The use of electronic cigarettes or vaping causes serious damage to the lungs. After the new coronavirus responsible for respiratory disease COVID-19 emerged last year, there have been constant concerns about how vaping may affect the risk of infection and the severity of symptoms. Some evidence shows an increased risk of COVID-19 among those who vaporize. Research also shows a higher COVID-19 mortality rate in men compared to women, and men are more likely to be beaten than women. However, there is no evidence linking these two observations.
A new investigation by Jefferson reveals this by showing that exposure to the electronic cigarette steam increases coronavirus receptor levels in the lungs of male mice, especially when nicotine is present in the vapor. This could facilitate the infection of the virus. The findings were published in Journal of Research Medicine on April 29th.
Using the spike-shaped protein on its surface as a key, the new coronavirus binds to the angiotensin 2 conversion enzyme receptor (ACE-2) found in the lining of our airways and opens his way to ours lung cells.
“It has been shown that cigarette smokers they have higher ACE-2 levels in their lungs and that smoking is a known risk factor for developing lung disease and infection, “says Pawan Sharma, Ph.D. and lead co-author of the study.” We wanted to see if a similar effect is seen with e-cigarettes or smoking, and whether the observed effects are different between men and women “.
The researchers housed male or female mice in a box connected to an automated system that provided precisely controlled amounts of e-cigarette vapor, with or without nicotine, for 30 minutes, twice a day for 21 days. Compared to control mice that breathed air from the room, the mice were exposed electronic cigarette the steam had inflammation of its lung tissue and reduced lung function, confirming the dangers of vaping. These effects were observed whether or not nicotine was added to the vapor, noting the inherently harmful nature of the chemicals found in electronic cigarette steam.
There was also an increase in ACE-2 receptor levels in the lungs of male and female steam-exposed mice. Although this was not tested in the current study, higher levels of ACE-2 receptors could facilitate the entry of the virus into the airways, increasing susceptibility to infection.
Interestingly, the presence of nicotine in the steam further improved the increase in ACE-2 specifically in men. mice.
Researchers are the first to demonstrate this potential sex difference in the effect of vaping and nicotine exposure on ACE-2 levels in vivo. Although more research is needed to understand the complexity of COVID-19 risk factors, this result highlights important physiological differences that make one sex potentially more vulnerable.
“Our findings provide reasons to examine the effect of vaping on ACE-2 levels in human lungs,” says Dr. Sharma. “If a similar induction of ACE-2 is seen, it provides more evidence that vaping is a risk factor for COVID-19 and can help us understand how to prevent and mitigate infection in this population.”
See Naidu et al, Sexual differences in the induction of the angiotensin 2 converting enzyme (ACE-2) in mouse lungs after vapor exposure of e-cigarettes and their relevance to COVID-19, Journal of Research Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1136 / jim-2020-001768
Thomas Jefferson University
Citation: Vaping increases coronavirus susceptibility in mice (2021, June 29) Retrieved June 30, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-vaping-susceptibility-coronavirus-mice.html
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