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Vaping risk of vascular damage

Wednesday November 13th, 2019

Scientists have made further discoveries into the damage that can be done by vaping, it was announced today.

Professor Thomas Munzel at the University Medical Centre Mainz in Germany, and his team, explain that e cigarettes are marketed as a ‘healthy’ alternative to traditional cigarettes and as an effective tool to help quit smoking. However, previous work has implicated e-cigarettes in “endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress in the vasculature and the lungs”.

The latest findings follow the report, published yesterday, of a young patient developing severe lung inflammation after using e-cigarettes.

So the team investigated the mechanisms underlying these side effects. They measured endothelial function in chronic smokers, using flow-mediated dilation, and found that “acute e-cigarette smoking produced a marked impairment”.

In tests on mice, e-cigarette vapour - without nicotine - had “more detrimental effects on endothelial function, markers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and lipid peroxidation than vapour containing nicotine”.

These effects were linked to the enzyme phagocytic NADPH oxidase and could be prevented with a drug called macitentan that blocks the endothelin receptors.

The study appears in the European Heart Journal today (13 November). The team writes: “e-cigarette vapour exposure increases vascular, cerebral, and pulmonary oxidative stress via a NOX-2-dependent mechanism. Our study identifies the toxic aldehyde acrolein as a key mediator of the observed adverse vascular consequences.

“Thus, e-cigarettes have the potential to induce marked adverse cardiovascular, pulmonary, and cerebrovascular consequences. Since e-cigarette use is increasing, particularly amongst youth, our data suggest that aggressive steps are warranted to limit their health risks.”

Professor Munzel said: “We need to focus on the youth because this is by far the largest market. Vaping, which was actually intended as an aid to help smokers quit, developed into a trend among young people, leading to nicotine addiction, even among those who had not smoked before.”

Kuntic, M. et al. Short-term e-cigarette vapour exposure causes vascular oxidative stress and dysfunction: evidence for a close connection to brain damage and a key role of the phagocytic NADPH oxidase (NOX-2). European Heart Journal 13 November 2019; doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz772

Tags: Cancer | Europe | Heart Health | Respiratory

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