Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smoking Linked To Brain Damage

Date:
June 23, 2009
Source:
Wiley - Blackwell
Summary:
New research suggests a direct link between smoking and brain damage. Scientists have found that a compound in tobacco provokes white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells, leading to severe neurological damage.

New research suggests a direct link between smoking and brain damage.
Credit: iStockphoto/Mark Fairey

New research which suggests a direct link between smoking and brain damage will be published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry. Researchers, led by Debapriya Ghosh and Dr Anirban Basu from the Indian National Brain Research Center (NBRC), have found that a compound in tobacco provokes white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells, leading to severe neurological damage.

The research centers on a compound known as NNK, which is common in tobacco. NNK is a procarinogen, a chemical substance which becomes carcinogenic when it is altered by the metabolic process of the body.

Unlike alcohol or drug abuse NNK does not appear to harm brain cells directly, however, the research team believe it may cause neuroinflamation, a condition which leads to disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis.

"Considering the extreme economical and disease burden of neuroinflammation related disorders, it is extremely important from a medical, social and economic point of view to discover if NNK in tobacco causes neuroinflammation" said Ghosh.

To prove if such a link exists the team conducted two types of tests, one outside of a living host in glass and one in laboratory mice. The team used blot analysis techniques which showed that the introduction of NNK resulted in a clear increase in proinflammatory signaling proteins, proinflammatory effector proteins and other stress related proteins. Increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which act as molecular messengers between cells, were also detected.

This shows that NNK provokes an exaggerated response from the brain's immune cells, known as microglia. Microglia cells act as 'destroyers' for the brain by attacking damaged or unhealthy cells. However, when provoked by NNK these cells start to attack healthy brain cells rather than the unhealthy cells they are supposed to attack.

"Our findings prove that tobacco compound NNK can activate microglia significantly which subsequently harms the nerve cells," said Basu.

While other harmful side effects of smoking, such as lung disease, usually derive from tar or smoke this research suggests damage is not confined only to smoking. NNK is present in all forms of tobacco and therefore it can also enter the body through chewing.

The study also suggests that second hand smoking may lead to the same neuroinflamation conditions. Concentrations of NNK in tobacco can vary from 20-310 nanograms in cigarettes. However, NNK is also present in the smoke itself, meaning that smoke-filled air indoors may contain up to 26 nanograms of NNK. This means that both direct and second-hand smoking can lead to substantial measures of NNK intake.

"This research sheds light on the processes that lead to nerve cell damage in those who smoke cigarettes or consume tobacco products on regular basis," said Ghosh.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley - Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wiley - Blackwell. "Smoking Linked To Brain Damage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623090400.htm>.
Wiley - Blackwell. (2009, June 23). Smoking Linked To Brain Damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623090400.htm
Wiley - Blackwell. "Smoking Linked To Brain Damage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623090400.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
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