Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Rene Olivares-Navarrete, D.D.S, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Amanda J. Dickinson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Christopher A. Lemmon, Ph.D.


E-cigarette (e-cig) use has increased in recent years among teenagers and young adults. E-cigs are battery-powered nicotine delivery systems that vaporize e-liquids, a solution composed of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine, flavoring, and coloring agents. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of exposure to e-cig aerosol mixtures (e-cigAMs) on proliferation, migration, and differentiation of NCCs in vitro and craniofacial development in mouse embryos in vivo. E-cigAM was produced by bubbling e-cig aerosol into saline. E-cigAMs were generated for unflavored e-liquid of increasing PG: VG ratio. Metabolic activity (MA), gene expression, migration, and proliferation experiments of NCCs were performed after 7d of exposure. In vivo, 10-week old female mice were exposed to these various e-cigAMs via osmotic pumps. Embryos were harvested (17.5E) and imaged on a micro CT scanner (n=10/treatment). Procrustes analysis and discriminant function analysis was performed. In vitro, MA was reduced in all treated groups, and e-cigAMs with nicotine exhibited the strongest effect. NCC migration and proliferation were inhibited by e-cigAM as well. The expression of genetic markers of angiogenesis, chondrogenesis, osteogenesis and smooth muscle was attenuated. In vivo, e-cigAM exposure generated shape changes involving the orofacial area, eye aplasia, and mid-face hypoplasia.


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Available for download on Wednesday, August 09, 2023