Background: There have been many recent developments of in vitro cigarette smoke systems closely replicating in vivo exposures. The Borgwaldt RM20S smoking machine (RM20S) enables the serial dilution and delivery of cigarette smoke to exposure chambers for in vitro analyses. In this study we have demonstrated reliability and robustness testing of the RM20S in delivering smoke to in vitro cultures using an in-house designed whole smoke exposure chamber.
Results: The syringe precision and accuracy of smoke dose generated by the RM20S was assessed using a methane gas standard and resulted in a repeatability error of ≤9%. Differential electrical mobility particle spectrometry (DMS) measured smoke particles generated from reference 3R4F cigarettes at points along the RM20S. 53% ± 5.9% of particles by mass reached the chamber, the remainder deposited in the syringe or connecting tubing and ~16% deposited in the chamber. Spectrofluorometric quantification of particle deposition within chambers indicated a positive correlation between smoke concentration and particle deposition. In vitro air-liquid interface (ALI) cultures (H292 lung epithelial cells), exposed to whole smoke (1:60 dilution (smoke:air, equivalent to ~5 μg/cm2)) demonstrated uniform smoke delivery within the chamber.
Conclusions: These results suggest this smoke exposure system is a reliable and repeatable method of generating and exposing ALI in vitro cultures to cigarette smoke. This system will enable the evaluation of future tobacco products and individual components of cigarette smoke and may be used as an alternative in vitro tool for evaluating other aerosols and gaseous mixtures such as air pollutants, inhaled pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.