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Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: The tar fraction of cigarette smoke does not promote arteriosclerotic plaque development.

Authors: Penn, A; Keller, K; Snyder, C; Nadas, A; Chen, L C

Published In Environ Health Perspect, (1996 Oct)

Abstract: In addition to being the single greatest known environmental cause of cancer, cigarette smoke (CS) is also a major contributor to heart disease. We reported previously that 1) inhalation of either mainstream or sidestream CS promotes aortic arteriosclerotic plaque development; 2) 1,3 butadiene, a vapor-phase component of CS, promotes plaque development at 20 ppm, which at the time was only 2 times higher than the threshold limit value; and 3) individual tar fraction carcinogens in CS, including polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrosamines, either do not promote plaque development or do so only at high concentrations. These results suggested that the tar fraction is not the primary source of plaque-promoting agents in CS. We asked whether repeated exposure to the tar fraction of CS, collected in a cold trap (TAR), promotes plaque development in an avian model of arteriosclerosis. Acetone extracts of mainstream CS tar from burning, unfiltered reference cigarettes were solubilized in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and injected weekly into cockerels for 16 weeks (25 mg/kg/week). Positive controls were injected weekly with the synthetic PAH carcinogen, 7,12 dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) dissolved in DMSO and negative controls were injected with DMSO. Plaque location and prevalence did not differ from group to group. Morphometric analysis of plaque cross-sectional areas showed that plaque sizes, which are log-normally distributed, were significantly larger in the DMBA cockerels compared to both the TAR and DMSO groups. There were no significant differences in plaque size between DMSO and TAR cockerels. The results reported here, combined with other recent findings, support the conclusion that the primary arteriosclerotic plaque-promoting components of CS are in the vapor phase.

PubMed ID: 8930554 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene/toxicity; Animals; Arteriosclerosis/chemically induced*; Chickens; Dimethyl Sulfoxide/toxicity; Male; Plants, Toxic*; Smoke/adverse effects*; Tars/toxicity*; Tobacco*

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