Chronic exposure to e-cig aerosols during early development causes vascular dysfunction and offspring growth deficits.
Transl Res. 2019 Jan 7. Epub 2019 Jan 7. PMID: 30653941
Marcus R Orzabal
Increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), including among women of reproductive age, is attributed to its perceived safety compared to conventional tobacco. However, there is a major knowledge gap surrounding the effects of e-cig aerosols on pregnancy and fetal development. We aimed to evaluate the effects of vaping e-cigs during gestation on offspring growth and to asses if growth deficits are accompanied by altered maternal and fetal vascular hemodynamics. Sprague-Dawley dams were assigned to Pair-Fed Control, Pair-Fed Juice, or Juice+Nicotine groups, and then underwent either a prenatal or prenatal+postnatal exposure paradigm in a custom-engineered vaping system. Mass spectrometry identified major aerosolized constituents from e-cig vaping. The Juice+Nicotine group exhibited significantly decreased fetal weight and crown-rump length (↓46.56%, and ↓23.83%, respectively). Pre- and postnatal exposure to Juice+Nicotine resulted in decreased pup weight at postnatal day (PND) 4-10. Crown-rump length was decreased by 24.71% on PND 10. Blood flow in the Juice+Nicotine group was decreased in the maternal uterine and fetal umbilical circuits by 49.50% and 65.33%, respectively. We conclude that chronic exposure to e-cig aerosols containing nicotine during early development can have deleterious health effects on the exposed offspring. Vaping e-cigs containing nicotine during pregnancy lead to a reduction in offspring weight and crown-rump length, associated with a marked decrease in blood flow in both the maternal uterine and fetal umbilical circulation (a strong indicator of growth restriction). Thus, chronic exposure to e-cig aerosols containing nicotine can lead to potentially harmful developmental effects in early life.