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Assessing Toxicant Properties and Health Effects of Cigarillo and Hookah Tobacco Aerosols in Rats

Principal Investigator: Steven A. Belinsky and Carmen Tellez

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 1R01ES031787-01

Award Date: 5/19/2020

Institution: Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute (LBERI)

The goal of this project is to evaluate whether cigarillo and hookah tobacco aerosols exhibit differences in toxicants associated with five health outcomes (cancer, transcriptional reprogramming, lung function and inflammation, cardiovascular effects and serum circulatory inflammation) compared to cigarette smoke using a rat model. Study aims are: (1) to evaluate 14-day nose-only dose response exposures to aerosols generated from cigarettes, cigarillos, and hookah products; and (2) to evaluate the effect of these exposures on biomarkers of cardiopulmonary health effects. To address Aim 1, researchers will expose a total of 360 rats (10/sex/group) for one hour per day for 14 days to one of three exposure groups (250, 500, or 750 mg total particulate matter (TPM)/m3) and one of six tobacco products (two major consumer brands each of cigarettes, cigarillos, or hookah tobacco, selected based on their in vitro toxicant properties); an air exposure group of 20 rats will be included as a control group. The exposure atmosphere will be characterized for hazardous chemical substances including (but not limited to) carbon monoxide, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, nicotine, volatile carbonyls, and tar. To address Aim 2, researchers will use biospecimens collected following the exposures to assess and compare effects across the five health outcomes listed above. Researchers will obtain quantitative readouts of cardiopulmonary biomarkers to enable comparisons across products and to evaluate dose effects; biomarkers will include specific DNA adducts, lipid peroxidation, cytokine panels, global assessment of lung transcriptional reprogramming, gene expression changes in the heart and aorta, and gene expression changes predictive of circulatory inflammation. Findings may inform regulatory activities related to cigarillos and hookah tobacco. 

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