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Studying the metabolome of smokers, Lombardi researchers find early signs of damage
Date:11/7/2010

king-related toxins differently, the study enrolled 5 light smokers (fewer than 12 cigarettes a day) and 5 heavy smokers (23 or more cigarettes smoked a day).

The researchers then analyzed the global metabolomic profile of about 3,000 chemicals in the blood of each smoker. A metabolite is produced when anything taken into the body such as food, tobacco smoke, alcohol, medicine is metabolized, or broken down into chemicals that produce a biological function via metabolic pathways. The global metabolome is the network of metabolic reactions, and metabolomics is analysis of the metabolome at any given time.

Using complicated tools, researchers can trace the metabolites in the context of relevant pathways that are affected by cigarette smoke including cell death, cell-cell interactions (a marker of inflammation), lipid metabolism, and gene expression In heavy smokers, they then traced metabolites that were being produced after smoking back to damage in multiple organs and to a breakdown in the phospholipids that make up a cell's membrane, and a change in production of bile acids.

The study is ongoing, and researchers also plan to compare changes in those smokers' metabolome to their transcriptome all RNA molecules produced in the cells of the smokers, which was done in the lab few years ago. This would reflect the genes that are actively being expressed at a given time.

"One goal of our work is to identify new risk markers for lung cancer that can then enhance early detection of smoking-related disorders, and to do that we need to develop new biomarkers," Hsu says.


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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
215-514-9751
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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