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Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Apr 1;28(7):1125-31.

Exposure to cigarette smoke increases apoptosis in the rat gastric mucosa through a reactive oxygen species-mediated and p53-independent pathway.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, HKSAR, China.


Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for gastric cancer and peptic ulcer. The aim of our study was to investigate the relationship between exposure to cigarette smoke and apoptosis in the rat gastric mucosa and the mechanism involved. Rats were exposed to different concentrations of cigarette smoke (0, 2, and 4%) once daily for a different number of 1 h periods (1, 3, 6, and 9 d). Apoptosis was identified by the terminal deoxy-transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) method and caspase-3 activity. The mucosal xanthine oxidase (XO) activity and p53 level were also measured. The results showed that exposure to cigarette smoke produced a time- and concentration-dependent increase in apoptosis in the rat gastric mucosa that was accompanied by an increase in XO activity. The increased apoptosis and XO activity could be detected after even a single exposure. In contrast, the level of p53 was elevated only in the later stage of cigarette smoke exposure. The apoptotic effect could be blocked by pretreatment with an XO inhibitor (allopurinol, 20 mg/kg intraperitoneally) or a hydroxyl free radical scavenger (DMSO, 0.2%, 1 ml/kg intravenously). However, neither of these treatments had any effect on the p53 level of the mucosa. In summary, we conclude that exposure to cigarette smoke can increase apoptosis in the rat gastric mucosa through a reactive oxygen species- (ROS) mediated and a p53-independent pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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