New Study Finds That E-cigarettes Vapor May Suppress Cell Activity in Lungs

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Inhaling e-cigarette vapor can hinder the normal function of frontline immune cells, as a recent study indicates that even moderate exposure to smoke suppresses cell activity.

Vaping may harm neutrophils

The study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology indicates that inhaling e-cigarette smoke may harm neutrophils, the immune system’s first line of defense. This discovery is significant because prior research has linked neutrophil damage from cigarette smoking to lasting lung damage. Neutrophils play a crucial role in lung protection by moving from the blood to potential harm sites and employing protective functions.

University of Birmingham researchers conducted a study using blood samples from non-smoking and non-vaping individuals. They exposed neutrophils from these samples to 40 unflavored vape puffs, with some exposed to nicotine-containing vapor and others to nicotine-free alternatives. The findings revealed that in both groups, neutrophils remained alive but became immobile, hindering their ability to respond to bodily threats effectively.

The study’s lead author and associate respiratory science professor at the University of Birmingham Dr Aaron Scott said that they discovered that even brief exposure to e-cigarette vapor hinders cell mobility and disrupts their protective functions, regardless of nicotine content in the e-liquids.

According to Scott e-cigarettes are recommended as a low harm tool that can help smokers kick the habit but data from the latest study adds to existing evidence about e-cigarettes being safe and the need for more funding for long-term studies on vaping.

Microfilaments accumulation in neutrophils prevents rearrangement

In additional tests involving neutrophils exposed to e-cigarette vapor, it appears that there is an accumulation of microfilaments within these cells, preventing them from properly rearranging themselves. This disruption in their normal function is primarily due to the altered behavior of actin, which typically forms small filaments in cells and aids in reshaping them. Neutrophils rely on this process to navigate toward and engulf potential threats for destruction.

The study found that neutrophils exposed to e-cigarette vapor, with or without nicotine, had elevated levels of F-actin, causing reduced mobility and impaired normal function in these immune cells.

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