Effects of E-Cigarette Aerosols with Varying Levels of Nicotine on Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Mice

Chem Res Toxicol. 2021 Apr 19;34(4):1161-1168. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.1c00033. Epub 2021 Mar 24.


To provide insights into the cause of e-cigarette (e-cig) associated lung injury, we examined the effects of propylene glycol (PG) and glycerol (G), two common solvent carriers used to deliver nicotine/flavor, on markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in female B6C3F1 mice which had been used successfully in tobacco smoke (TS)-induced lung carcinogenesis. Mice exposed to air and TS were used as negative and positive controls, respectively. Using LC-MS/MS, we showed that PG/G alone, in the absence of nicotine, significantly increased the levels of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG or its tautomer 8-oxodG), a biomarker of DNA oxidative damage, in lung and plasma of mice; moreover, addition of nicotine (12 and 24 mg/mL) in e-cig liquid appears to suppress the levels of 8-oxodG. Exposure to e-cig aerosols or TS induced nonsignificant increases of plasma C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation; nonetheless, the levels of fibronectin (FN), a biomarker of tissue injury, were significantly increased by e-cig aerosols or TS. Although preliminary, our data showed that exposure to e-cig aerosols induced a higher score of lung injury than did control air or TS exposure. Our results indicate that the B6C3F1 mouse model may be suitable for an in-depth examination of the impact of e-cig on lung injury associated with oxidative stress and inflammation and this study adds to the growing evidence that the use of e-cig can lead to lung damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine / analysis*
  • Aerosols / administration & dosage
  • Aerosols / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Inflammation / chemically induced*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects


  • Aerosols
  • Biomarkers
  • Nicotine
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine