Exposure to electronic cigarette vapors affects pulmonary and systemic expression of circadian molecular clock genes.
Physiol Rep. 2017 Oct ;5(19). Epub 2017 Oct 16. PMID: 29038357
E-cigarette use has exploded in the past years, especially among young adults and smokers desiring to quit. While concerns are mostly based on the presence of nicotine and flavors, pulmonary effects of propylene glycol and glycerol inhalation, the main solvents of e-liquid have not been thoroughly investigated. In this preclinical study, mice were exposed 2 h daily for up to 8 weeks to vapors of propylene glycol and/or glycerol generated by an e-cigarette. Lung transcriptome analysis revealed it affected the expression level of genes of the circadian molecular clock, despite causing no inflammatory response. Periodical sacrifices showed that the rhythmicity of these regulatory genes was indeed altered in the lungs, but also in the liver, kidney, skeletal muscle, and brain. E-cigarette exposure also altered the expression of rhythmic genes (i.e., hspa1a and hspa1b), suggesting that alterations to the 'clock genes' could translate into systemicbiological alterations. This study reveals that the major solvents used in e-cigarettes propylene glycol and glycerol, not nicotine or flavors, have unsuspected effects on gene expression of the molecular clock that are to be taken seriously, especially considering the fundamental role of the circadian rhythm in health and disease.