Toxin from tobacco smoke could increase pain

5 December 2014

A new study has suggested that a toxin found in tobacco smoke could increase the pain patients suffer in spinal injuries, as well as worsening multiple sclerosis.

The neurotoxin called acrolein is thought to increase pain when 12 cigarettes are smoked per day. However, if it is proved that the toxin exacerbated pain, there is a potential solution as a drug, which is already approved for use, could be used as treatment.

This is according to Riyi Shi, a professor in Purdue University's Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. The drug has been shown to work in animal models, but Professor Shi is currently working to develop a low-dose version for that purpose in humans.

The study, published in the journal Neuroscience Bulletin, exposed mice to a level of acrolein equivalent to 12 cigarettes per day over three weeks. 

The researchers documented the concentration of biochemical markers for acrolein in the urine and spinal cord, and indicate that the toxin was about 50 per cent higher than normal.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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