Peer-Reviewed Publications

      Toxicity of aerosols of nicotine and pyruvic acid (separate and combined) in Sprague–Dawley rats in a 28-day OECD 412 inhalation study and assessment of systems toxicology

      Phillips, B.; Esposito, M.; Verbeeck, J.; Boué, S.; Iskandar, A.; Vuillaume, G.; Leroy, P.; Krishnan, S.; Kogel, U.; Utan, A.; Schlage, W. K.; Bera, M.; Veljkovic, E.; Hoeng, J.; Peitsch, M. C.; Vanscheeuwijck, P.
      Aug 20, 2015

      Toxicity of nebulized nicotine (Nic) and nicotine/pyruvic acid mixtures (Nic/Pyr) was characterized in a 28-day Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development 412 inhalation study with additional transcriptomic and lipidomic analyses. Sprague–Dawley rats were nose-only exposed, 6 h/day, 5 days/week to filtered air, saline, nicotine (50 µg/l), sodium pyruvate (NaPyr, 33.9 µg/l) or equimolar Nic/Pyr mixtures (18, 25 and 50 µg nicotine/l). Saline and NaPyr caused no health effects, but rats exposed to nicotine-containing aerosols had decreased body weight gains and concentration-dependent increases in liver weight. Blood neutrophil counts were increased and lymphocyte counts decreased in rats exposed to nicotine; activities of alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase were increased, and levels of cholesterol and glucose decreased. The only histopathologic finding in non-respiratory tract organs was increased liver vacuolation and glycogen content. Respiratory tract findings upon nicotine exposure (but also some phosphate-buffered saline aerosol effects) were observed only in the larynx and were limited to adaptive changes. Gene expression changes in the lung and liver were very weak. Nic and Nic/Pyr caused few significant changes (including Cyp1a1 gene upregulation). Changes were predominantly related to energy metabolism and fatty acid metabolism but did not indicate an obvious toxicity-related response. Nicotine exposure lowered plasma lipids, including cholesteryl ester (CE) and free cholesterol and, in the liver, phospholipids and sphingolipids. Nic, NaPyr and Nic/Pyr decreased hepatic triacylglycerol and CE. In the lung, Nic and Nic/Pyr increased CE levels. These data suggest that only minor biologic effects related to inhalation of Nic or Nic/Pyr aerosols were observed in this 28-day study.