Experiments on mice show this. Biologists have found sex differences in the effect of vaping on the heart and blood vessels of young mice. This suggests their possible danger to the circulatory system of young mice. The findings were published by the scientific journal Circulation.
“For ethical reasons, these experiments cannot be conducted on children, so we use animals. The new data will help doctors and parents be more aware of the threat e-cigarettes pose to their children’s health,” said Loren Wald, an Ohio State University professor who participated in the study.
In recent years, scientists have discovered much evidence that e-cigarette vapor is life-threatening, and yet it is often just as dangerous as tobacco smoke in that regard. In particular, scientists recently found that vaping vapors contain toxins, carcinogens and other substances that not only increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer, but also make the walls of arteries and veins more brittle.
Wald and her colleagues were interested in whether there were long-term effects of e-cigarettes that worsened heart and vascular function, which is often the case with long-term smoking of tobacco cigarettes. To get this information, scientists followed the effects of vaping on the health of several dozen mice on the cusp of puberty.
Consequences of vaping
During these observations, scientists monitored how fast the rodents grew, whether they developed lung and cardiovascular problems, and measured other vital signs. These observations unexpectedly revealed serious cardiac abnormalities that occurred only among male mice and were not characteristic of females.
In particular, the scientists documented left ventricular abnormalities in male mice that became increasingly pronounced throughout the three months during which they breathed vapor from e-cigarettes. Subsequent analysis of heart tissue structure showed that these abnormalities were associated with increasing fibrosis in the walls of the vessels that feed the heart.
So far, the scientists can’t say why this wasn’t characteristic of females. However, they speculate that it was due to increased activity of the CYP2A5 enzyme, which is responsible for the breakdown of nicotine, as well as decreased activity of the COL1A1 and COL3A1 genes, which stimulate connective tissue growth, in the heart cells of females.
Subsequent experiments and observations, Wald and her colleagues hope, will help biologists understand how and when left ventricular dysfunction occurs in males. This will allow them to develop methods to diagnose such abnormalities and create therapies to prevent the development of heart problems in men who began using vaping in their teens, the scientists summarized.