Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Smoking harms livers of unborn babies-Scientists

The impact of cigarette dam­age to unborn babies has been revealed in a new stem cell study. Scientists found that the cock­tail of chemicals in cigarettes is particularly harmful to develop­ing liver cells. They developed a method of studying the effects of maternal smoking on liver tissue using em­bryonic stem cells. The team, led by the Universi­ty of Edinburgh, also discovered the cigarette chemicals affect male and female foetuses differently.

      According to BBC News, dur­ing their research they used plu­ripotent stem cells - cells which have the ability to transform into other cell types - to build foetal liver tissue. Liver cells were exposed to the harmful chemicals found in cig­arettes, including specific sub­stances known to circulate in foe­tuses when mothers smoke. The study showed that a chem­ical cocktail - similar to that found in cigarettes - harmed foetal liver health more than individual com­ponents. Dr David Hay from the Uni­versity of Edinburgh’s centre for regenerative medicine, said: “Cig­arette smoke is known to have damaging effects on the foetus, yet we lack appropriate tools to study this in a very detailed way. This new approach means that we now have sources of re­newable tissue that will enable us to understand the cellular effect of cigarettes on the unborn foetus.”
The liver is vital in clearing tox­ic substances and plays a major role in regulating metabolism. Smoking cigarettes, which con­tain around 7,000 chemicals, can damage foetal organs and may do lasting harm.
The findings of the latest re­search, which was carried out in collaboration with the Universi­ties of Aberdeen and Glasgow, also highlighted the different ef­fects of cigarette smoke on livers in male and female foetuses.
Male tissue showed liver scar­ring and female tissue showed more damage to cell metabolism. Prof Paul Fowler, director of the institute of medical sciences at the University of Aberdeen, said: “This work is part of an ongoing project to understand how ciga­rette smoking by pregnant moth­ers has harmful effects on the de­veloping foetus.
“These findings shed light on fundamental differences in dam­age between male and female foe­tuses.”
The study is published in the journal Archives of Toxicology.

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