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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fundamentals of vaping-associated pulmonary injury leading to severe respiratory distress


Vaping of flavored liquids has been touted as safe alternative to traditional cigarette smoking with decreased health risks. The popularity of vaping has dramatically increased over the last decade, particularly among teenagers who incorporate vaping into their daily life as a social activity. Despite widespread and increasing adoption of vaping among young adults, there is little information on long-term consequences of vaping and potential health risks. This study demonstrates vaping-induced pulmonary injury using commercial JUUL pens with flavored vape juice using an inhalation exposure murine model. Profound pathological changes to upper airway, lung tissue architecture, and cellular structure are evident within 9 wk of exposure. Marked histologic changes include increased parenchyma tissue density, cellular infiltrates proximal to airway passages, alveolar rarefaction, increased collagen deposition, and bronchial thickening with elastin fiber disruption. Transcriptional reprogramming includes significant changes to gene families coding for xenobiotic response, glycerolipid metabolic processes, and oxidative stress. Cardiac systemic output is moderately but significantly impaired with pulmonary side ventricular chamber enlargement. This vaping-induced pulmonary injury model demonstrates mechanistic underpinnings of vaping-related pathologic injury.

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