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Health, Science & Environment

OSU mouse study shows vaping has long-term effects on heart in males, but not females

Lindsay Fox

A new study by the OSU College of Medicine gives new insight into the cardiovascular effects of vaping in adolescents.

Researchers were surprised to find vaping had significant long-term impact on the heart in males, but not females.

For the study, mice were exposed to nicotine-containing vapor starting at an age that would be equivalent to ages 12 to 30 in humans.

Researchers found reduced heart function in male mice over time, but surprisingly, female mice were unaffected.

The females also had much higher amounts of an enzyme, CYP2A5 (CYP2A6 in humans) that breaks down nicotine.

Loren Wold, associate dean for research operations and compliance at the OSU College of Medicine and the study's senior author, issues a word of caution about the findings.

"We're not saying that females are always protected and that it's okay for females to vape. What we're saying is that at this time point, they are protected, but we don't know what the long-term consequences could be," he said.

The next step in the research is to determine at what point during adolescent development the cardiac dysfunction is occurring and confirm if the enzyme CYP2A6 helps protect females from developing heart problems brought on by vaping.

The results were published Monday in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

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Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.