Nicotine alters MicroRNA expression and hinders human adult stem cell regenerative potential

Tsz Kin Ng, Carlos M. Carballosa, Daniel Pelaez, Hoi Kin Wong, Kwong Wai Choy, Chi Pui Pang, Herman S. Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Adult stem cells are critical for the healing process in regenerative medicine. However, cigarette smoking inhibits stem cell recruitment to tissues and delays the wound-healing process. This study investigated the effect of nicotine, a major constituent in the cigarette smoke, on the regenerative potentials of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and periodontal ligament-derived stem cells (PDLSC). The cell proliferation of 1.0 μM nicotine-treated MSC and PDLSC was significantly reduced when compared to the untreated control. Moreover, nicotine also retarded the locomotion of these adult stem cells. Furthermore, their osteogenic differentiation capabilities were reduced in the presence of nicotine as evidenced by gene expression (RUNX2, ALPL, BGLAP, COL1A1, and COL1A2), calcium deposition, and alkaline phosphatase activity analyses. In addition, the microRNA (miRNA) profile of nicotine-treated PDLSC was altered; suggesting miRNAs might play an important role in the nicotine effects on stem cells. This study provided the possible mechanistic explanations on stem cell-associated healing delay in cigarette smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-790
Number of pages10
JournalStem cells and development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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