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Electronic Cigarette Risk-for-Harm to Subgingival Microbiota May be Similar or Greater Than Smoking

Alexandria, VA, USA – At the 95th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), researcher Sukirth Ganesan “Electronic Cigarettes Exacerbate Virulence Potential in the Disease-naive Subgingival Microbiome.” The IADR General Session was held in conjunction with the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research and the 41st Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research. 

The investigation aimed to examine the effects of e-cigs on the subgingival microbiome by looking at subgingival plaque samples collected from 100 periodontally and systemically healthy individuals from 5 groups: e-cig users (E), cigarette smokers (S), dual users (SE), former smokers currently using e-cigs (FSE), and controls (NSNE). Whole genome shotgun-sequencing was used for functional and taxonomic characterization. The findings were validated using an in vitro biofilm model. 

Ganesan found 8879 functionally-annotated genes were identified in the e-cig microbiome, over one-third of which were found in all individuals in the E, SE and FSE groups. By contrast, individuals in S and NSNE groups shared a maximum of 15% of their genes. E-cig users were functionally and taxonomically distinct from both smokers and nonsmokers. 1353 genes were unique to E, SE and FSE groups, encoding for antibiotic-resistance, motility-chemotaxis, stress-response, horizontal gene- transfer, cell-wall, iron-acquisition, and membrane-transport. These functionalities were encoded by several known pathogens, belonging to the genera Fusobacteria, Treponema, Prevotella and Bacteroides, as well as to several as-yet-uncultivated-species. E, SE, and FSE groups were compositionally and functionally similar. These differences in functional-potential were also evident at the transcriptional level. 51 biomarkers of e-cig exposure were identified.

Based on the evidence Ganesan concluded the risk-for-harm associated with e-cigs may be similar to or greater than smoking. The similarity in the microbiomes of former, current or never smokers who use e-cigs does not support the hypothesis that e-cigs promote harm-reduction in cigarette-smokers. The pathogen and virulence enrichment observed in clinically healthy individuals might augur the emergence of a new risk factor for periodontal diseases.

This is a summary of abstract #2221 titled “Electronic Cigarettes Exacerbate Virulence Potential in the Disease-naive Subgingival Microbiome”, presented by Sukirth Ganesan Friday, March 24, 2017, 11 a.m. – 3p.m. at Moscone West, San Francisco, Calif., USA. 

About the International and American Associations for Dental Research
The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with nearly 11,000 individual members worldwide, dedicated to: (1) advancing research and increasing knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide, (2) supporting and representing the oral health research community, and (3) facilitating the communication and application of research findings. To learn more, visit
www.iadr.org.

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