Chronic Exposure to Cigarette Smoke and Chewing Tobacco Alters Expression of microRNAs in Esophageal Epithelial Cells

Microrna. 2018;7(1):28-37. doi: 10.2174/2211536607666171213123907.


Background: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common cancers with high mortality rate. Cigarette smoke and chewing tobacco are well known risk factors associated with ESCC. However, molecular mechanisms associated with development of ESCC among smokers and chewers are poorly understood. MicroRNAs play an important role in regulating physiological and disease processes including esophageal cancer.

Objective and methods: In this study, we developed an in vitro model by treating non-neoplastic Het- 1A esophageal cell line with cigarette smoke and chewing tobacco. We carried out miRNA sequencing on Illumina HiSeq 2500 platform and compared miRNA expression pattern across cigarette smoke and chewing tobacco treated Het-1A cells with untreated cells.

Results: We identified and quantified 433 miRNAs in both smoke exposed and chewing tobacco treated cells, of which 13 miRNAs showed significantly altered expression in cigarette smoke exposed cells while 25 miRNAs showed significantly altered expression in chewing tobacco treated cells. In addition, we predicted novel miRNAs from these data-sets. We evaluated miRNAs that showed selective or context dependent expression pattern in cigarette smoke exposed or chewing tobacco treated cells.

Conclusion: In this study, we have comprehensively mapped miRNA expression pattern in response to cigarette smoke and chewing tobacco in Het-1A cells. We identified miRNAs that show altered expression in these cell models.

Keywords: Chewing tobacco extract; cigarette smoke condensate; esophageal cancer; miRNA sequencing; nicotine; novel miRNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / chemically induced
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Esophagus / drug effects*
  • Esophagus / metabolism
  • Esophagus / pathology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects*


  • MicroRNAs