Mitochondrial Network and Biogenesis in Response to Short and Long-Term Exposure of Human BEAS-2B Cells to Aerosol Extracts from the Tobacco Heating System 2.2


Authored by  J Walczak*, D Malińska*, K Drabik*, B Michalska*, M Prill*, S Johne, K Luettich, J Szymanski*, M Peitsch, J Hoeng, J Duszynski*, M Wieckowski*, M Van der Toorn, J Szczepanowska*

Published in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry    
* This author is not affiliated with PMI.

Abstract

Background/Aims
Adverse effects of cigarette smoke on health are widely known. Heating rather than combusting tobacco is one of strategies to reduce the formation of toxicants. The sensitive nature of mitochondrial dynamics makes the mitochondria an early indicator of cellular stress. For this reason, we studied the morphology and dynamics of the mitochondrial network in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) exposed to total particulate matter (TPM) generated from 3R4F reference cigarette smoke and from aerosol from a new candidate modified risk tobacco product, the Tobacco Heating System (THS 2.2). 

Methods
Cells were subjected to short (1 week) and chronic (12 weeks) exposure to a low (7.5 µg/mL) concentration of 3R4F TPM and low (7.5 µg/mL), medium (37.5 µg/mL), and high (150 µg/mL) concentrations of TPM from THS 2.2. Confocal microscopy was applied to assess cellular and mitochondrial morphology. Cytosolic Ca2+ levels, mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial mass were measured with appropriate fluorescent probes on laser scanning cytometer. The levels of proteins regulating mitochondrial dynamics and biogenesis were determined by Western blot. 

Results
In BEAS-2B cells exposed for one week to the low concentration of 3R4F TPM and the high concentration of THS 2.2 TPM we observed clear changes in cell morphology, mitochondrial network fragmentation, altered levels of mitochondrial fusion and fission proteins and decreased biogenesis markers. Also cellular proliferation was slowed down. Upon chronic exposure (12 weeks) many parameters were affected in the opposite way comparing to short exposure. We observed strong increase of NRF2 protein level, reorganization of mitochondrial network and activation of the mitochondrial biogenesis process. 

Conclusion
Comparison of the effects of TPMs from 3R4F and from THS 2.2 revealed, that similar extent of alterations in mitochondrial dynamics and biogenesis is observed at 7.5 µg/mL of 3R4F TPM and 150 µg/mL of THS 2.2 TPM. 7 days exposure to the investigated components of cigarette smoke evoke mitochondrial stress, while upon chronic, 12 weeks exposure the hallmarks of cellular adaptation to the stressor were visible. The results also suggest that mitochondrial stress signaling is involved in the process of cellular adaptation under conditions of chronic stress caused by 3R4F and high concentration of THS 2.2.