How does the use of e-cigarettes affect the liver?
The popularity of electronic cigarettes has increased significantly in recent years. Researchers have now found that using e-cigarettes can lead to an accumulation of fat in the liver.
- E-cigarettes harm the liver.
- E-cigarettes can cause liver disease, diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
- Certain genes accelerate the development of fatty liver diseases.
In their current study, scientists at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles found that e-cigarettes seem to harm the liver. The doctors published the results of their study at the 100th Annual Endocrine Society in Chicago (ENDO 2018).
Do e-cigarettes harm health?
Many smokers of normal cigarettes have switched to e-cigarettes in recent years. The advertisement conveys that e-cigarettes are safer for health than conventional cigarettes, which is often a reason for deciding to use e-cigarettes. However, the new study shows why e-cigarettes are by no means to be considered safe for health. The results could have important implications for public health and legislation, the researchers explain.
Many long-term effects are still unknown
The liquid in e-cigarettes can contain nicotine, which has already been linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. However, the long-term effects of using e-cigarettes on liver diseases, diabetes, heart diseases or strokes are still unknown.
How did the investigation go?
During the study period (12 weeks), the doctors carried out an examination on mice. The animals lacked the gene for apolipoprotein E. This made them more susceptible to the development of heart diseases and fatty liver. All mice in the study received a diet that was relatively high in fat and cholesterol. A group of these mice were exposed to aerosol from e-cigarettes so that their blood nicotine levels were similar to that of smokers and e-cigarette users. A second group of mice were exposed to a saline aerosol.
E-cigarettes promoted liver diseases
The researchers took samples of the liver and then examined genes contained therein that were affected by the use of e-cigarettes. A technique was used for this, which is referred to as so-called RNA sequence analysis. The scientists identified changes in a total of 433 genes that were associated with the development and progression of fatty liver in the mice. The experts also found that genes related to circadian rhythms accelerate the development of liver disease, including the development of fatty liver, in mice.
Preventive measures must be taken
"Our experimental results will help policymakers, as well as state and state regulators, take preventive measures to stop the increasing use of e-cigarettes in children and adults," said study author Theodore C. Friedman of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in a press release. (as)