Comparison of Pure Nicotine- and Smokeless Tobacco Extract-induced Toxicities and Oxidative Stress


The toxicities and oxidative stress-inducing actions of (−)-nicotine and smokeless tobacco extract (STE), containing equivalent amounts of nicotine, were studied. Toxicities were determined by colony formation assays using Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Results indicated that nicotine is less toxic than smokeless tobacco extract that contained the same amount of nicotine. The generation of reactive oxygen species, following treatment with smokeless tobacco extract and nicotine, was assessed by measurement of changes in glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. CHO cells (5 × 105 cells/5 ml media) were incubated with 4, 0.8, and 0.08 mg of nicotine and STE containing the same amounts of nicotine. All preparations of smokeless tobacco extract significantly decreased GSH levels and increased MDA generation. However, 0.08 mg of nicotine treatment did not result in a significant change in GSH level, and only 4 mg of nicotine were sufficient to increase MDA generation. Addition of free radical scavenging enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), and an intracellular GSH precursor, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), replenished the GSH levels in nicotine-treated cells. GSH levels in cells exposed to smokeless tobacco extract containing 4 and 0.8 mg nicotine remained significantly lower than the control with the addition of SOD and CAT. However, co-addition of NAC with smokeless tobacco extract preparations returned the GSH levels to the control level. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities were measured in the media to establish the membrane damage following exposure to smokeless tobacco extract and nicotine. Treatment of cells with 4 mg nicotine caused a significant increase in LDH activity, which was returned to control level in the presence of the antioxidant enzymes and NAC. Smokeless tobacco extract did not change the LDH activity.




Smokeless Tobacco Research Council Inc

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Article - Journal

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© 1999 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 1999