Early transcriptional responses of bronchial epithelial cells to whole cigarette smoke mirror those of in-vivo exposed human bronchial mucosa

Anne M van der Does, Rashad M Mahbub, Dennis K Ninaber, Senani N H Rathnayake, Wim Timens, Maarten van den Berge, Hananeh Aliee, Fabian J Theis, Martijn C Nawijn, Pieter S Hiemstra, Alen Faiz*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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BACKGROUND: Despite the well-known detrimental effects of cigarette smoke (CS), little is known about the complex gene expression dynamics in the early stages after exposure. This study aims to investigate early transcriptomic responses following CS exposure of airway epithelial cells in culture and compare these to those found in human CS exposure studies.

METHODS: Primary bronchial epithelial cells (PBEC) were differentiated at the air-liquid interface (ALI) and exposed to whole CS. Bulk RNA-sequencing was performed at 1 h, 4 h, and 24 h hereafter, followed by differential gene expression analysis. Results were additionally compared to data retrieved from human CS studies.

RESULTS: ALI-PBEC gene expression in response to CS was most significantly changed at 4 h after exposure. Early transcriptomic changes (1 h, 4 h post CS exposure) were related to oxidative stress, xenobiotic metabolism, higher expression of immediate early genes and pro-inflammatory pathways (i.e., Nrf2, AP-1, AhR). At 24 h, ferroptosis-associated genes were significantly increased, whereas PRKN, involved in removing dysfunctional mitochondria, was downregulated. Importantly, the transcriptome dynamics of the current study mirrored in-vivo human studies of acute CS exposure, chronic smokers, and inversely mirrored smoking cessation.

CONCLUSION: These findings show that early after CS exposure xenobiotic metabolism and pro-inflammatory pathways were activated, followed by activation of the ferroptosis-related cell death pathway. Moreover, significant overlap between these transcriptomic responses in the in-vitro model and human in-vivo studies was found, with an early response of ciliated cells. These results provide validation for the use of ALI-PBEC cultures to study the human lung epithelial response to inhaled toxicants.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftRespiratory Research
StatusPublished - 2-sep-2022

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