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Dehmel, Stefan; Nathan, Petra; Bartel, Sabine; El-Merhie, Natalia; Scherb, Hagen; Milger, Katrin; John-Schuster, Gerrit; Yildirim, Ali Oender; Hylkema, Machteld; Irmler, Martin; Beckers, Johannes; Schaub, Bianca; Eickelberg, Oliver and Krauss-Etschmann, Susanne (2018): Intrauterine smoke exposure deregulates lung function, pulmonary transcriptomes, and in particular insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 in a sex-specific manner. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 8, 7547 [PDF, 2MB]


Prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke is a significant risk-factor for airway disease development. Furthermore, the high prevalence of pregnant smoking women requires the establishment of strategies for offspring lung protection. Therefore, we here aimed to understand the molecular mechanism of how prenatal smoke exposure affects fetal lung development. We used a mouse model recapitulating clinical findings of prenatally exposed children, where pregnant mice were exposed to smoke until c-section or spontaneous delivery, and offspring weight development and lung function was monitored. Additionally, we investigated pulmonary transcriptome changes in fetal lungs (GD18.5) by mRNA/miRNA arrays, network analyses and qPCR. The results demonstrated that prenatally exposed mice showed intrauterine and postnatal growth retardation, and impaired lung function. 1340 genes and 133 miRNAs were found to be significantly dysregulated by in utero smoke exposure, and we identified Insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf1) as a top hierarchical node in a network analysis. Moreover, Igf1 mRNA was increased in female murine offspring and in prenatally exposed children. These findings suggest that prenatal smoking is associated with a dysregulation of several genes, including Igf1 in a sexspecific manner. Thus, our results could represent a novel link between smoke exposure, abberant lung development and impaired lung function.

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