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Mitochondrial Genetic Alterations: A Clinical Trial of a Standardized Research E-cigarette

Principal Investigator(s): Min-Ae Song

Funding Mechanism: NIH Grant

ID number: 1R21HL147401-01

Award Date: May 21, 2019

Institution: The Ohio State University


E-cigarettes may have the potential to reduce harm for current smokers, but additional research on target organ toxicity (e.g., the respiratory tract) would be useful. This study will focus on the effects of e-cigarette use on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the lung and nasal tract. Researchers will use bronchoscopy to evaluate the lungs of smokers who are switched to e-cigarettes, namely the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Standardized Research E-cigarette (SREC). In this study, 96 smokers aged 21-45, following baseline bronchial and nasal brushings, will be randomized to continue smoking their usual brand (control group), completely switch to the SREC, or receive nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). A follow-up bronchial and nasal brushing will be done after two months of use. Study aims are: (1) to assess changes in mtDNA genetic features (mutations and copy numbers) in the bronchial and nasal epithelium of smokers randomized to continued smoking, exclusive e-cigarette, or NRT use; (2) to investigate whether changes in mtDNA alterations are associated with lung inflammation and gene expression; and (3) to compare mtDNA alterations between bronchial and nasal samples. This study will determine the extent to which mtDNA alterations as a biomarker of harm are reduced following the use of e-cigarettes and provide evidence for the use of nasal epithelium for noninvasive biomarkers of harm. 

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