Background: Electronic-cigarette (e-cig) usage, particularly in the youth population, is a growing concern. It is known that e-cig causes endothelial dysfunction, which is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases; however, the mechanisms involved remain unclear. We hypothesized that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) may play a role in e-cig-induced endothelial dysfunction.
Methods: Here, we identified lncRNAs that are dysregulated in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs) following 24 h of e-cig aerosol extract treatment via microarray analysis. We performed Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genome (KEGG) pathway analyses of the dysregulated mRNAs following e-cig exposure and constructed co-expression networks of the top 5 upregulated lncRNAs and the top 5 downregulated lncRNAs and the mRNAs that are correlated with them. Furthermore, the functional effects of knocking down lncRNA lung cancer-associated transcript 1 (LUCAT1) on EC phenotypes were determined as it was one of the significantly upregulated lncRNAs following e-cig exposure based on our profiling.
Results: 183 lncRNAs and 132 mRNAs were found to be upregulated, whereas 297 lncRNAs and 413 mRNAs were found to be downregulated after e-cig exposure. We also observed that e-cig caused dysregulation of endothelial metabolism resulting in increased FAO activity, higher mitochondrial membrane potential, and decreased glucose uptake and glycolysis. These results suggest that e-cig alters EC metabolism by increasing FAO to compensate for energy deficiency in ECs. Finally, the knockdown of LUCAT1 prevented e-cig-induced EC dysfunction by maintaining vascular barrier, reducing reactive oxygen species level, and increasing migration capacity.
Conclusion: This study identifies an expression profile of differentially expressed lncRNAs and several potential regulators and pathways in ECs exposed to e-cig, which provide insights into the regulation of lncRNAs and mRNAs and the role of lncRNA and mRNA networks in ECs associated e-cig exposure.
Keywords: e-cigarettes; endothelial dysfunction; fatty acid oxidation; iPSC-ECs; lncRNAs.
© 2021. The Author(s).