Characteristics of genes classified as irreversible, slowly reversible, or rapidly reversible based on their behavior in former smokers. (a) Numbers of genes up-regulated (red) or down-regulated (blue) in current smokers compared to never smokers. The percentage of genes up-regulated in smoking decreases from the most to the least reversible tertile of rapidly reversible genes and is lowest in the slowly reversible and irreversible genes. (b) The age-adjusted fold change between never versus former smokers (y-axis) is plotted as a function of time since quitting smoking (x-axis) for the genes classified as slowly reversible. All the slowly reversible genes are down-regulated in smoking. The time point that the fold change equals 1.5 (see dotted line) is defined as the time that the genes become reversible. The time point at which this occurs is greater than 78 months (6.5 years) after smoking cessation for all of the slowly reversible genes.
Beane et al. Genome Biology 2007 8:R201 doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-9-r201