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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Double impact of cigarette smoke and mechanical ventilation on the alveolar epithelial type II cell

  • Author(s): Hirsch, J
  • Chalkley, RJ
  • Bentley, T
  • Burlingame, AL
  • Frank, JA
  • et al.

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Introduction: Ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) impacts clinical outcomes in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is characterized by neutrophil-mediated inflammation and loss of alveolar barrier function. Recent epidemiological studies suggest that smoking may be a risk factor for the development of ARDS. Because alveolar type II cells are central to maintaining the alveolar epithelial barrier during oxidative stress, mediated in part by neutrophilic inflammation and mechanical ventilation, we hypothesized that exposure to cigarette smoke and mechanical strain have interactive effects leading to the activation of and damage to alveolar type II cells.Methods: To determine if cigarette smoke increases susceptibility to VILI in vivo, a clinically relevant rat model was established. Rats were exposed to three research cigarettes per day for two weeks. After this period, some rats were mechanically ventilated for 4 hours. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and differential cell count was done and alveolar type II cells were isolated. Proteomic analysis was performed on the isolated alveolar type II cells to discover alterations in cellular pathways at the protein level that might contribute to injury. Effects on levels of proteins in pathways associated with innate immunity, oxidative stress and apoptosis were evaluated in alveolar type II cell lysates by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Statistical comparisons were performed by t-tests, and the results were corrected for multiple comparisons using the false discovery rate.Results: Tobacco smoke exposure increased airspace neutrophil influx in response to mechanical ventilation. The combined exposure to cigarette smoke and mechanical ventilation significantly increased BAL neutrophil count and protein content. Neutrophils were significantly higher after smoke exposure and ventilation than after ventilation alone. DNA fragments were significantly elevated in alveolar type II cells. Smoke exposure did not significantly alter other protein-level markers of cell activation, including Toll-like receptor 4; caspases 3, 8 and 9; and heat shock protein 70.Conclusions: Cigarette smoke exposure may impact ventilator-associated alveolar epithelial injury by augmenting neutrophil influx. We found that cigarette smoke had less effect on other pathways previously associated with VILI, including innate immunity, oxidative stress and apoptosis. © 2014 Hirsch et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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