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Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use continues to rise despite concerns of long-term effects, especially the risk of developing lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Neutrophils are central to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with changes in phenotype and function implicated in tissue damage. We sought to measure the impact of direct exposure to nicotine-containing and nicotine-free e-cigarette vapor on human neutrophil function and phenotype. Neutrophils were isolated from the whole blood of self-reported nonsmoking, nonvaping healthy volunteers. Neutrophils were exposed to 40 puffs of e-cigarette vapor generated from e-cigarette devices using flavorless e-cigarette liquids with and without nicotine before functions, deformability, and phenotype were assessed. Neutrophil surface marker expression was altered, with CD62L and CXCR2 expression significantly reduced in neutrophils treated with e-cigarette vapor containing nicotine. Neutrophil migration to IL-8, phagocytosis of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus pHrodo bioparticles, oxidative burst response, and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-stimulated neutrophil extracellular trap formation were all significantly reduced by e-cigarette vapor treatments, independent of nicotine content. E-cigarette vapor induced increased levels of baseline polymerized filamentous actin levels in the cytoplasm, compared with untreated controls. The significant reduction in effector neutrophil functions after exposure to high-power e-cigarette devices, even in the absence of nicotine, is associated with excessive filamentous actin polymerization. This highlights the potentially damaging impact of vaping on respiratory health and reinforces the urgency of research to uncover the long-term health implications of e-cigarettes. Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Alice E Jasper, Aduragbemi A Faniyi, Lauren C Davis, Frances S Grudzinska, Robyn Halston, Jon Hazeldine, Dhruv Parekh, Elizabeth Sapey, David R Thickett, Aaron Scott. E-cigarette vapor renders neutrophils dysfunctional due to filamentous actin accumulation. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2024 Jan;153(1):320-329.e8

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PMID: 37678576

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