Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook


The Fertility Show


 

Smokers risk DNA damage within minutes

24 January 2011

By Maren Urner

Appeared in BioNews 592

A team of US scientists has studied the immediate consequences of cigarette smoking in humans and found cigarette smoke potentially affects a smoker's genes within a timescale of minutes.

Twelve regular smokers participated in the study and were given specifically prepared cigarettes to which a non-carcinogenic substance, phenanthrene, had been added. The results showed that the highest concentration of the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals is found only 15 to 30 minutes after smoke inhalation.

Carcinogenic substances known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) have been associated with the development of lung cancer in smokers and are formed within 15 minutes after smoking a cigarette.

PAH are modified in the body resulting in the formation of another chemical known to react with a person's DNA causing mutations and initiating carcinogenic processes. Blood samples of all smokers in the study showed increased levels of this chemical only 15 to 30 minutes after the cigarette has been smoked.

Professor Stephen Hecht from the University of Minnesota, senior author of the research, emphasised the uniqueness of the study: 'It is the first to investigate human metabolism of a PAH specifically delivered by inhalation in cigarette smoke, without interference by other sources of exposure such as air pollution or the diet'.

Whereas the long-term effects of smoking are well-studied and known, its short-term consequences have so far been predominantly studied in animals. There are, however, some limitations to the findings. The study did not compare the results to a control group of non-smokers but only sampled regular smokers consuming at least ten cigarettes a day. For ethical reasons, the authors also used a non-carcinogenic PAH, which might show a different metabolism than other carcinogenic PAHs.

The study was published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology and was funded by the US National Cancer Institute.


SOURCES & REFERENCES
Chemical Research in Toxicology | 27 December 2010
 
BBC News | 16 January 2011
 
Daily Mail | 17 January 2011
 
New Scientist | 19 January 2011
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

14 January 2013 - by Emma Stoye 
The Department of Health has launched an advertisement campaign aiming to highlight the unseen damage caused by smoking...
17 September 2012 - by John Brinsley 
A trio of genetic studies published this week greatly expands researchers understanding of lung cancer...
11 July 2011 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Some of the highlights from the 27th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction (ESHRE) in Stockholm include good news for sperm donation in the UK; advice about how to reduce the effects of tobacco on unborn children; a 'non invasive' screening technique for chromosomal abnormalities in embryos; and a mathematical model to help reduce multiple births in IVF procedures...

13 September 2010 - by Seil Collins 
Two new studies have revealed further evidence of the harmful effect of smoking on both male and female fertility...
04 May 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
Scientists have identified a number of genetic mutations that appear to be associated with the number of cigarettes people smoke a day, the chance of taking up smoking, and the ability of being able to quit smoking...
09 November 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens 
A UK company has launched a genetic test aimed at predicting the risk of smokers developing lung cancer. The test, known as Respirigene, assesses 20 different genetic markers which have previously been linked to lung cancer in combination with other known risk factors for the disease, such as age, any prior medical history of chronic lung disease, and family history of lung cancer, to decide whether an individual is in a high, moderate or low risk category for lung cancer....

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Moving the Boundaries of Human Reproduction

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Jacques Cohen

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Andy Greenfield

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation