Farrah Kheradmand, MD, explains the effects of vaping duration on lung function.
When mice were exposed to 3 months of electronic cigarettes, and then exposed them to influenza, these mice succumbed to influenza much faster, said Farrah Kheradmand, MD, a professor of medicine-pulmonary at Baylor College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Houston Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. Kheradmand's research was presented at this year's American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2021 virtual conference.
Based on your research, would you expect to see differential outcomes based on time of use, or repeated use of vapes?
Yes, and that's exactly what we found. We found that as early as a month, if you take these alveolar macrophages and put them in culture, and then try to simulate a scenario where they actually need to activate some markers, some genes, and some proteins, in order to combat a virus, they're not doing that. They're not doing a normal function as early as a month. Now, when we then took these mice and exposed them to 3 months of electronic cigarette, and then exposed them, in real life, to influenza these mice succumbed to influenza much faster and lost a lot more weight, and they were much, much sicker, again, independent of nicotine, than mice that were exposed to air.
What are the next steps for your research?
Yes, so lots of interesting questions fall out of that. One of the missions of my lab is to try to crack this story further open so we could see that if we get patients with electronic induced vaping and electronic-associated lung injury, how can we help them? How can we go back and now reverse the pathology? We have some ideas; we have some molecules in mind. We know that the macrophages display very different cell surface markers, and we're trying to understand what makes the sulfur surface markers different. We’re basically pursuing lots of different mediators that correlate with the changes and we're going to functionally change them or re-expose them to the some of these missing factors to see if that can reverse the process.