Electronic cigarette liquid substances propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin induce an inflammatory response in gingival epithelial cells

Beklen A., Uckan D.

HUMAN & EXPERIMENTAL TOXICOLOGY, vol.40, no.1, pp.25-34, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0960327120943934
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chimica, CINAHL, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.25-34
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


Information on the effects of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) and on cytotoxicity and subsequent activation of the biological mediators is limited in periodontal diseases. This study analyzes the effect of unflavored PG/VG alone or in combination with nicotine on gingival epithelial cells. The cells were exposed to different PG/VG (+/- nicotine) concentrations for 24 h and cytotoxicity was evaluated by calorimetric 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromid assay. The expressions of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)-9 were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a western blotting. Stimulation with PG/VG mixtures reduced cell viability compared to nonexposed controls (p< 0.05). Adding PG/VG increased the levels of IL-6, IL-8, and MMP-9, and the amount of PG had more biological impact compared to the VG amount. The nicotine augmented this effect compared to its nicotine-free counterparts. In western blotting result, MMP-9 was clearly activated in almost all samples. These findings suggest that the main constituents PG/VG are cytotoxic and able to induce biological response in gingival cells in vitro. Despite being advertised as less harmful than conventional cigarettes, electronic cigarette liquid pose certain risks on periodontal cells. Awareness about the effects of electronic cigarettes on periodontal diseases must be increased.