Electronic cigarettes induce DNA strand breaks and cell death independently of nicotine in cell lines.
Oral Oncol. 2015 Nov 4. Epub 2015 Nov 4. PMID: 26547127
OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of short- and long-term e-cigarette vapor exposure on a panel of normal epithelial and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: HaCaT, UMSCC10B, and HN30 were treated with nicotine-containing and nicotine-free vapor extract from two popular e-cigarette brands for periods ranging from 48h to 8weeks. Cytotoxicity was assessed using Annexin V flow cytometric analysis, trypan blue exclusion, and clonogenic assays. Genotoxicity in the form of DNA strand breaks was quantified using the neutral comet assay andγ-H2AX immunostaining.
RESULTS: E-cigarette-exposed cells showed significantly reduced cell viability and clonogenic survival, along with increased rates of apoptosis and necrosis, regardless of e-cigarette vapor nicotine content. They also exhibited significantly increased comet tail length and accumulation ofγ-H2AX foci, demonstrating increased DNA strand breaks.
CONCLUSION: E-cigarette vapor, both with and without nicotine, is cytotoxic to epithelial cell lines and is a DNA strand break-inducing agent. Further assessment of the potential carcinogenic effects of e-cigarette vapor is urgently needed.