UCR Study Finds E-Cigarettes Damage Brain Stem Cells

Jul 2, 2019

Credit news.ucr.edu

A research team at the University of California, Riverside has found that electronic cigarettes damage brain cells.  KVCR's Benjamin Purper has more.

The team found that e-cigarettes produce a stress response in neural stem cells, which are critical cells in the brain. 

Stem cells become specialized cells in the body like brain or blood cells. They’re a lot more sensitive to stress than specialized cells, which means we can study them to find out how the body reacts to stress.

E-cigarettes deliver nicotine to these stem cells, placing them into a state of so-called “stress-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion.”

This state can lead to cell death or disease after chronic use, according to the study. 

The study’s authors say it shows that e-cigarettes are not harmless, and that even short-term use can lead to damaged brain cells. 

They also stressed that youth and pregnant women need to pay especially close attention to their use of e-cigarettes, as the nicotine can affect the brain in multiple ways during prenatal or adolescent development. 

For KVCR News, I’m Benjamin Purper.