Proteomic Changes in Oral Keratinocytes Chronically Exposed to Shisha (Water Pipe)

Shankargouda Patil, Tejaswini Subbannayya, Sonali V. Mohan, Niraj Babu, Jayshree Advani, Gajanan Sathe, Pavithra Rajagopalan, Krishna Patel, Shilpa Bhandi, Hitendra Solanki, David Sidransky, Harsha Gowda, Aditi Chatterjee (Lead / Corresponding author), Marco Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Shisha (water pipe) smoking is falsely believed to be a hazard-free habit and has become a major public health concern. Studies have reported shisha smoking to be associated with oral lesions, as well as carcinomas of the lung, esophagus, bladder, and pancreas. A deeper understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms would contribute to identification of biomarkers for targeted public health screening, therapeutic innovation, and better prognosis of associated diseases. In this study, we have established an in vitro chronic cellular model of shisha-exposed oral keratinocytes to study the effect of shisha on oral cells. Normal nontransformed, immortalized oral keratinocytes were chronically exposed to shisha extract for 8 months. This resulted in significant increase in cellular proliferation and cell invasion in shisha-exposed cells compared to the parental cells. Quantitative proteomic analysis of OKF6/TERT1-Parental and OKF6/TERT1-Shisha cells resulted in the identification of 5515 proteins. Forty-three differentially expressed proteins were found to be common across all conditions. Bioinformatic analysis of the dysregulated proteins identified in the proteomic study revealed dysregulation of interferon pathway, upregulation of proteins involved in cell growth, and downregulation of immune processes. The present findings reveal that chronic exposure of normal oral keratinocytes to shisha leads to cellular transformation and dysregulation of immune response. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that has developed a model of oral keratinocytes chronically exposed to shisha and identified proteomic alterations associated with shisha exposure. However, further research is required to evaluate the health burden of shisha smoking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-97
Number of pages12
JournalOMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology (OMICS)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019


  • biomarkers
  • immunology
  • in vitro chronic cellular model
  • proteomics
  • public health
  • shisha
  • water pipe smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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