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Toxicol Sci. 2019 Aug 6. pii: kfz176. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfz176. [Epub ahead of print]

The customizable e-cigarette resistance influences toxicological outcomes: lung degeneration, inflammation and oxidative stress-induced in a rat model.

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Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 48, Bologna, Italy.
Department for Life Quality Studies, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, d'Augusto 237, Rimini, Italy.
. Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Campus Scientifico "E.Mattei", Via Ca' Le Suore 2, Urbino, Italy.
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin, Italy.
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 40, Bologna, Italy.
Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Agrofood Research, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Via Quinto Bucci 33, Cesena, Italy.


Despite the knowledge gap regarding the risk-benefit ratio of the electronic cigarette (e-cig), its use has grown exponentially, even in teenagers. E-cig vapour contains carcinogenic compounds (e.g., formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein) and free radicals, especially reactive oxygen species (ROS) that cause toxicological effects, including DNA damage. The role of e-cig voltage customization on molecule generation has been reported, but the effects of the resistance on e-cig emissions and toxicity are unknown. Here we show that the manipulation of e-cig resistance influences the carbonyls production from non-nicotine vapour and the oxidative and inflammatory status in a rat model. Fixing the voltage at the conventional 3.5 V, we observed that the amount of the selected aldehydes increased as the resistance decreased from 1.5 to 0.25 Ω. Under these conditions, we exposed Sprague Dawley rats to e-cig aerosol for 28-days, and we studied the pulmonary inflammation, oxidative stress, tissue damage and blood homeostasis. We found a perturbation of the antioxidant and phase-II enzymes, probably related to the increased ROS levels due to the enhanced xanthine oxidase and P450-linked monooxygenases. Furthermore, frames from scanning electron microscope showed a disorganization of alveolar and bronchial epithelium in 0.25 Ω group. Overall, various toxicological outcomes, widely recognized as smoke-related injuries, can potentially occur in e-cig consumers who use low-voltage and resistance device. Our study suggests that certain "tips for vaping safety" cannot be established, and encourages further independent investigations to help public health agencies in regulating the e-cig use.


Electronic cigarette; animal model; inflammation; oxidative stress; resistance


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