Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Smoking damages key regulatory enzyme in the lung


Smoking appears to reduce a key enzyme in the lungs, possibly contributing to some of smoking’s deleterious health effects, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. The study, which used a radiotracer to track the enzyme, also shows that smokers had a lower concentration of the tracer in the bloodstream than nonsmokers did, leading to speculation that smokers and nonsmokers may respond differently to a variety of substances administered by inhalation or intravenously, including therapeutic, anesthetic and addictive drugs.

“The effects of smoking on human health are enormous; yet, little is known about the pharmacologic effects of smoking on the human body apart from the effects of nicotine,” noted Joanna S. Fowler, Ph.D., program director of the Brookhaven Center for Translational Neuroimaging in Upton, N.Y. Researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the State University of New York at Stony Brook used positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and a tracer chemical that binds to a specific form of the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO A) to track MAO A levels in both smokers and nonsmokers. With whole-body PET imaging, researchers could measure the concentration and movement of the radiotracer and MAO A, a subtype of the enzyme crucial to mood regulation and one that breaks down chemical compounds that elevate blood pressure, said the Society of Nuclear Medicine member.

In the study, “Comparison of Monoamine Oxidase A in Peripheral Organs in Nonsmokers and Smokers,” researchers traced the MAO A subtype in nine smokers and nine nonsmokers, discovering that MAO A was fairly well “intact” in all of the peripheral organs except in smokers’ lungs, said Fowler. Smokers had MAO A levels that were 50 percent lower than in nonsmokers, she said, noting that a prior study had also shown a significant reduction of MAO A in smokers’ brains.

MAO A breaks down many compounds that affect blood pressure, and the lung is a major metabolic organ in degrading some of these compounds, Fowler said. So reduced levels of MAO A in smokers’ lungs may be a significant factor contributing to some of the physiological effects of smoking, including changes in blood pressure and pulmonary function.

Smokers’ lungs also held onto the tracer chemical much longer than nonsmokers, and the delivery of tracer into the arterial blood supply was much lower for smokers, particularly for the first few minutes after being injected, Fowler added. This finding could imply that smokers and nonsmokers respond differently to other substances that enter the body via the bloodstream, including therapeutic drugs, anesthetics, abused substances and environmental agents—even nicotine.

Cigarette smoking, “the most damaging of all addictive substances,” remains the leading cause of preventable death and has negative health impacts on people at all stages of life, said Fowler, and has been in the headlines recently with the death of ABC “World News Tonight” anchorman Peter Jennings. Cigarette smoking accounts for 440,000 deaths each year in the United States, or nearly one of every five deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking kills more Americans than AIDS, illegal drugs, alcohol, car accidents, suicides and murders combined and increases one’s chances of developing lung, bladder, esophageal and throat cancers; chronic lung diseases; and coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases.

Fowler and her colleagues have been studying MAO for more than 30 years. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Biological and Environmental Research and the National Institutes of Health have provided funding for this study, said Fowler. She added, “It’s important that the public know about the benefits derived from the DOE’s long-term investments in basic science—especially in radioisotope and radiotracer chemistry and imaging physics—that have played such an important role in introducing new nuclear medicine procedures into the practice of health care.”

“Comparison of Monoamine Oxidase A in Peripheral Organs in Nonsmokers and Smokers” appears in the September issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, which is published by the Society of Nuclear Medicine. Fowler co-authored the article with Jean Logan, Ph.D., Colleen Shea, M.S., Victor Garza, M.S., Youwen Xu, M.S., Yu-Shin Ding, Ph.D., David Alexoff, BSE, and Donald Warner, all with Brookhaven National Laboratory’s chemistry department; Gene-Jack Wang, M.D., Frank Telang, M.D., Noelwah Netusil, RN, Pauline Carter, RN, Millard Jayne, RN, Payton King, M.S, and Paul Vaska, Ph.D., all with Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Medical Department; Nora D. Volkow, M.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Md.; Wei Zhu, Ph.D., Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, State University of New York at Stony Brook; and Dinko Franceschi, M.D., Department of Radiology, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Maryann Verrillo | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>