New York, July 2 : Puffing on electronic cigarettes, often targeted at youth and pregnant women, may harm cardiovascular cells, and stem cells, which are critical to brain development, finds a study.
Young people and fetuses are especially prone to stem cell damage because their brains are still developing, so young people and pregnant women could be particularly vulnerable to harm from e-cigarettes, a report published in the New York Daily News said.
E-cigarettes produce a stress response in neural stem cells, the study published in the interdisciplinary open-access journal iScience said.
E-cigarette puffers may think they are safer and cleaner than tobacco cigarettes but evidence is mounting that nicotine is harmful whether it is smoked in a traditional cigarette or vaped in an e-cigarette. It set off a complex series of cellular-level events that damage stem cells' DNA, researchers at the University of California at Riverside reported in the study.
Atena Zahedi, who co-authored the paper, in a statement said, ''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.''
''The neural stem cells get damaged and could eventually die and if that happens, no more specialized cells, astrocytes and neurons, can be produced from stem cells,'' Zahedi added.
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, said, ''Nicotine exposure during prenatal or adolescent development can affect the brain in multiple ways that may impair memory, learning, and cognition.'' (UNI)