Jump to content

One puff of smoke can damage DNA


Recommended Posts

One puff of smoke can damage DNA

Researchers say mutated cells increase risk of cancer, heart disease

Updated: 4:55 p.m. ET Oct. 1, 2004WASHINGTON - Just one puff of a cigarette could damage a smoker’s DNA, the first step to cancer and heart disease, researchers said on Friday.

It obviously takes more than that to cause disease, but the team at the University of Pittsburgh were surprised at how little smoke it took to do the initial damage.

William Saunders and colleagues studied the effects of real cigarette smoke on human fibroblasts, common cells found in the connective tissue that holds much of the body together.

They exposed batches of growing cells to liquefied cigarette smoke and saw the chromosomes that carry the DNA were pulled apart from both ends.

“Double-stranded breaks are considered the most mutagenic type of DNA damage because the broken ends can fuse to other chromosomes in the cell,” Saunders said in a statement.

This happened with very small amounts of smoke, Saunders said in a statement prepared ahead of a weekend meeting of the Environmental Mutagen Society in Pittsburgh.

Cigarette smoking is known to cause lung cancer and is also linked to bladder, larynx and esophageal cancers, as well as heart disease.

“Unfortunately, no amount of scientific evidence arguing against smoking will get everyone to stop or not begin to smoke in the first place. So, perhaps one long-term goal should be to develop cigarettes that somehow prevent what we’ve seen happen to the cells in our lab,” Saunders said.

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.