Cigarette smoke extract increases vascular endothelial growth factor production via TLR4/ROS/MAPKs/NF-kappaB pathway in nasal fibroblast

Jae Min Shin, Joo Hoo Park, Hwee Jin Kim, Il Ho Park, Heung Man Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of various chemical compounds, including free radicals and highly toxic compounds. Cigarette smoke exposure has been shown to be associated with chronic rhinosinusitis and tissue remodeling in upper airway. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the cytokines with a crucial role in tissue remodeling of airway. The aims of this study were to determine the effects of cigarette smoke extract (CSE) on VEGF expression and to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms of CSE in nasal fibroblasts. Methods: Nasal fibroblasts were stimulated with CSE. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by 3-(4,5- dimethylthiazol-2yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide assay. The expression level of VEGF was measured using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression level of TLR4 were determined by RT-PCR. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) for TLR4 was transfected to suppress TLR4 expression. Activation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was analyzed by using dichloro-dihydro-fluorescein diacetate assay. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and NF-kappaB activations were determined by using western blot and/or luciferase assay. Results: CSE had no significant cytotoxic effect in nasal fibroblast up to 5%. CSE significantly increased both VEGF mRNA and protein expression dose-dependently. The down-regulation of TLR4 transcription by siRNA treatment suppressed CSE-induced expressions of both TLR4 and VEGF. Pretreatment with ROS scavengers, specific inhibitors of each MAPK, and NF-kappaB inhibitor significantly decreased CSE-induced VEGF expression. Conclusions: CSE has a stimulatory effect on VEGF expression through the TLR4, ROS, MAPK, and NF-kappaB signaling pathway in nasal fibroblasts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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