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In Vivo Biomarker that Identifies Waterpipe Smoking-Related Lung Health

In Vivo Biomarker that Identifies Waterpipe Smoking-Related Lung Health

Principal Investigator: Ronald Crystal

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 1R01HL134163-01

Award Date: 9/15/2016

Institution: Weill Medical College of Cornell University


Waterpipe smoking is increasing in the US, particularly among young adults. The goal of this study is to develop an in vivo respiratory tract epithelium-based assay sensitive to waterpipe smoke toxicity, in order to predict the impact of waterpipe smoking on lung health. Researchers will analyze data from a cohort young adults (ages 18-35) that includes 200 waterpipe-only smokers and 100 never smokers. Researchers will gather a wide variety of data from the participants, including: (1) responses to questionnaires that assess tobacco use, other exposures, lung health, and cough and sputum scores; (2) urine cotinine and blood carboxyhemoglobin levels; (3) full lung function tests; (4) chest imaging; and (5) the respiratory tract epithelial transcriptome (i.e., the set of all messenger RNA molecules in a population of cells) from small airway epithelium (SAE) and nasal epithelium. The study aims are: (1) to identify abnormalities in the SAE transcriptome; (2) to identify abnormalities in the nasal epithelial transcriptome; and (3) to determine whether these biologic abnormalities correlate with abnormalities in lung function, and if so, whether the nasal epithelial transcriptome can be a surrogate for the SAE transcriptome in predicting lung toxicity. This research may provide an in vivo biomarker that can be used in future studies to assess waterpipe smoking-associated risk to lung health.