To investigate whether the change of E-cadherin (ECD) expression plays a role in the injury and repair of airway epithelial cells (AEC) caused by smoking, porcine AECs were cultured by using an enzyme-dispersed method. After exposure of the AECs to cigarette smoke extract (CSE), the ECD expression in the cells was detected by using immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization. The results showed that ECD was distributed on the plasma membrane at the cell junctions of AECs. After exposure to 20 % CSE, the membranous ECD expression was decreased, the cytoplasmic ECD expression was increased (P < 0.01) as the exposure time went on. But the content of ECD mRNA in the AECs did not chang. It suggests that the change of ECD expression is regulated at the posttranslational level and plays a role in the injury and repair of AEC caused by smoking.