Vaping disrupted teenage heart function, but only in males

(ORDO NEWS) — A new study by American scientists provides the first insight into what happens to the cardiovascular system of teenagers when they smoke e-cigarettes. Moreover, the effect of vaping on the heart depends on the gender of the teenager.

Employees of the Ohio State University College of Medicine (USA) conducted the first study of the effect of aerosol generated by electronic cigarettes on the cardiovascular system. The subjects were mice of both sexes three to five weeks old (mouse analog of adolescents).

Adolescent mice were exposed to an aerosol consisting of a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and nicotine for three weeks or three months. As a result, it turned out that e-cigarette smoking, modeled in this way, has a significant and long-term effect on the cardiovascular system of adolescents, but only in males.

In particular, during the experiment for three months in male adolescent rodents, a violation of the diastolic function of the left ventricle of the heart was found (that is, the myocardium of the left ventricle cannot fully relax to fill with blood). Typically, such disorders appear in mice and humans closer to old age. At the same time, short-term exposure to aerosols (three weeks) did not lead to any noticeable effect.

The researchers believe the findings should heighten concerns about vaping, especially among young people.

A survey conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than half of high school students have tried e-cigarettes, and almost a third reported long-term use of these devices. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive drug that can harm the developing brain.

“We don’t know the long-term effects of vaping since it has only been around since the early 2000s. To our knowledge, this is the first study that evaluates cardiac function in teenage mice exposed to e-cigarette aerosol,” explains Loren Wold , lead author of the study and associate dean for research at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

“Animal studies like this are important because we don’t have the ability to include children in these kinds of studies. The study of vaping provides insight into its dangers and allows the development of treatments for possible consequences, as well as informing parents and policy makers about the risks of vaping.”

Quite unexpected was the fact that neither teenage female mice, nor rodents of mature age (three months) of both sexes under similar experimental conditions were subject to similar changes in the cardiovascular system. Female mice also showed higher levels of the nicotine-breaking enzyme CYP2A5 (similar to human CYP2A6) than male mice.

“The results were unexpected. We are overwhelmed by the level of protection afforded to women,” Wald adds. “The hypothesis is that since the enzyme breaks down nicotine, the latter is not in the bloodstream for as long, and this may be why women are better protected from the effects of vaping.”

The next step in studying the effects of e-cigarette aerosols on the human body is to determine at what stage of adolescence cardiac dysfunction occurs and to confirm whether the CYP2A6 enzyme actually helps protect women from developing heart problems caused by vaping.

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