July 17, 2019
Study: Electronic cigarettes damage brain stem cells
RIVERSIDE – (INT) - A research team at UC Riverside has found that electronic cigarettes, or ECs, often targeted to youth, produce a stress response in neural stem cells, which are critical cells in the brain.

Using cultured mouse neural stem cells, the UC Riverside researchers identified the mechanism underlying EC-induced stem cell toxicity as “stress-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion,” or SIMH.

“SIMH is a protective, survival response,” said Prue Talbot, a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology who led the research. “Our data show that exposure of stem cells to e-liquids, aerosols, or nicotine produces a response that leads to SIMH.”

If the nicotine stress persists, SIMH collapses, the neural stem cells get damaged and could eventually die.

“Although originally introduced as safer, ECs, such as Vuse and JUUL, are not harmless,” said Atena Zahedi, who participated in the research. “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.”
Story Date: July 1, 2019
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