Aims: To explore the signaling mechanism associated with the inhibitory effect of nicotine on tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- α expression in human airway epithelial cells.
Methods: HBE16 airway epithelial cells were cultured and incubated with either nicotine or cigarette smoke extract (CE). Cells were then transfected with α1, α5, or α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR)-specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). The effects of nicotine on the production of proinflammatory factors TNF-α, in transfected cells were analyzed. Furthermore, we assayed the expression levels of myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88) protein, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) p65 protein, NF-κB activity and NF-κB inhibitor alpha (I-κBα) expression in cells after treatment with nicotine or α7 nAChR inhibitor, α -bungarotoxin (α-BTX).
Results: The production of TNF-α was lower in cells pretreated with nicotine before lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, compared with LPS-only-treated cells. In contrast, in α7 siRNA-transfected cells incubated with nicotine and LPS, TNF-α expression was higher than that in non-transfected cells or in α1 or α5 siRNA-transfected cells. Addition of MyD88 siRNA or the NF-κB inhibitor pyridine-2,6-dithiocarboxylic acid (PDTC) also reduced TNF-α expression. Furthermore, we found that nicotine decreased MyD88 protein, NF-κB p65 protein, NF-κB activity and phospho-I-κBα expression induced by CE or LPS. The inhibitor α-BTX could reverse these effects.
Conclusion: Nicotine reduces TNF-α expression in HBE16 airway epithelial cells, mainly through an α7 nAChR/MyD88/NF-κB pathway.
Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.