Extracellular vesicles in biological fluids. A biomarker of exposure to cigarette smoke and treatment with chemopreventive drugs

A. Pulliero, L. Pergoli, S. la Maestra, R. T. Micale, A. Camoirano, V. Bollati, A. Izzotti, S. de Flora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released from cells and enter into body fluids thereby providing a toxicological mechanism of cell-cell communication. The present study aimed at assessing (a) the presence of EVs in mouse body fluids under physiological conditions, (b) the effect of exposure of mice to cigarette smoke for 8 weeks, and (c) modulation of smoke-related alterations by the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib, a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor. To this purpose, ICR (CD-1) mice were either unexposed or exposed to cigarette smoke, either treated or untreated with oral celecoxib. EVs, isolated from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), blood serum, and urines, were analyzed by nanoparticle tracking analysis and flow cytometry. EVs baseline concentrations in BALF were remarkably high. Larger EVs were detected in urines. Smoking increased EVs concentrations but only in BALF. Celecoxib remarkably increased EVs concentrations in the blood serum of both male and female smoking mice. The concentration of EVs positive for EpCAM, a mediator of cell-cell adhesion in epithelia playing a role in tumorigenesis, was much higher in urines than in BALF, and celecoxib significantly decreased their concentration. Thus, the effects of smoke on EVs concentrations were well detectable in the extracellular environment of the respiratory tract, where they could behave as delivery carriers to target cells. Celecoxib exerted both protective mechanisms in the urinary tract and adverse systemic effects of likely hepatotoxic origin in smoke-exposed mice. Detection of EVs in body fluids may provide an early diagnostic tool and an end-point exploitable for preventive medicine strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E327-E336
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Blood serum
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid
  • Celecoxib
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Urines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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