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Chemicals in cigarette smoke shown to damage foetal liver cells

Chemicals found in cigarette smoke damage foetal liver cells, a study has found.
smoke

Chemicals found in cigarette smoke damage foetal liver cells, a study has found

Chemicals found in cigarette smoke constitute a particular risk to the foetus if the mother smokes during pregnancy and can damage foetal liver cells, a study has shown.

Scientists say the potent cocktail of chemicals in cigarettes is particularly harmful to developing liver cells, and affects male and female foetuses differently.

A research team led by the University of Edinburgh developed a new way of studying the effects of maternal smoking on liver tissue, using embryonic stem cells.

10.6%

of mothers in England were recorded as smokers at the time of delivery in 2015-16, down from 11.4% in 2014-15.

Source: NHS Digital

Scientists used pluripotent stem cells non-specialised cells that have

...

Chemicals found in cigarette smoke damage foetal liver cells, a study has found

smoke
Cigarette smoke may do lasting harm to the foetus. Picture: iStock

Chemicals found in cigarette smoke constitute a particular risk to the foetus if the mother smokes during pregnancy and can damage foetal liver cells, a study has shown.

Scientists say the potent cocktail of chemicals in cigarettes is particularly harmful to developing liver cells, and affects male and female foetuses differently.

A research team led by the University of Edinburgh developed a new way of studying the effects of maternal smoking on liver tissue, using embryonic stem cells.

10.6%

of mothers in England were recorded as smokers at the time of delivery in 2015-16, down from 11.4% in 2014-15.

Source: NHS Digital

Scientists used pluripotent stem cells – non-specialised cells that have the distinctive ability to be able to transform into other cell types – to build foetal liver tissue.

Liver cells were exposed to harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, including specific substances known to circulate in foetuses when mothers smoke.

The study showed more harm to foetal liver health than individual components.

The liver is vital in clearing toxic substances and plays a major role in regulating metabolism.

Smoking cigarettes – which contain around 7,000 chemicals – can damage foetal organs and may do lasting harm, the scientists said.

They found cigarette chemicals damage the liver differently in male and female foetuses, with male tissue showing liver scarring and female tissue showing more damage to cell metabolism. 


Lucendo-Villarin B et al (2017) Modelling foetal exposure to maternal smoking using hepatoblasts from pluripotent stem cells. Archives of Toxicology. doi:10.1007/s00204-017-1983-0

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