advertisement
20 July 2010

Tobacco smoke disturbs genes

Exposure to cigarette smoke can undermine the immune system and raise the risk for cancer, cell death and metabolic problems by harming gene expression, new research reveals.

Exposure to cigarette smoke can undermine the immune system and raise the risk for cancer, cell death and metabolic problems by harming gene expression, new research reveals.

Gene expression is a crucial process in which a gene's information is changed into the structures and functions of a cell. The study, conducted by researchers from the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR), uncovered the association by identifying links between the specific expression patterns of 323 genes (all located within white blood cells) among a pool of 1 240 people including 297 current smokers.

Entire networks affected

"Our results indicate that not only individual genes but entire networks of gene interaction are influenced by cigarette smoking," lead study author Jac Charlesworth said in a news release from SFBR. "The scale at which exposure to cigarette smoke appears to influence the expression levels of our genes is sobering."

Charlesworth, formerly of SFBR, is currently a research fellow at the Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania in Australia. He and his colleagues published their findings online in BMC Medical Genomics.

The authors noted that their research, co-funded by the US. National Institutes of Health, is the largest study to date investigating smoking's effect on gene expression.

"It is likely that this observed effect of smoking on [RNA biosynthesis] has larger implications for human disease risk," Charlesworth added, "especially in relation to the increased risk of a wide variety of cancers throughout the body as a result of cigarette smoke exposure." (July 2010)


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Teen angst »

Detecting depression: Phone apps could monitor teen angst

Studies have linked heavy smartphone use with worsening teen mental health. But as teens scroll through Instagram and Snapchat, tap out texts or watch YouTube videos, they also leave digital footprints that might offer clues to their psychological well-being.

Lifestyle changes »

Lifestyle changes helped new dad shed more than 20kg

Erik Minaya started to put on the kilos during his first year year in college. By age 24, he tipped the scale at nearly 120kg. But then he cut out fast food, replacing it with lower-carb offerings that he prepared himself.