Effects of 10 cigarette smoke condensates on primary human airway epithelial cells by comparative gene and cytokine expression studies

Toxicol Sci. 2010 Mar;114(1):79-89. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfp298. Epub 2009 Dec 15.


Cigarettes vary in tobacco blend, filter ventilation, additives, and other physical and chemical properties, but little is known regarding potential differences in toxicity to a smoker's airway epithelia. We compared changes in gene expression and cytokine production in primary normal human bronchial epithelial cells following treatment for 18 h with cigarette smoke condensates (CSCs) prepared from five commercial and four research cigarettes, at doses of approximately 4 microg/ml nicotine. Nine of the CSCs were produced under a standard International Organization for Standardization smoking machine regimen and one was produced by a more intense smoking machine regimen. Isolated messenger RNA (mRNA) was analyzed by microarray hybridization, and media was analyzed for secreted cytokines and chemokines. Twenty-one genes were differentially expressed by at least 9 of the 10 CSCs by more than twofold, including genes encoding detoxifying and antioxidant proteins. Cytochrome P450, family 1, subfamily A, polypeptide 1 (CYP1A1) and NAD(P)H dehydrogenase, quinone 1 (NQO-1) were selected for validation with quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot analyses. NQO-1 expression determined with microarrays, qRT-PCR, and Western blotting differed among the CSC types, with good correlation among the different assays. CYP1A1 mRNA levels varied substantially, but there was little correlation with the protein levels. For each CSC, the three most induced and three most repressed genes were identified. These genes may be useful as markers of exposure to that particular cigarette type. Furthermore, differences in interleukin-8 secretion were observed. These studies lay the foundation for future investigations to analyze differences in the responses of in vivo systems to tobacco products marketed with claims of reduced exposure or reduced harm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone) / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Respiratory Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone)
  • NQO1 protein, human

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE18235