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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Metabolomics reveals metabolic changes in male reproductive cells exposed to thirdhand smoke.

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Thirdhand smoke (THS) is a new term for the toxins in cigarette smoke that linger in the environment long after the cigarettes are extinguished. The effects of THS exposure on male reproduction have not yet been studied. In this study, metabolic changes in male germ cell lines (GC-2 and TM-4) were analyzed after THS treatment for 24 h. THS-loaded chromatography paper samples were generated in a laboratory chamber system and extracted in DMEM. At a paper: DMEM ratio of 50 μg/ml, cell viability in both cell lines was normal, as measured by the MTT assay and markers of cytotoxicity, cell cycle, apoptosis and ROS production were normal as measured by quantitative immunofluorescence. Metabolomic analysis was performed on methanol extracts of GC-2 and TM-4 cells. Glutathione metabolism in GC-2 cells, and nucleic acid and ammonia metabolism in TM-4 cells, was changed significantly by THS treatment. RT-PCR analyses of mRNA for enzyme genes Gss and Ggt in GC-2 cells, and TK, SMS and Glna in TM-4 cells reinforced these findings, showing changes in the levels of enzymes involved in the relevant pathways. In conclusion, exposure to THS at very low concentrations caused distinct metabolic changes in two different types of male reproductive cell lines.

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