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E-cigarettes and Western Diet: Important Metabolic Risk Factors for Hepatic Diseases.

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The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), also known as e-cigarettes, with a variety of e-liquids/e-juices, is increasing at an alarming rate among adolescents who do not realize the potential harmful health effects. This study examines the harmful effects of ENDS on the liver. Apolipoprotein E null (ApoE-/-) mice on a western diet (WD) were exposed to saline or ENDS with 2.4% nicotine aerosol for 12 weeks using our mouse ENDS exposure model system, which delivers nicotine to mice and leads to equivalent serum cotinine levels found in human cigarette users. ApoE-/- mice on a WD exposed to ENDS exhibited a marked increase in hepatic lipid accumulation compared with ApoE-/- on a similar diet exposed to saline aerosol. The detrimental effects of ENDS on hepatic steatosis were associated with significantly greater oxidative stress, increased hepatic triglyceride levels, and increased hepatocyte apoptosis, independent of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase signaling. In addition, hepatic RNA sequencing analysis revealed that 433 genes were differentially expressed in ENDS-exposed mice on WD compared with saline-exposed mice. Functional analysis indicates that genes associated with lipid metabolism, cholesterol biosynthesis, and circadian rhythm were most significantly altered in the liver in response to ENDS. Conclusion: These results demonstrate profound adverse effects of ENDS on the liver. This is important information for regulatory agencies as they regulate ENDS.

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