Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Endotoxins in cigarette smoke

19.08.2004


A room where people smoke contains dozens or hundreds of times higher air concentrations of endotoxins than smoke-free indoor air. This has been shown by a research team from Lund University. Endotoxin is the name of a group of poisonous substances produced by bacteria and naturally occurring in the air and elsewhere. In normal low concentrations, endotoxins are not dangerous; indeed, they might play a role in protecting us against allergies. But at higher levels of concentration they induce serious inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract.



Endotoxins have long been known for their powerful capacity to cause inflammations. Dust rich in endotoxins constitutes a health risk in many workplaces and is seen as a key explanation for the high incidence of chronic bronchitis among farmers. Endotoxins from construction materials, dust, plants, etc. in the home can also contribute to asthma. On the other hand, it had not been clearly shown previously that cigarette smoke contains true endotoxins, i.e. bacterial lipopolysaccharides.

In its experiments, the Lund team, headed by Associate Professor Lennart Larsson, has tried to simulate both passive and active smoking. For the latter, they set up equipment that “smoked” a cigarette in 8-10 minutes and captured the contents of the smoke in a filter. For passive smoking, they “smoked” one cigarette every half hour in an unventilated room for seven hours and compared it with a similar room without smoke. The results, presented in the international journal Indoor Air, show that the level of the toxic substances in the air of the smoky room was a full 120 times higher than in a smoke-free room. Moreover, the tobacco endotoxin seemed to be the most aggressive sort among the various forms that exist.


The key to the finding is a unique method of chemical analysis that the Lund scientists have developed over many years to identify endotoxins in clinical trials and environmental tests. Using this method, they have verified the results presented a few years ago by the American scientist Jeffrey Hasday indicating that there may be endotoxins in cigarette smoke.

“This can be one reason why smokers so often suffer from respiratory ailments. The fact that passive smoking entails exposure to extremely high concentrations of endotoxins is an entirely new breakthrough” says Lennart Larsson, who hopes the new knowledge will be of use in anti-smoking campaigns.

The Lund team now wants to move on to see whether endotoxins from tobacco smoke can fasten onto particles of dust, thereby lingering in an environment where someone once smoked. They also aim to study how ventilation influences the levels of endotoxins from cigarette smoke in indoor air.

Ingela Björck | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lu.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Nanoparticles as a Solution against Antibiotic Resistance?
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>