U.S. researchers have discovered toxins in cigarette smoke can open small channels in cell membranes, leading to the cell`s death.
The researchers exposed membranes of heart and lung cells to an extract of cigarette smoke.
Dr. Ratneshwar Lal and colleagues at the University of Chicago explained that when the toxins in cigarette smoke open the channels, toxins 'flow directly into cells, overwhelming the delicate and carefully maintained balance within and triggering the signals that induce cell death.'
He added that the researchers 'were surprised to find out how little it took to cause such damage, only a small change in membrane electrical properties,' he added, 'and by how much damage it could cause.'
Their findings may help in the development of ways to prevent smoking-related cellular damage, and to limit the damage caused by other diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
The study, which included scientists at the University of California-San Diego and UC-Los Angeles, was published in the August 7 issue of the online journal PLoS One.
Last Mod: 10 Ağustos 2007, 16:28