Study: E-cigarettes may damage brain stem cells | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Study: E-cigarettes may damage brain stem cells

1364285_web1_875939-f53e290a10864bc78f93c1914094ed99
AP
E-cigarettes produce a stress response in neural stem cells, researchers at the University of California at Riverside reported in a study published in the interdisciplinary open-access journal iScience.

Puffing on electronic cigarettes can damage neural stem cells important to brain function, a new study says.

E-cigarettes produce a stress response in neural stem cells, researchers at the University of California at Riverside reported in a study published in the interdisciplinary open-access journal iScience.

E-cigarette users may think they’re safer and cleaner than tobacco cigarettes — but evidence is mounting that nicotine is harmful whether it’s smoked in a traditional cigarette or vaped in an e-cigarette. Another recent study found that certain e-cigarette flavorings damage cardiovascular cells.

Such products “are not harmless,” said Atena Zahedi, who earned her PhD in bioengineering and co-authored the paper.

“Even short-term exposure can stress cells in a manner that may lead, with chronic use, to cell death or disease. Our observations are likely to pertain to any product containing nicotine,” Zahedi said in a statement.

E-cigarettes set off a complex series of cellular-level events that damage stem cells’ DNA, the researchers said.

“The neural stem cells get damaged and could eventually die,” Zahedi said. “If that happens, no more specialized cells — astrocytes and neurons, for example — can be produced from stem cells.”

Those cells are critical, the researchers said. Young people and fetuses are especially prone to stem cell damage because their brains are still developing, the researchers said.

That means young people and pregnant women could be particularly vulnerable to harm from e-cigarettes, the researchers say.

“Their brains are in a critical developmental stage,” said Prue Talbot, a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology who led the research and directs the Riverside campus’ Stem Cell Center.

“Nicotine exposure during prenatal or adolescent development can affect the brain in multiple ways that may impair memory, learning, and cognition,” Talbot said in the statement. “Furthermore, addiction and dependence on nicotine in youth are pressing concerns. It’s worth stressing that it is nicotine that is doing damage to neural stem cells and their mitochondria.”

Given the prevalence and availability of nicotine in liquid, inhalable form, Talbot added, “We should be concerned about this.”

Categories: News | Health Now | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.