Intense openness of lung tissue to vape airborne lesserly affects gene expressionthan cigarette smoke

Intense openness of lung tissue to vape airborne lesserly affects gene expressionthan cigarette smoke


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  • Source: Imperial Brands

  • Date: 21 Mar,2021

A new peer-reviewed study published in the journal Toxicological Research & Application reveals acute exposure of a 3D human bronchial tissue model to e-cigarette aerosol has minimal impact on gene expression in contrast to smoke from combustible cigarettes.

The study included sub-cytotoxic vulnerability to cells in a 3D human bronchial model (MucilAirTM) to nicotine-containing vape aerosol, combustible cigarette smoke and fresh air control under strict laboratory conditions.

The highly sensitive Toxicity Testing in the Twenty-First Century (TT21C)-based technique enables researchers to gain a mechanistic understanding of the possible effects of exposure to vape aerosol and 3R4F (reference cigarette) smoke, without experiencing different processes that may be triggered by considerably higher exposures – like cell death – that could potentially make interpretation of results difficult.

After mobile’retrieval’ periods of 48 hours, scientists analyzed the expression of a number of genes to ascertain if any were increased or decreased by the single exposure.

“During this model, exposure to combustible cigarette smoke triggered significant changes in gene expression, signaling – amongst other effects – changes in oxidative stress and inflammation markers,” confirmed Matt Stevenson, Pre-Clinical Toxicology Manager at Imperial Brands. “Conversely, the vape aerosol generated just a minimal response, like that observed from the air control.”

Focusing on the 3R4F reference cigarette, no pathways were activated after four hours exposure, but at 48 hours the cells had both genes related to cell cycle and cell death pathways triggered. Conversely, those cells exposed to vape aerosol demonstrated slightly elevated NF-KappaB signaling pathways after four hours exposure. But at 48 hours no pathways were activated.”

The results from this study showthat under the conditions of evaluation, acute exposure to vape aerosol had less impact on gene expression in human lung cells in vitro than the equivalent dose of cigarette smoke.

“This latest research adds to the growing body of research accumulated by both Imperial Brands and others, demonstrating the appreciable harm reduction potential of Next Generation Products (NGPs) like vapes compared to continuing combustible cigarette smoking,” said Dr Grant O’Connell, Head of Tobacco Harm Reduction Science in Imperial.

“We encourage regulators and policy makers to consider the weight of evidence that shows the clear scientific differences between combustible cigarettes, which burn tobacco, and potentially harm-reduced NGPs which don’t,” he reasoned.

Journal reference:

Phillips, G., et al. (2021) Acute electronic vapour product whole aerosol exposure of 3D human bronchial tissue results in minimal cellular and transcriptomic responses when compared to cigarette smoke. Toxicological Research and Application.

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