Smoke and genes
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
A gene known as SIRT1 helps to keep you healthy. It’s in a class that affects stress resistance, and other processes that are involved in premature aging, such as cell death.
But researchers say the toxic chemicals in smoke damage the gene, so levels of SIRT1 in smokers are lower than levels in nonsmokers. Irfan Rahman of the University of Rochester links smoke’s chemicals with dangerous effects on antioxidants – body chemicals that protect cells.
``These chemicals damage antioxidants in the cell, and once these antioxidants are depleted, it will cause cell death.’’ (8 seconds)
The research in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine and the American Journal of Physiology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: May 7, 2011