Nav: Home

E-cigarette users are exposed to potentially harmful levels of metal linked to DNA damage

February 20, 2020

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have completed a cross-sectional human study that compares biomarkers and metal concentrations in the urine of e-cigarette users, nonsmokers, and cigarette smokers.

They found that the biomarkers, which reflect exposure, effect, and potential harm, are both elevated in e-cigarette users compared to the other groups and linked to metal exposure and oxidative DNA damage.

"Our study found e-cigarette users are exposed to increased concentrations of potentially harmful levels of metals -- especially zinc -- that are correlated to elevated oxidative DNA damage," said Prue Talbot, a professor of cell biology, who led the research team.

Zinc, a dietary nutrient, plays key roles in growth, immune function, and wound healing. Too little of this essential trace element can cause death; too much of it can cause disease. Its deficiency, as well as its excess, cause cellular oxidative stress, which, if unchecked, can lead to diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, pulmonary fibrosis, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and lung cancer.

Electronic cigarettes consist of a battery, atomizing unit, and refill fluid. Metals in e-cigarette aerosols come mainly from the metal components in the atomizer-- nichrome wire, tin solder joints, brass clamps, insulating sheaths, and wicks -- as well as the e-fluids that the atomizers heat.

The study, which appears in BMJ Open Respiratory Research, marks the first time researchers have examined and quantified urinary biomarkers of effect and potential harm in relation to metals in e-cigarette users.

A biomarker is a quantifiable characteristic of a biological process. Biomarkers allow researchers and physicians to measure a biological or chemical substance that is indicative of a person's physiological state. Previous e-cigarette studies with humans have examined biomarkers of exposure -- for example, nicotine or nicotine metabolites -- but none have studied biomarkers of potential harm or shown how this harm correlates with metal exposure.

The biomarkers studied by the UC Riverside researchers were 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a biomarker of oxidative DNA damage; 8-isoprostane, an indicator of the oxidative degradation of lipids; and metallothionein, a metal response protein. All three biomarkers were significantly elevated in e-cigarette users compared to the concentrations in cigarette smokers.

"Our findings reaffirm that e-cigarette use is not harm free," said Shane Sakamaki-Ching, a graduate student in the Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program and the research paper's first author. "Indeed, prolonged use may lead to disease progression."

The researchers advise physicians to exercise caution when recommending e-cigarettes to their patients. Electronic cigarette aerosols contain potentially harmful chemicals, cytotoxic flavor chemicals, metals, ultrafine particles, and reaction products. E-cigarette use has been linked to adverse health effects such as respiratory diseases, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and impaired wound healing following surgery.

"Pregnant women, especially, should not be encouraged to use e-cigarettes," Talbot said. "Excess of zinc in their bodies can lead to nausea and diarrhea. Given the recent deaths and pulmonary illnesses related to e-cigarette usage, everyone should be made aware of the potential health risks linked to e-cigarette usage."

The study involved 53 participants from the Buffalo, New York, area. Talbot and Sakamaki-Ching were joined in the study by Monique Williams, My Hua, Jun Li, Steve M. Bates, Andrew N. Robinson, and Timothy W. Lyons of UCR; and Maciej L. Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The University of California, Riverside (http://www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment is more than 24,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of almost $2 billion. To learn more, email news@ucr.edu.
-end-


University of California - Riverside

Related Biomarkers Articles:

Urgent need for blood-based biomarkers to diagnosis concussion
There is an urgent need for objective markers for diagnosing concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury.
Engineered bacteria churn out cancer biomarkers
A Cornell lab has created these very tools by commandeering simple, single-celled microorganisms - namely E. coli bacteria - and engineering them to explore the complex process of glycosylation and the functional role that protein-linked glycans play in health and disease.
Exercise induces secretion of biomarkers into sweat
The aim was to reveal the potential of microRNAs in sweat extracellular vesicles in monitoring exercise performance.
Phosphoprotein biomarkers to guide cancer therapy are identified
Researchers led by James Bibb, Ph.D., professor of surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, suggest using a broader lens of post-translational modification analysis to identify new biomarkers of cancer drivers that may allow a much more precise prediction of patient responses to treatments.
Exhaled biomarkers can reveal lung disease
Using specialized nanoparticles, MIT engineers have developed a way to diagnose pneumonia or other lung diseases by analyzing the breath exhaled by the patient.
Race-specific lupus nephritis biomarkers
A University of Houston biomedical researcher has discovered a difference in urinary biomarker proteins of lupus nephritis in patients according to race.
Semen miRNAs could be non-invasive biomarkers for prostate cancer
Researchers of the Human Molecular Genetics group at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), led by Dr.
Scientists have found longevity biomarkers
An international group of scientists studied the effects of 17 different lifespan-extending interventions on gene activity in mice and discovered genetic biomarkers of longevity.
After concussion, biomarkers in the blood may help predict recovery time
A study of high school and college football players suggests that biomarkers in the blood may have potential use in identifying which players are more likely to need a longer recovery time after concussion, according to a study published in the July 3, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
3D-printed device detects biomarkers of preterm birth
Preterm birth (PTB) -- defined as birth before the 37th week of gestation -- is the leading complication of pregnancy.
More Biomarkers News and Biomarkers Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.