Cigarette Smoking Exacerbates Skeletal Muscle Injury Without Compromising its Regenerative Capacity Academic Article uri icon


  • Skeletal muscle dysfunction in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease negatively impacts quality of life and survival. Cigarette smoking (CS) is the major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and skeletal muscle dysfunction; however, how CS affects skeletal muscle function remains enigmatic. To examine the impact of CS on skeletal muscle inflammation and regeneration, male BALB/c mice were exposed to CS for 8 weeks before muscle injury was induced by barium chloride injection, and were maintained on the CS protocol for up to 21 days after injury. Barium chloride injection resulted in architectural damage to the tibialis anterior muscle, resulting in a decrease contractile function, which was worsened by CS exposure. CS exposure caused muscle atrophy (reduction in gross weight and myofiber cross-sectional area) and altered fiber type composition (31% reduction of oxidative fibers). Both contractile function and loss in myofiber cross-sectional area by CS exposure gradually recovered over time. Satellite cells are muscle stem cells that confer skeletal muscle the plasticity to adapt to changing demands. CS exposure blunted Pax7+ centralized nuclei within satellite cells and thus prevented the activation of these muscle stem cells. Finally, CS triggered muscle inflammation; in particular, there was an exacerbated recruitment of F4/80+ monocytic cells to the site of injury along with enhanced proinflammatory cytokine expression. In conclusion, CS exposure amplified the local inflammatory response at the site of skeletal muscle injury, and this was associated with impaired satellite cell activation, leading to a worsened muscle injury and contractile function without detectable impacts on the recovery outcomes.


  • Chan, Stanley MH
  • Cerni, Claudia
  • Passey, Samantha
  • Seow, Huei Jiunn
  • Bernardo, Ivan
  • Van Der Poel, Christopher
  • Dobric, Aleksandar
  • Brassington, Kurt
  • Selemidis, Stavros
  • Bozinovski, Steven
  • Vlahos, Ross

publication date

  • February 1, 2020