Developmental Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke Increases Adult Atherogenesis and Alters Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number and Deletions in apoE-/- Mice

Jessica L. Fetterman, Melissa Pompilius, David G. Westbrook, Dale Uyeminami, Jamelle Brown, Kent E Pinkerton, Scott W. Ballinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. While many studies have focused upon the effects of adult second-hand smoke exposure on cardiovascular disease development, disease development occurs over decades and is likely influenced by childhood exposure. The impacts of in utero versus neonatal second-hand smoke exposure on adult atherosclerotic disease development are not known. The objective of the current study was to determine the effects of in utero versus neonatal exposure to a low dose (1 mg/m3 total suspended particulate) of second-hand smoke on adult atherosclerotic lesion development using the apolipoprotein E null mouse model. Consequently, apolipoprotein E null mice were exposed to either filtered air or second-hand smoke: (i) in utero from gestation days 1-19, or (ii) from birth until 3 weeks of age (neonatal). Subsequently, all animals were exposed to filtered air and sacrificed at 12-14 weeks of age. Oil red-O staining of whole aortas, measures of mitochondrial damage, and oxidative stress were performed. Results show that both in utero and neonatal second-hand smoke exposure significantly increased adult atherogenesis in mice compared to filtered air controls. These changes were associated with changes in aconitase and mitochondrial superoxide dismutase activities consistent with increased oxidative stress in the aorta, changes in mitochondrial DNA copy number and deletion levels. These studies show that in utero or neonatal exposure to second-hand smoke significantly influences adult atherosclerotic lesion development and results in significant alterations to the mitochondrion and its genome that may contribute to atherogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere66835
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 25 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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