E-cigarettes: What You Should Know
Electronic cigarettes were introduced and promoted as a “safe alternative” to the smoking habit and to counter the adverse effects of cigarette smoke. When smoked, the first site in contact with the e-liquid vapor of the e-cigarette is the oral cavity, including the gingival tissues and the oral microbial community. E-cigarette use reportedly induces harmful free radicals and inflammation leading to gingival cell damage, which may affect the innate defense, thereby promoting oral infections.
Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia is a member of a research group that examined the impact of e-cigarettes on C. albicans growth and expression of different virulent genes, such as secreted aspartic proteases (SAPs), and the effect of e-cigarette vapor-exposed C. albicans on gingival epithelial cell morphology, growth, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity.
Dr. Rouabhia is professor of oral immunology, oral pathology, and biomaterials in the Faculty of Dentistry at Laval University.
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- E-cigarettes with or without nicotine promoted the growth and hyphal length of C. albicans, and that both nicotine-free and nicotine-rich e-cigarettes increased the expression of different SAP genes, such as SAP2, SAP3, and SAP9, which are known to contribute to C. albicans growth and virulence.
- Findings confirm that co-culture with e-vapor-exposed C. albicans increased gingival epithelial cell differentiation and reduced their growth. The co-culture showed even higher growth and morphological change of e-vapor-exposed C. albicans
than when placed in indirect contact with epithelial cells, compared to that observed with non-exposed C. albicans.
- Results show the contribution of e-cigarette exposure to C. albicans overgrowth, and virulent genes expression, which could cause oral candidiasis in individuals carrying C. albicans and using e-cigarettes.