In utero exposures to mint-flavored JUUL aerosol impair lung development and aggravate house dust mite-induced asthma in adult offspring mice
There are few reports concerning electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) use during pregnancy and no studies on asthma in prenatally JUUL-exposed offspring. Here, we tested the hypothesis that in utero JUUL exposure causes unfavorable birth outcomes and lasting pulmonary health effects in adult offspring. BALB/c dams were exposed to either air or mint-flavored JUUL aerosol, 1-hr/d, 20 consecutive days during gestation. Offspring were sacrificed on post-natal day (PND) 0 or at 11-week of age, following house dust mite (HDM) challenge. Gene expression was assessed in the uterine/placental tissue of the dams and lung responses were assessed in offspring at PND0 and at 11 weeks of age. JUUL-exposed offspring exhibited decreased body weights and lengths at PND0. These birth outcomes were accompanied by dysregulation of 54 genes associated with hypoxia and oxidative stress in the uterine/placental tissues of JUUL-exposed dams, as well as 24 genes in the lungs of the offspring related to Wnt signaling, plus 9 genes related to epigenetics, and 7 genes related to inflammation. At 11 weeks of age, JUUL + HDM exposed mice exhibited pulmonary inflammation when compared to their respective air + HDM controls. Additionally, the JUUL + HDM exposure dysregulated several genes associated with allergies and asthma. Further, the JUUL + HDM females showed decreased methylation of the promoter region of the Il10ra gene. Taken together, our mouse model shows that inhalation of JUUL aerosols during pregnancy affects the intrauterine environment, impairs lung development, and heightens the effects of allergic airway responses later in life.
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Cahill, K. M., Johnson, T. K., Perveen, Z., Schexnayder, M., Xiao, R., Heffernan, L. M., Langohr, I. M., Paulsen, D. B., Penn, A. L., & Noël, A. (2022). In utero exposures to mint-flavored JUUL aerosol impair lung development and aggravate house dust mite-induced asthma in adult offspring mice. Toxicology, 477, 153272. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tox.2022.153272