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Wood smoke exposure multiplies damage from smoking, increases risk of COPD
Date:7/15/2010

Smokers who are exposed to wood smoke, either through home heating and cooking or through ambient neighborhood pollution, are not only at increased risk of COPD, but are also more likely to have epigenetic changes in the DNA that further increase their risk of COPD and related pulmonary problems.

Together, smoking, wood smoke exposure and these epigenetic changes can increase an individual's risk of COPD fourfold.

"When cigarette smokers are exposed to wood smoke their risk of having reduced lung function increases," explained lead author Yohannes Tesfaigzi, Ph.D. senior scientist and director of COPD Program at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, where the research was completed. "Cigarette smokers who have both changes in sputum DNA and are exposed to wood smoke have a synergistically increased risk of having reduced lung function and other indicators of COPD such as chronic mucous hypersecretion. "

The research was published online ahead of the print edition of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Tesfaigzi and colleagues administered questionnaires to more than 1800 current and former smokers between 40 and 75 years old, and obtained demographic and smoke exposure information, as well as sputum samples which were analyzed for epigenetic changes to eight genes known to be associated with lung cancer.

They found that wood smoke exposure was significantly and independently associated with an increased risk of respiratory disease, especially among current smokers, non-Hispanic whites and men. Furthermore, wood smoke exposure was associated with specific COPD outcomes in people who had aberrantly methylated p16 or GATA4 genes, and both factors together increased the risk more than the additive of the two risk factors together. They also found that people with more than two of the eight genes analyzed showing methylation were also significantly more likely to have a l
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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