Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity and is associated with cardiovascular disease via contributory processes such as endothelial dysfunction, inflammation and thrombosis. Cigarette smoke both contains and stimulates the production of cellular oxidants and it may also promote vascular inflammation. Osteopontin is a non-collagenous matrix protein first identified in bone and there is increasing evidence for its role in inflammation and cardiovascular disease via its action as a soluble cytokine.
In this study we have examined the mechanisms underlying the expression of osteopontin in human vascular endothelial cells in vitro following exposure to cigarette smoke particulate matter (PM), using PCR, electrochemiluminescence, immunostaining and Western blotting. We further determined if serum osteopontin levels changed in humans who quit smoking.
Non-cytotoxic concentrations of PM increased osteopontin levels in cultured human endothelial cells and this effect was reduced in the presence of ascorbate, suggesting a role for oxidants in the response to PM. However, oxidant production played no role in the PM-evoked induction MMP-3, an enzyme which cleaves osteopontin. In smokers who quit smoking for 5 days, serum osteopontin levels were significantly lowered compared to those measured prior to smoking cessation.
In vitro cigarette smoke extract exposure induced osteopontin expression in human endothelial cells in an oxidative stress-dependent manner, which may involve MMP-3 cleavage. In humans, serum osteopontin was decreased with short-term smoking cessation. Endothelial-derived osteopontin may contribute to inflammation in smokers, and may also contribute to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease-related processes.