Cigarette smoking is the leading risk factor for the development of lung cancer. It is estimated that smoking is associated with 80-90% of lung cancer cases throughout the world (see References 1 and 2). The addictive component of cigarette smoke is nicotine. Our published data shows that nicotine promotes the production of acetylcholine (ACh) in human bronchioalveolar carcinoma cells (BACs) (Lau et al., 2013). ACh functions as a growth factor in human BACs. The following protocol is based on a published protocol by (Song et al., 2003), with some modifications (Lau et al., 2013; Song et al., 2008; Song et al., 2003; Sekhon et al., 2003). An important point to remember is that fetal bovine serum (FBS) contains a high amount of acetylcholine (ACh). Therefore, cells must be cultured in serum-free medium to measure ACh in the culture supernatant. Two aliquots of the culture supernatant are used for analysis. This protocol measures the total choline in the cell supernatent under two conditions: 1) After treatment with acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which converts the ACh to choline (also called the total choline sample) and 2) after measuring the amount of free choline in the sample. The concentration of ACh in the sample calculated by subtracting the free choline from the total choline.
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