In the largest study of its kind, researchers at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) have found that exposure to cigarette smoke can alter gene expression -- the process by which a gene's information is converted into the structures and functions of a cell. These alterations in response to smoking appear to have a wide-ranging negative influence on the immune system, and a strong involvement in processes related to cancer, cell death and metabolism.
The scientists indentified 323 unique genes whose expression levels were significantly correlated with smoking behavior in their study of 1,240 people. The changes were detected by studying the activity of genes within white blood cells of study participants.
"Our results indicate that not only individual genes but entire networks of gene interaction are influenced by cigarette smoking," wrote lead author Jac Charlesworth, Ph.D., in the July 15 issue of the open access journal BMC Medical Genomics. Charlesworth, formerly at SFBR, is now a research fellow at the Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania in Australia.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Azar and Shepperd families of San Antonio, ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals and the AT&T Foundation. The study is part of SFBR's San Antonio Family Heart Study (SAFHS) which includes 40 families in the Mexican American community.
"Previous studies of gene expression as influenced by smoking have been seriously limited in size with the largest of the in vivo studies including only 42 smokers and 43 non-smokers. We studied 1,240 individuals, including 297 current smokers" Charlesworth said. "Never before has such a clear link between smoking and transcriptomics been revealed, and the scale at which exposure to cigarette smoke appears to influence the expression levels of our genes is sobering".
"Our results indicate that not only individual genes but entire networks of gene interaction are influenced by cigarette smoking. It is likely that this observed effect of smoking on transcription has larger implications for human disease risk, especially in relation to the increased risk of a wide variety of cancers throughout the body as a result of cigarette smoke exposure," Charlesworth said.
All of Charlesworth's ten co-authors on this paper are doctoral level faculty and staff in SFBR's Department of Genetics and members of the group of investigators working on the SAFHS lead by Principal Investigator John Blangero, Ph.D.
Charlesworth can be reached in Australia after 6 pm CT at 613-6226 -4607, or at Jac.Charlesworth@utas.edu.au. Co-authors, Joanne E. Curran, Ph.D., or Michael Mahaney, Ph.D., of SFBR are also available for interviews. They can be reached through Joe Carey, SFBR's Vice President for Public Affairs at 210-258-9437.
SFBR is one of the world's leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Located on a 200-acre campus on the northwest side of San Antonio, Texas, SFBR partners with hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world, targeting advances in the fight against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, psychiatric disorders, problems of pregnancy, AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, parasitic infections and a host of other infectious diseases. For more information on SFBR, go to www.sfbr.org.
Joseph Carey | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine