Similarities and differences between smoking-related gene expression in nasal and bronchial epithelium

X Zhang, P Sebastiani, G Liu, F Schembri, Y. M Dumas, E. M Langer, Y Alekseyev, G. T O'Connor, D. R Brooks, M. E Lenburg and A. Spira

Physiological Genomics, 2010, 41(1), 1-8. DOI: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00167.2009

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that physiological responses to cigarette smoke can be detected via bronchial airway epithelium gene expression profiling and that heterogeneity in this gene expression response to smoking is associated with lung cancer. In this study, we sought to determine the similarity of the effects of tobacco smoke throughout the respiratory tract by determining patterns of smoking-related gene expression in paired nasal and bronchial epithelial brushings collected from 14 healthy nonsmokers and 13 healthy current smokers. Using whole genome expression arrays, we identified 119 genes whose expression was affected by smoking similarly in both bronchial and nasal epithelium, including genes related to detoxification, oxidative stress, and wound healing. While the vast majority of smoking-related gene expression changes occur in both bronchial and nasal epithelium, we also identified 27 genes whose expression was affected by smoking more dramatically in bronchial epithelium than nasal epithelium. Both common and site-specific smoking-related gene expression profiles were validated using independent microarray datasets. Differential expression of select genes was also confirmed by RT-PCR. That smoking induces largely similar gene expression changes in both nasal and bronchial epithelium suggests that the consequences of cigarette smoke exposure can be measured in tissues throughout the respiratory tract. Our findings suggest that nasal epithelial gene expression may serve as a relatively noninvasive surrogate to measure physiological responses to cigarette smoke and/or other inhaled exposures in large-scale epidemiological studies.

ASCI-ID: 1289-97