dedicated to determine how and to what extent the exposome affects the severity and morbidity of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and CF (Cystic Fibrosis) throughout life.


Selected publications

Cohignac V, Landry M, Ridoux A, Pinault M, Annangi B, Gerdil A, Herlin-Boime N, Mayne-L 'hermite M, Haruta M, Codogno P, Boczkowski J, Pairon JC, Lanone S. Carbon nanotubes but not spherical nanoparticles block autophagy process by a shape-related targeting of lysosomes in murine macrophages.

Autophagy. 2018;14(8):1323-1334. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2018.1474993. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Drummond D, Baravalle-Einaudi M, Lezmi G, Vibhushan S, Franco-Montoya ML, Hadchouel A, Boczkowski J, Delacourt C. Combined Effects of in Utero and Adolescent Tobacco Smoke Exposure on Lung Function in C57Bl/6J Mice.

Environ Health Perspect. 2017;125(3):392-399.

Landry M, Pinault M, Tchankouo S, Charon É, Ridoux A, Boczkowski J, Mayne-L'Hermite M, Lanone S. Early signs of multi-walled carbon nanotbues degradation in macrophages, via an intracellular pH-dependent biological mechanism; importance of length and functionalization.

Part Fibre Toxicol. 2016 Nov 24;13(1):61

Andujar P, Simon-Deckers A, Galateau-Sallé F, Fayard B, Beaune G, Clin B, Billon-Galland MA, Durupthy O, Pairon JC, Doucet J, Boczkowski J, Lanone S. Role of metal oxide nanoparticles in histopathological changes observed in the lung of welders.

Part Fibre Toxicol. 2014;11:23.

Pairon JC, Andujar P, Rinaldo M, Ameille J, Brochard P, Chamming’s S, Clin B, Ferretti G, Gislard A, Laurent F, Luc A, Wild P, Paris C. Asbestos exposure, pleural plaques and the risk of death from lung cancer.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014;190:1413-20.