Monday December 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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Genetic Alteration Can Increase Risk of Developing Autism and Tourette’s Syndrome

Some researchers also found that the ability of the Thalamic brain regions to communicate with other brain areas was impaired by the genetic deletion

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Genetic
Genetic deletion disrupts a brain area known as the Thalamus, compromising its ability to communicate with other brain areas. Pixabay

Researchers have discovered how a Genetic Alteration that increases the risk of developing Autism and Tourette’s impairs brain communication.

People with a genetic deletion known as chromosome 2p16.3 deletion often experience developmental delay and have learning difficulties.

They are also around 15 times more likely to develop Autism and 20 times more likely to develop Tourette’s Syndrome, but the mechanisms involved are not completely understood.

Using brain imaging studies, neuroscientists showed that deletion of the gene impacted by 2p16.3 deletion (Neurexin1) have impacts on the function of brain regions involved in both conditions.

This genetic deletion disrupts a brain area known as the Thalamus, compromising its ability to communicate with other brain areas, said the study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

“We currently have a very poor understanding of how the 2p16.3 deletion dramatically increases the risk of developing these disorders,” said lead researcher Neil Dawson of Lancaster University in Britain.

“However, we know that the 2p16.3 deletion involves deletion of the Neurexin1 gene, a gene that makes a protein responsible for allowing neurons to communicate effectively,” Dawson said.

Deletion of the Neurexin1 gene affects brain areas involved in Autism and Tourette’s including the Thalamus, a collection of brain regions that play a key role in helping other brain areas communicate with each other.

Autism
Researchers have discovered how a Genetic Alteration that increases the risk of developing Autism and Tourette’s impairs brain communication. Pixabay

Changes were also found in brain regions involved in processing sensory information and in learning and memory.

Importantly, the researchers also found that the ability of the Thalamic brain regions to communicate with other brain areas was impaired by the genetic deletion.

ALSO READ: Physical illness And injury Raises The Risk of Suicide in Men, Not Women: Study

They then tested the ability of a low dose of the drug Ketamine, which is used clinically at higher doses as an anesthetic, to normalise the alterations in brain function induced by genetic deletion.

“Intriguingly our data suggest that Ketamine can restore some aspects of the brain dysfunction that results from 2p16.3 deletion and suggests that ketamine, or other related drugs, may be useful in treating some of the symptoms seen in autism and Tourette’s,” Dawson said. (IANS)