Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Finds Prenatal Exposure To Testosterone Boosts Smoking

Date:
September 14, 1999
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
Five years ago, Dr. Denise B. Kandel, professor of psychiatry and public health at Columbia University, published a study suggesting that nicotine in the blood of pregnant women who smoked made it more likely that their daughters also would smoke when they reached adolescence or beyond. Now, working with Dr. Richard Udry, Kenan professor of maternal and child health and sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kandel has found that's apparently not true.

CHAPEL HILL - Five years ago, Dr. Denise B. Kandel, professor of psychiatry and public health at Columbia University, published a study suggesting that nicotine in the blood of pregnant women who smoked made it more likely that their daughters also would smoke when they reached adolescence or beyond.

The idea was that a biological mechanism kicked in that sensitized unborn babies to nicotine. Now, working with Dr. Richard Udry, Kenan professor of maternal and child health and sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kandel has found that's apparently not true.

Instead, the two have discovered that higher levels of testosterone -- the so-called "male" hormone -- in pregnant smokers somewhat predisposed their daughters to smoke themselves as they got older. The effect was above and beyond the widely accepted principle that children will mimic parents' behaviors to varying degrees as they age.

A report on the findings appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health. "From a basic science point of view, we think this is an important finding because it wasn't known before that testosterone had this effect," Udry said. "From a practical point of view, it may be less important because there's nothing you can do about it, and you probably wouldn't want to do anything even if you could." Smoking during pregnancy is obviously a bad idea because it contributes to premature delivery and low-birth-weight babies, he said, not to mention its harmful effects on the heart, lungs and blood vessels. "At least this is one less thing for young women who smoke to worry about," Udry said. "You don't have to think about your prenatal smoking causing your daughter to smoke."

The new study came about after Udry read Kandel's first paper and knew that data from frozen blood samples collected from mothers in the early 1960s would enable them to test Kandel's hypothesis about a nicotine-prompted smoking "trigger." Also available was extensive interview information from pregnant women and, more recently, from their daughters when they reached their mid-teens and late 20s.

The frozen blood samples, which tests showed remained in good condition for more than 30 years, revealed both testosterone during pregnancy and levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine indicative of how much a person smokes. Kandel and Udry found no correlation between prenatal cotinine levels in mothers and daughters' later smoking. They did uncover a distinct correlation, however, between mothers' testosterone and daughters' smoking. Researchers analyzed information from 240 pairs of mothers and daughters involved in research known as the Child Health and Development Study. They controlled statistically for the daughters' smoking in imitation of their mothers.

There is no evidence that smoking increases testosterone in humans or animals but may decrease the hormone somewhat, Udry said. Mechanisms underlying relationships of prenatal testosterone with mothers' and daughters' smoking are unknown. Blood samples, which came from California Kaiser Permanente patients, have been and continue to be used in numerous other studies, including work on cancer and environmental toxins to which the pregnant women may have been exposed.

"The effects of nicotine or continine on testosterone and the role of smoke compounds and nicotine metabolites other than continine need to be better understood before the hypothesis of an effect of exposure to prenatal maternal nicotine on offspring smoking is discarded," Kandel and Udry wrote.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Study Finds Prenatal Exposure To Testosterone Boosts Smoking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990914082344.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1999, September 14). Study Finds Prenatal Exposure To Testosterone Boosts Smoking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990914082344.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Study Finds Prenatal Exposure To Testosterone Boosts Smoking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990914082344.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Doctors have used radio frequency ablation or RFA to reduce neck and back pain for years. But now, that same technique is providing longer-term relief for patients with severe knee pain. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins