Toxicology and applied pharmacology

Cigarette smoking substantially alters plasma microRNA profiles in healthy subjects.

PMID 23726802


Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are receiving attention as potential biomarkers of various diseases, including cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease. However, it is unknown whether the levels of circulating miRNAs in a healthy subject might vary with external factors in daily life. In this study, we investigated whether cigarette smoking, a habit that has spread throughout the world and is a risk factor for various diseases, affects plasma miRNA profiles. We determined the profiles of 11 smokers and 7 non-smokers by TaqMan MicroRNA array analysis. A larger number of miRNAs were detected in smokers than in non-smokers, and the plasma levels of two-thirds of the detected miRNAs (43 miRNAs) were significantly higher in smokers than in non-smokers. A principal component analysis of the plasma miRNA profiles clearly separated smokers and non-smokers. Twenty-four of the miRNAs were previously reported to be potential biomarkers of disease, suggesting the possibility that smoking status might interfere with the diagnosis of disease. Interestingly, we found that quitting smoking altered the plasma miRNA profiles to resemble those of non-smokers. These results suggested that the differences in the plasma miRNA profiles between smokers and non-smokers could be attributed to cigarette smoking. In addition, we found that an acute exposure of ex-smokers to cigarette smoke (smoking one cigarette) did not cause a dramatic change in the plasma miRNA profile. In conclusion, we found that repeated cigarette smoking substantially alters the plasma miRNA profile, interfering with the diagnosis of disease or signaling potential smoking-related diseases.

Related Materials