Another Negative Effect of Nicotine Uncoveredadmin
A new study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine has uncovered yet another negative side effect of nicotine. While nicotine itself isn’t carcinogenic, it is considered responsible for cigarettes’ addictivity. Now researchers believe they’ve found evidence that nicotine is also responsible for spreading cancer from the lungs to the brain, according to IFLScience.com.
The researchers examined 281 lung cancer patients, noting that brain cancer was considerably more common in those who smoked cigarettes. The team hypothesized this trend was related to the fact that nicotine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and could, therefore, act as a carrier, promoting metastatic brain cancer. To test their hypothesis they turned to mice, treating mice that had been genetically modified to develop lung cancer with nicotine. Almost instantly these mice became more likely to develop brain tumors as well. After studying the tumors, the researchers determined nicotine helps spread lung cancer to the brain by affecting the microglial cells, causing them to morph from their M1 form, which destroys tumors, to an alternate form known as M2, which supports the growth of tumors by inhibiting certain immune responses.
But all is not lost! Researchers also identified a compound called parthenolide, which prevents microglia from morphing into their M2 form. Once the mice were treated with parthenolide, they no longer developed brain tumors.