Dermal thirdhand smoke exposure induces oxidative damage, initiates skin inflammatory markers, and adversely alters the human plasma proteome


Background: Thirdhand smoke (THS) exposure correlated with significant metabolism of carcinogenic chemicals and the potential to cause detrimental health effects. Human harm research of THS exposure is limited to one other study and overall, there is a general lack of knowledge of the human health responses to THS exposure.

Methods: This was a clinical investigation to evaluate the health effects of 3-h dermal THS exposure from urine and plasma. 10 healthy, non-smoking subjects were recruited for dermal exposure for 3 h exposed to clothing impregnated with filtered clean air or THS. Exposures to clean air or THS occurred 20-30 days apart.

Findings: In THS-exposed group, there was a significant elevation of urinary 8-OHdG, 8-isoprostane, protein carbonyls. The THS 3-h exposure identified proteomics pathways of inflammatory response (p=2.18 × 10-8), adhesion of blood cells (p=2.23 × 10-8), atherosclerosis (p=2.78 × 10-9), and lichen planus (p=1.77 × 10-8). Nine canonical pathways were significantly activated including leukocyte extravasation signaling (z-score=3.0), and production of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen in macrophages (z-score=2.1). The THS 22-h proteomics pathways revealed inflammation of organ (p=3.09 × 10-8), keratinization of the epidermis (p=4.0 × 10-7), plaque psoriasis (p=5.31 × 10-7), and dermatitis (p=6.0 × 10-7). Two activated canonical pathways were production of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen in macrophages (z-score=2.646), and IL-8 signaling (z-score=2.0).

Interpretation: This is a clinical study demonstrating that acute dermal exposure to THS mimics the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, alters the human plasma proteome, initiates mechanisms of skin inflammatory disease, and elevates urinary biomarkers of oxidative harm.

Funding: Funding was provided by the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) 24RT-0037 TRDRP, 24RT-0039 TRDRP, and 28PT-0081 TRDRP.

Authors: Shane Sakamaki-Ching, Suzaynn Schick, Gabriela Grigorean, Jun Li, Prue Talbot
; Full Source: EBioMedicine 2022 Sep 19;84:104256. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.104256.