Pathophysiology of tobacco smoke exposure: Recent insights from comparative and redox proteomics

Graziano Colombo, Marco Clerici, Daniela Giustarini, Nicola M. Portinaro, Giancarlo Aldini, Ranieri Rossi, Aldo Milzani, Isabella Dalle-Donne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


First-hand and second-hand tobacco smoke are causally linked to a huge number of deaths and are responsible for a broad spectrum of pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory, and eye diseases as well as adverse effects on female reproductive function. Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of thousands of different chemical species, which exert their negative effects on macromolecules and biochemical pathways, both directly and indirectly. Many compounds can act as oxidants, pro-inflammatory agents, carcinogens, or a combination of these. The redox behavior of cigarette smoke has many implications for smoke related diseases. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (both radicals and non-radicals), reactive carbonyl compounds, and other species may induce oxidative damage in almost all the biological macromolecules, compromising their structure and/or function. Different quantitative and redox proteomic approaches have been applied in vitro and in vivo to evaluate, respectively, changes in protein expression and specific oxidative protein modifications induced by exposure to cigarette smoke and are overviewed in this review. Many gel-based and gel-free proteomic techniques have already been used successfully to obtain clues about smoke effects on different proteins in cell cultures, animal models, and humans. The further implementation with other sensitive screening techniques could be useful to integrate the comprehension of cigarette smoke effects on human health. In particular, the redox proteomic approach may also help identify biomarkers of exposure to tobacco smoke useful for preventing these effects or potentially predictive of the onset and/or progression of smoking-induced diseases as well as potential targets for therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-218
Number of pages36
JournalMass Spectrometry Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • (redox) proteomics
  • inflammation
  • mass spectrometry
  • oxidative modifications
  • protein oxidation
  • tobacco smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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