新研究发现电子烟会引发慢性肠道炎症

近日一项新研究显示,仅电子烟蒸汽–不含尼古丁或香料–就可能引发肠道炎症。这项新研究通过一系列实验证明了电子烟蒸汽如何削弱肠道内壁并导致慢性炎症。对电子烟使用的长期影响进行研究仍处于早期阶段。
 
相对粗略的研究发现,电子烟可能会对肺部造成一些损害,但目前还不清楚这对人类健康意味着什么。迹象表明,电子烟的危害似乎不像传统香烟那么大,但它们肯定不是无害的。
 
来自加州大学圣地亚哥分校、这项新研究的通讯作者Pradipta Ghosh指出:“肠道是一个神奇的东西。它是由一层细胞组成,旨在密封身体使其免受数万亿微生物的侵袭、保护我们的免疫系统并与此同时允许人体吸收必要的营养物质。”
 
电子烟对肠道健康的影响是一个相对较少研究的领域,而电子烟对肠道内壁的影响更鲜为人知。2018年的一项小型但具有决定性的研究给电子烟使用者带来了一些好消息,该项研究表明电子烟跟传统香烟不同,其似乎不会对肠道微生物菌群多样性产生负面影响。
 
现在的新研究则通过动物和人类细胞模型来探索电子烟蒸汽对肠道内壁的影响。在实验中,研究人员先去除了尼古丁和调味化学物质转而专注于丙二醇和植物丙三醇–这两种化学物质在所有的电子烟液体中都为碱。
 
Ghosh表示,尼古丁含量及其致瘾性一直是那些反对其安全性的人关注的主要焦点,不过他们认为人们更应该担心的是构成蒸汽液体的化学物质,因为它们是肠道炎症的原因。
 
据了解,研究人员首先观察了吸入电子烟对老鼠模型的影响。急性暴露(每日使用,为期1周)跟慢性暴露(每日使用,为期3个月)进行比较。虽然急性接触电子烟烟雾只会产生轻微的负面影响,但长期接触电子烟却会导致严重的结肠炎症并降低跟肠道屏障功能相关的基因表达。
 
新研究发现电子烟会引发慢性肠道炎症
 
而研究的下一部分则是培育一个人类肠道的3D模型。研究人员需要将在结肠镜检查期间从人类病人身上收集的干细胞在实验室条件下进行培养,一直到它们分化成构成肠壁的关键细胞类型。这种小型、实验室培养的人体器官模型被称为有机器官。
 
研究人员发现,长期接触这些电子烟气体会导致被称为紧密连接标记的特定蛋白质的分解。这些蛋白质在肠道中起着物理屏障的作用,它们的分解会引发肠道炎症。
 
参与这项新研究的另一名研究人员Soumita Das表示:“这是首个证明长期接触电子烟会增加肠道对细菌感染的易感,进而导致慢性炎症和其他健康问题的研究。”
 
虽然对电子烟的长期健康影响的研究还处于早期阶段,然而,这些结果表明,需要更多的工作来更好地理解长期电子烟的影响。
 
Das表示:“考虑到肠道屏障在维持人体免疫稳态方面的重要性,研究结果为了解长期使用电子烟对我们健康的潜在长期有害影响提供了有价值的见解。”
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