Mouse study: vaping has long-lasting effects on the hearts of adolescent males, but not females

In the mouse study, researchers found that vaping had a significant, long-term cardiovascular effect on adolescent males, but not on females. The results were published today in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

The researchers said the findings reinforce concern about vaping, especially among young people. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than half of high school students have tried e-cigarettes and nearly a third said they currently use the products. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive drug that can harm adolescent brain development.
“We don’t know the long-term effects of vaping because it’s only been around since the early 2000s. We haven’t had time to see what’s going on, especially with teenagers. This is the first study to assess cardiac function in adolescent mice exposed to e-cigarette aerosol,” said Loren Wold, lead study author and Associate Dean for Research Operations and Compliance. Ohio State College of Medicine.”An animal study like this is important because it is not possible to enroll children in a study like this. These types of studies give us an idea of ​​the dangers of vaping so that we can develop therapies and inform parents and public decision-makers about the risks of vaping.

The mice were exposed to an e-cigarette aerosol mixture of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin and nicotine, starting at the human equivalent of about 12 years old and up to about 30 years old in humans. The researchers found a reduction in heart function in men over time, but heart function in women was unaffected. Women also had a significantly higher amount of CYP2A5 (CYP2A6 in men), an enzyme that breaks down nicotine, than men.

“The results were surprising. We were shocked at the level of protection given to women,” said Wold, assistant dean for biological health research at the College of Nursing. “The theory is that since the enzyme breaks down nicotine much faster, the nicotine isn’t in the circulation for as long and that may be why women show protection from vaping.”

The next step in research is to determine when in adolescent development cardiac dysfunction occurs and to confirm whether the CYP2A6 enzyme helps protect women from developing vaping-induced heart problems.

The research is part of a $5.5 million grant from the American Heart Association awarded in 2020 to researchers from The Ohio State University Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Engineering. Other research focuses on the most effective regulations to reduce the appeal and addiction of e-cigarettes for young people and the best methods to help young people kick their addiction to e-cigarettes.

Media Contact: Amy Colgan, Wexner Medical Center Media Relations, [email protected]


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