MONDAY, Oct. 30, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- E-cigarette use changes the profile of innate defense proteins in airway secretions, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Boris Reidel, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues analyzed induced sputum samples from cigarette smokers, e-cigarette users, and non-smokers using quantitative proteomics. Total and individual concentrations of mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B were determined by light scattering/refractometry and labeled mass spectrometry, respectively.

The researchers found that e-cigarette users showed significant increases in aldehyde-detoxification and oxidative stress-related proteins compared with non-smokers. Innate defense proteins associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as elastase and matrix metalloproteinase- 9, were significantly elevated in e-cigarette users as well. Sputum from e-cigarette users uniquely exhibited significant increases in neutrophil granulocyte- and neutrophil extracellular trap-related proteins despite no significant elevation in neutrophil cell counts. There was a compositional change in the gel-forming building blocks of airway mucus (i.e., an elevated concentration of mucin MUC5AC) seen in both cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users.

"These data challenge the concept that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to cigarettes," conclude the authors.

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Updated on May 29, 2022

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