Prior exposure to aged and diluted sidestream cigarette smoke impairs bronchiolar injury and repair

Laura S. Van Winkle, Michael J. Evans, Collette D. Brown, Neil H. Willits, Kent E Pinkerton, Charles Plopper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The bronchiolar injury/repair response to naphthalene (NA) in mice includes acute distal airway epithelial injury that is followed by epithelial proliferation and redifferentiation, which result in repair of the epithelium within 14 days. To test whether prior exposure to aged and diluted sidestream cigarette smoke (TS) would alter the injury/repair response of the airway epithelium, adult mice were exposed to either filtered air (FA) or smoke for 5 days before injection with either corn oil carrier (CO) or naphthalene. Mice were killed 1 and 14 days after naphthalene injury. Lung and lobar bronchus were examined and measured using high-resolution epoxyresin sections. The control group (FACOFA) that was exposed to filtered air/corn oil/filtered air contained airway epithelium similar to untreated controls at all airway levels. The group exposed to tobacco smoke/corn oil/filtered air (TSCOFA) contained some rounded cells in the small airways and some expansion of the lateral intercellular space in the larger airways. Necrotic or vacuolated cells were not observed. As expected, the epithelium in the group exposed to filtered air/naphthalene/filtered air (FANAFA) contained many light-staining vacuolated Clara cells and squamated ciliated cells within distal bronchioles during the acute injury phase. Repair (including redifferentiation of epithelial cells and restoration of epithelial thickness) was nearly complete 14 days after injury. The extent of Clara cell injury, as assessed in lobar bronchi, was not different between the four groups. Although the FANAFA group contained greater initial injury in the distal airways at 1 day, the group exposed to tobacco smoke/naphthalene/filtered air (TSNAFA) had the least amount of epithelial repair at 14 days after naphthalene treatment; many terminal bronchioles contained abundant squamated undifferentiated epithelium. We conclude that tobacco smoke exposure prior to injury (1) does not change the target site or target cell type of naphthalene injury, since Clara cells in terminal bronchioles are still selectively injured; (2) results in slightly diminished acute injury from naphthalene in distal bronchioles; and (3) delays bronchiolar epithelial repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Bronchiolar injury and repair
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Clara cells
  • Epithelium
  • Mice
  • Tobacco smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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