Does maternal vaping cause brain blood vessels to behave abnormally in offspring? The short answer: yes. Consulting Editor Junie Paula Warrington (University of Mississippi Medical Center) interviews authors Mark Olfert and Paul Chantler (both at West Virginia University School of Medicine), along with expert Alex Carll (University of Louisville) about the latest groundbreaking study by Burrage et al. The authors set out to understand whether exposing pregnant female rats to a low daily dose of e-cigarette aerosol—with or without nicotine—would result in middle cerebral artery dysfunction in the offspring. In this unique study design, the offspring themselves were never directly exposed to e-cigarettes. Olfert, Chantler and co-authors then assessed vascular function in arteries from the brain in pups at multiple postnatal time-points, and found the offspring had significant reduction in the ability of the middle cerebral artery to relax (or vasodilate) when they needed to. The same levels of dysfunction were found in offspring whose mothers were exposed to vaping with nicotine added to the base e-liquid, as well as offspring of mothers who were exposed to vaping without nicotine in the base e-liquid. This data suggested that some component of the e-liquid other than nicotine (such as flavors or base solution) accounted for the dysfunction that was created. What’s more, the authors discovered that the cerebrovascular dysfunction did not resolve over time. Adult rats, even 7 months after birth, displayed similar levels of impairment as the 1-month-old rat pups. This research has sweeping public health implications for those considering vaping as an alternative to smoking when pregnant. Listen now.
E.N. Burrage, Eiman Aboaziza, Lance Hare, Sarah Reppert, Joshua Moore, William T. Goldsmith, Eric E. Kelley, Amber Mills, Duaa Dakhlallah, Paul D. Chantler, I. Mark Olfert Long Term Cerebrovascular Dysfunction in the Offspring from Maternal Electronic Cigarette Use during Pregnancy Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published June 25, 2021. DOI: doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00206.2021