April 21, 2023
Journal Article

Rat Bronchoalveolar Lavage Proteome Changes Following E-cigarette Aerosol Exposures


E-cigarette liquids are complex mixtures of chemicals consisting of humectants, such as propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), with nicotine or flavorings added. Published literature emphasizes the toxicity of e-cigarette aerosols with flavorings while much less attention has been given to the biologic effects of humectants. The purpose of the current study was to provide a comprehensive view of the acute biologic effects of e-cigarette aerosols on rat bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) using mass spectrometry-based global proteomics. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to e-cigarette aerosol for 3 hrs/day for 3 consecutive days. Groups included: PG/VG alone, PG/VG + 2.5% nicotine (N), or PG/VG + N + 3.3% vanillin (V). Right lung lobes were lavaged for BAL and supernatants prepared for proteomics. Extracellular BAL S100A9 concentrations and BAL cell staining for citrullinated histone H3 (citH3) were also performed. From global proteomics, ~2,100 proteins were identified from rat BAL. The greatest change in number of BAL proteins occurred with PG/VG exposures alone compared to controls with biological pathways enriched for acute phase responses, extracellular trap formation, and coagulation. Extracellular BAL S100A9 concentrations and the number of citH3+ BAL cells also increased significantly in PG/VG and PG/VG + 2.5% N. In contrast to PG/VG or PG/VG+N, the addition of vanillin to PG/VG+N increased BAL neutrophilia and downregulated lipid transport proteins. In summary, global proteomics support e-cigarette aerosol exposures to PG/VG alone as having a significant biologic effect on the lung independent of nicotine or flavoring with increased markers of extracellular trap formation.

Published: April 21, 2023


Day N.J., J. Wang, C.J. Johnston, S. Kim, H.M. Olson, E. House, and I.K. Attah, et al. 2023. Rat Bronchoalveolar Lavage Proteome Changes Following E-cigarette Aerosol Exposures. American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 324, no. 5:L571 - L583. PNNL-SA-182179. doi:10.1152/ajplung.00016.2023

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