Assessment of mitochondrial function following short- and long-term exposure of human bronchial epithelial cells to total particulate matter from a candidate modified-risk tobacco product and reference cigarettes

Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 May;115:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.02.013. Epub 2018 Feb 13.


Mitochondrial dysfunction caused by cigarette smoke is involved in the oxidative stress-induced pathology of airway diseases. Reducing the levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents by heating rather than combusting tobacco may reduce mitochondrial changes that contribute to oxidative stress and cell damage. We evaluated mitochondrial function and oxidative stress in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS 2B) following 1- and 12-week exposures to total particulate matter (TPM) from the aerosol of a candidate modified-risk tobacco product, the Tobacco Heating System 2.2 (THS2.2), in comparison with TPM from the 3R4F reference cigarette. After 1-week exposure, 3R4F TPM had a strong inhibitory effect on mitochondrial basal and maximal oxygen consumption rates compared to TPM from THS2.2. Alterations in oxidative phosphorylation were accompanied by increased mitochondrial superoxide levels and increased levels of oxidatively damaged proteins in cells exposed to 7.5 μg/mL of 3R4F TPM or 150 μg/mL of THS2.2 TPM, while cytosolic levels of reactive oxygen species were not affected. In contrast, the 12-week exposure indicated adaptation of BEAS-2B cells to long-term stress. Together, the findings indicate that 3R4F TPM had a stronger effect on oxidative phosphorylation, gene expression and proteins involved in oxidative stress than TPM from the candidate modified-risk tobacco product THS2.2.

Keywords: BEAS-2B cells; Cigarette; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial respiratory chain; Oxidative stress; Tobacco heating system.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / cytology
  • Bronchi / drug effects*
  • Bronchi / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Smoke / adverse effects
  • Smoke / analysis
  • Tobacco / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Products / adverse effects*


  • Particulate Matter
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Smoke