5 years ago

E-cigarette aerosol exposure can cause craniofacial defects in <i>Xenopus laevis</i> embryos and mammalian neural crest cells

Amanda J. G. Dickinson, Rene Olivares-Navarrete, Allyson E. Kennedy, Suraj Kandalam
Since electronic cigarette (ECIG) introduction to American markets in 2007, vaping has surged in popularity. Many, including women of reproductive age, also believe that ECIG use is safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes and is not hazardous when pregnant. However, there are few studies investigating the effects of ECIG exposure on the developing embryo and nothing is known about potential effects on craniofacial development. Therefore, we have tested the effects of several aerosolized e-cigarette liquids (e-cigAM) in an in vivo craniofacial model, Xenopus laevis, as well as a mammalian neural crest cell line. Results demonstrate that e-cigAM exposure during embryonic development induces a variety of defects, including median facial clefts and midface hypoplasia in two of e-cigAMs tested e-cigAMs. Detailed quantitative analyses of the facial morphology revealed that nicotine is not the main factor in inducing craniofacial defects, but can exacerbate the effects of the other e-liquid components. Additionally, while two different e-cigAMs can have very similar consequences on facial appearances, there are subtle differences that could be due to the differences in e-cigAM components. Further assessment of embryos exposed to these particular e-cigAMs revealed cranial cartilage and muscle defects and a reduction in the blood supply to the face. Finally, the expression of markers for vascular and cartilage differentiation was reduced in a mammalian neural crest cell line corroborating the in vivo effects. Our work is the first to show that ECIG use could pose a potential hazard to the developing embryo and cause craniofacial birth defects. This emphasizes the need for more testing and regulation of this new popular product.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185729

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