Issue 5, 2019

Zinc intoxication induces ferroptosis in A549 human lung cells


Zinc (Zn) is an essential trace metal required for all forms of life, but is toxic at high concentrations. While the toxic effects of high levels of Zn are well documented, the mechanism of cell death appears to vary based on the study and concentration of Zn. Zn has been proposed as an anti-cancer treatment against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The goal of this analysis was to determine the effects of Zn on metabolism and cell death in A549 cells. Here, high throughput multi-omics analysis identified the molecular effects of Zn intoxication on the proteome, metabolome, and transcriptome of A549 human NSCLC cells after 5 min to 24 h of Zn exposure. Multi-omics analysis combined with additional experimental evidence suggests Zn intoxication induces ferroptosis, an iron and lipid peroxidation-dependent programmed cell death, demonstrating the utility of multi-omics analysis to identify cellular response to intoxicants.

Graphical abstract: Zinc intoxication induces ferroptosis in A549 human lung cells

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
12 Dec 2018
01 Apr 2019
First published
10 Apr 2019

Metallomics, 2019,11, 982-993

Author version available