Waterpipe smoke exposure triggers lung injury and functional decline in mice: Protective effect of gum Arabic

Abderrahim Nemmar, Suhail Al-Salam, Sumaya Beegam, Priya Yuvaraju, Badreldin H. Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence of waterpipe (shisha) tobacco smoking has recently seen a substantial increase worldwide and is becoming a public health problem. Both human and animal studies have established that waterpipe smoke (WPS) increases airway reactivity and inflammation. Gum Arabic (GA) is a prebiotic agent that possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, its effects on lung toxicity induced by WPS exposure are unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the possible salutary effects and underlying mechanisms of GA on WPS-induced pulmonary pathophysiologic effects. C57BL/6 mice were exposed to air or WPS (30 minutes/day for one month) with or without GA treatment in drinking water (15%, w/v). Exposure to WPS induced an influx of neutrophil polymorphs in the peribronchiolar and interstitial spaces and an increase of tumor necrosis factor-α and 8-isoprostane, a marker of lipid peroxidation, concentrations in lung homogenates. The latter effects were significantly mitigated by GA treatment. Likewise, the lung DNA damage induced by WPS exposure was prevented by GA administration. Western blot analysis of the lung showed that GA inhibited nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) expression caused by WPS and augmented that of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Similarly, immunohistochemical analysis of bronchial epithelial cells and alveolar cells showed a parallel and significant increase in the nuclear expression of Nrf2 and cytoplasmic expression of glutathione in mice treated with GA and exposed to WPS. Moreover, GA administration has significantly prevented airway hyperreactivity to methacholine induced by WPS. We conclude that GA administration significantly declined the physiological, histological, biochemical, and molecular indices of lung toxicity caused by WPS exposure, indicating its beneficial respiratory impact. Considering that GA is a safe agent with health benefits in humans, our data suggest its potential usage in waterpipe smokers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8526083
JournalOxidative medicine and cellular longevity
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology


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