Wednesday October 16, 2019

Third-Hand Smoke can Harm Respiratory System by Changing Gene Expressions: Study

A total of 382 genes among approximately 10,000 genes in the data set were significantly over-expressed and seven other genes were under-expressed, according to the study

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third-hand smoke
The nasal membrane tissue is similar to those in the bronchus, so the researchers suggested that the damage could go deeper into the respiratory system. Flickr

The hazards of second-hand smoke are well-known. Now, scientists have found even third-hand smoke (THS) could do harm to one’s respiratory health by changing gene expressions.

The study published in the latest edition of JAMA Network Open this week showed that the third-hand smoke can damage epithelial cells in the respiratory system, coercing those cells into a fight for survival, Xinhua news agency reported. THS results when the exhaled smoke and smoke emanating from the burning cigarettes settle on surfaces like clothing, hair and furniture.

The researchers from University of California, Riverside (UCR) obtained nasal scrapes from four healthy non-smoking women aged 27 to 49 years, who were randomized to receive the clean air exposure first and then THS exposure for three hours. The researchers extracted Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) from them to examine their gene expression changes.

third-hand smoke
Also, the researchers have found that the inhalation altered pathways associated with oxidative stress that may cause cancer in the long term. Flickr

A total of 382 genes among approximately 10,000 genes in the data set were significantly over-expressed and seven other genes were under-expressed, according to the study. “The THS inhalation for only three hours significantly altered gene expression in the nasal epithelium of healthy non-smokers,” said the paper’s first author Giovanna Pozuelos, a graduate student at UCR.

ALSO READ: Researchers Discover Extremely Harmful Levels of Toxins Found in Enamelled Decoration of Beer and Wine Bottles

Also, the researchers have found that the inhalation altered pathways associated with oxidative stress that may cause cancer in the long term. The nasal membrane tissue is similar to those in the bronchus, so the researchers suggested that the damage could go deeper into the respiratory system.

“Many smoking adults think, ‘I smoke outside, so my family inside the house will not get exposed.’ But smokers carry chemicals like nicotine indoors with their clothes,” said Prue Talbot, a professor at UCR, who led the research. “It’s important to understand people that the THS is real and potentially harmful,” said Talbot. (IANS)

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US: Antibiotic-Resistant Genes (ARGs) Prevail in Groundwater

Because they are biological contaminants -- small fragments of DNA that are released to the environment -- bacteria present

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US, Antibiotic, Genes
The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned. Pixabay

In an alarming find, a team of US researchers has discovered that antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) were prevalent in groundwater, posing a potential hazard to public safety and water security.

The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned.

“ARGs are not regulated in any way and are a challenging emerging contaminant of concern due to our reliance on biological treatment in the engineered water cycle,” said Adam Smith, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California (USC).

“Because they are biological contaminants — small fragments of DNA that are released to the environment — bacteria present in receiving environments can uptake them, becoming resistant themselves, and further perpetuating the spread of resistance.”

US, Antibiotic, Genes
The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned. Pixabay

Smith and a team of researchers including Moustapha Harb from Lebanese American University and PhD students Phillip Wang and Ali Zarei-Baygi from the USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, studied and compared samples from an advanced groundwater treatment facility in southern California and groundwater aquifers to detect differences in ARG concentrations.

While they found that the advanced groundwater treatment facility reduced nearly all targeted ARGs to below detection limits, groundwater samples had a ubiquitous presence of ARGs in both control locations and locations recharged with water from the advanced water treatment facility.

While some ARGs are naturally occurring in microbial communities, antibiotics, ARGs and antibiotic resistant pathogens are on the rise in water sources as a result of the overuse of antibiotics in general.

“Looking at the differences in ARGs between various water sources is incredibly important in considering future health hazards, like development of super bugs,” Smith said in a paper published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

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Since wastewater treatment plants are not generally designed for removal of micro-pollutants like antibiotics, they tend to persist in treatment systems, leading to high densities of ARG resistant bacteria at different stages of treatment.

When this water is introduced into an aquifer, where ARGs are already naturally occurring, it can become contaminated with ARGs and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

To further complicate the issue, ARGs are easily transferred through horizontal gene transfer, increasing the risk for antibiotic resistant pathogens.

“We must act fast before we enter a so called ‘post-antibiotic world’ where bacterial infections become impossible to treat,” Smith warned. (IANS)