Gene and metabolite time-course response to cigarette smoking in mouse lung and plasma

PLoS One. 2017 Jun 2;12(6):e0178281. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178281. eCollection 2017.


Prolonged cigarette smoking (CS) causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a prevalent serious condition that may persist or progress after smoking cessation. To provide insight into how CS triggers COPD, we investigated temporal patterns of lung transcriptome expression and systemic metabolome changes induced by chronic CS exposure and smoking cessation. Whole lung RNA-seq data was analyzed at transcript and exon levels from C57Bl/6 mice exposed to CS for 1- or 7 days, for 3-, 6-, or 9 months, or for 6 months followed by 3 months of cessation using age-matched littermate controls. We identified previously unreported dysregulation of pyrimidine metabolism and phosphatidylinositol signaling pathways and confirmed alterations in glutathione metabolism and circadian gene pathways. Almost all dysregulated pathways demonstrated reversibility upon smoking cessation, except the lysosome pathway. Chronic CS exposure was significantly linked with alterations in pathways encoding for energy, phagocytosis, and DNA repair and triggered differential expression of genes or exons previously unreported to associate with CS or COPD, including Lox, involved in matrix remodeling, Gp2, linked to goblet cells, and Slc22a12 and Agpat3, involved in purine and glycerolipid metabolism, respectively. CS-induced lung metabolic pathways changes were validated using metabolomic profiles of matched plasma samples, indicating that dynamic metabolic gene regulation caused by CS is reflected in the plasma metabolome. Using advanced technologies, our study uncovered novel pathways and genes altered by chronic CS exposure, including those involved in pyrimidine metabolism, phosphatidylinositol signaling and lysosome function, highlighting their potential importance in the pathogenesis or diagnosis of CS-associated conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Metabolome*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / blood
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / genetics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / blood
  • Smoking / genetics*
  • Smoking / metabolism*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Transcriptome*