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Toxins in cigarette smoke prevent stem cells from becoming cartilage
Date:3/3/2008

ence gene expression are transcription factors, proteins designed to direct genes to create more or less of a protein. One such factor is Sex Determining Region Y-box 9 (SOX-9), required for the transition of stem cells into cartilage cells. The PCR results show that BaP in cigarette spoke interferes with SOX-9 expression in mesenchymal stem cells, blocking their conversion into cartilage cells. When this group of stem cells is free to differentiate, the newly formed cartilage cells immediately begin manufacturing collagen 2, the tough, fibrous protein framework for cartilage. Along with interfering with SOX-9, BaP was also found to reduce levels of type II collagen gene expression.

Past studies had shown that stem cells involved in cartilage formation contain proteins known to react with BaP called aryl hydrocarbon receptors. The current results suggest that BaP binding with these receptors may suppress SOX-9 activity, reducing the number of stem cells that turn into cartilage cells and the amount of collage produced. No one knows what such receptors are doing in these cells in the first place, but one theory has it that they signal cellular machinery to metabolize toxins.

The study compared the effect of BaP versus that of cigarette smoke extract, a substance representing all the ingredients in cigarette smoke. The hope was to confirm BaP as the specific cause of the observed effect on SOX-9. Results indeed suggest BaP alone may responsible for this specific mechanism of healing delay, since its effect was equal to the extract.

In addition measuring gene expression levels, researchers also conducted tests to show the effect of BaP visually. When newly differentiated cartilage cells begin to produce collagen in a culture dish, little mounds or nodules of collagen can be visualized using a stain. Staining experiments captured images showing BaP to completely inhibit collagen nodule deposition.

Along with OKeefe, the Medical
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Contact: Greg Williams
Greg_Williams@urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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