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Transl Res. 2010 Dec;156(6):326-34. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Nicotine suppresses inflammatory factors in HBE16 airway epithelial cells after exposure to cigarette smoke extract and lipopolysaccharide.

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Division of Respiratory Medicine, Second Affiliated Hospital, Chongqing Medical University, No. 74 Linjiang Road, Yuzhong, Chongqing, China.

Erratum in

  • Transl Res. 2011 May;157(5):322.


Cigarette smoke is a major cause of chronic inflammatory pulmonary disease, leading to inflammation, mucin (MUC) production, tissue damage, and remodeling. It is also well known that the major addictive component of cigarette smoke is nicotine. This study focused on the role of nicotine in the development of inflammatory pulmonary disease induced by cigarette smoke. HBE16 human airway epithelial cells were treated with serial dilutions of cigarette smoke chloroform extract (CE), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and nicotine. The release of MUC5AC, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-8, and IL-6 protein were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The MUC5AC protein also was observed by immunofluorescence. The expression of MUC5AC, TNF-α, IL-8, and IL-6 mRNA were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction. We found that the mRNA of the proinflammatory mediators TNF-α, IL-8, and IL-6, as well as MUC5AC was highly expressed after CE and LPS stimulation. Nicotine did not cause an excessive expression of TNF-α, IL-8, and IL-6, nor did it affect protein production from the MUC5AC gene. Nicotine not only failed to stimulate production of TNF-α, IL-8, and IL-6, but its presence was shown to suppress the activation resulting from exposure to CE and LPS (P < 0.05). Preincubation with nicotine also would reduce the level of MUC5AC protein in culture supernatants of CE- and LPS-treated cells. However, mRNA expression of MUC5AC showed no significant change in nicotine-treated cells when compared with normal control cells. This distinctive pattern implies that nicotine may have potential to suppress airway inflammation and maintain the mucus over retention in airway secretory cells to some extent, thus forming a balance between mucus hyperproduction and hypersecretion in airways exposed to smoking and LPS.

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