Vapers Or Electronic Cigarettes Causes Accelerated Aging and a Variety Of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Electronic Cigarettes( ECs) or vapers such as Vuse and JUUL were initially introduced as safer alternatives to cigarettes and were often targeting youths and women. However, a latest study by a team from University Of California has found that that ECs are more dangerous and can damage brain stem cells and ultimately lead to a variety of neurodegenerative diseases and also accelerated aging.
Brain Stem cells which are one type of stem cells present throughout life, are far more sensitive to stress than the specialized cells they become. Toxicants such as nicotine in cigarette smoke produce a stress response in neural stem cells, which are critical cells in the brain. In particular, their mitochondria,organelles that serve as the cell's powerhouses and are critical in regulating cell health are affected by these toxicants.
Utilizing cultured animal model neural stem cells, the researchers identified the mechanism underlying EC-induced stem cell toxicity as "stress-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion," or SIMH.Professor Prue Talbot, lead researcher commented in a telephone interview with Thailand Medical News,” SIMH is a protective, survival response Our research show that exposure of stem cells to e-liquids, aerosols, or nicotine produces a response that leads to SIMH. 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.”
During SIMH, round punctate mitochondria fuse together to form long hyperfused networks in order to help each other, making them less vulnerable to degradation. The high levels of nicotine in ECs lead to a nicotine flooding of special receptors in the neural stem cell membrane. Nicotine binds to these receptors, making them to open up. Calcium and other ions begin to enter the cell. Ultimately, a calcium overload follows.
Excessive calcium in the mitochondria is harmful. The mitochondria swell, changing their morphology and function. They can rupture and leak molecules that lead to cell death. If the nicotine stress persists, SIMH collapses, the neural stem cells get damaged and eventually die, leading to a situation where no more specialized cells such as astrocytes and neurons can be produced from stem cells.
Damaged stem cell mitochondria accelerates aging and leads to neurodegenerative diseases. Neural stem cells can also get exposed to nicotine through the olfactory route.Users inhale the fumes, which can travel through the olfactory tracks to reach the brain.
Youth and Pregnant women are most vulnerable as their brains are in a critical developmental stage.Nicotine exposure during prenatal or adolescent development can affect the brain in multiple ways that may impair memory, learning, and cognition.
Reference: Atena Zahedi et al. Mitochondrial Stress Response in Neural Stem Cells Exposed to Electronic Cigarettes, iScience (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.05.034