Cigarette smoking causes epigenetic changes associated with cardiorenal fibrosis

Clinical studies indicate that smoking combustible cigarettes promotes progression of renal and cardiac injury, leading to functional decline in the setting of chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, basic studies using in vivo small animal models that mimic clinical pathology of CKD are lacking. To address this issue, we evaluated renal and cardiac injury progression and functional changes induced by 4 wk of daily combustible cigarette smoke exposure in the 5/6th partial nephrectomy (PNx) CKD model. Molecular evaluations revealed that cigarette smoke significantly (P _ 0.05) decreased renal and cardiac expression of the antifibrotic microRNA miR-29b-3 and increased expression of molecular fibrosis markers. In terms of cardiac and renal organ structure and function, exposure to cigarette smoke led to significantly increased systolic blood pressure, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac and renal fibrosis, and decreased renal function. These data indicate that decreased expression of miR-29b-3p is a novel mechanism wherein cigarette smoke promotes accelerated cardiac and renal tissue injury in CKD.