The lungs of smokers magically regenerate after quitting tobacco

Smoking is a risk factor for many diseases, primarily lung cancer. The rejection of bad habits, of course, reduce the likelihood of developing this disease, but the damage to the respiratory organs, will remain irreplaceable. So it was believed until now.

However, in the course of the new work, researchers from the UK and Japan have found that human lungs are able to repair the damage caused by Smoking. Thus, the risk of cancer is reduced even more. But there is one condition: it will have to overcome tabakozavisimostyu.

the New study is part of a project Mutographs project, in which experts are looking for previously unknown genetic markers that indicate the reasons for the development of cancer.

it Should be clear that tobacco smoke is genotoxins, i.e. damages DNA in the cells of the lungs. From the genetic errors, including mutations that allows cells to uncontrollably divide and become malignant.

to gather more data about the risks of developing cancer, scientists conducted a biopsy of the lungs of 16 volunteers. In them were smokers, ex-smokers, never-Smoking adults and children.

Experts sequenced the DNA of hundreds of non-cancerous cells are present and studied the genetic changes.

In nine of ten cells “current” smokers, scientists have found up to ten thousand mutations caused by the chemical substances from tobacco smoke. More than a quarter of the damaged cells had at least one mutation is able to trigger the development of cancer. These changes the authors called the mini-time bombs.

meanwhile, in the Airways of people who quit Smoking, the researchers were surprised to find a lot of cells without damage. By genetic standards, they are no different from the cells of participants who have never smoked.

it is Noted that ex-smokers were four times more healthy cells than the “current” smokers.

According to scientists, the cells that escaped damage, though “there was in a nuclear bunker”. As it was they remained intact, is not yet clear.

However, it is likely that, in the absence of genotoxins these healthy cells actively proliferate. So over time, changes the ratio of healthy and damaged cells, and it reduces the risk of lung cancer.

“We were totally unprepared for this discovery – confessed BBC senior author Dr. Peter Campbell (Peter Campbell) from the Sanger Institute. – There is a population of cells that magically replenish the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract”.

in addition, the experts stress that such positive changes occur in people at any age.

“Our study shows that quitting Smoking is never too late. Some participants in my life smoked more than 15 thousand packs of cigarettes, but a few years after quitting Smoking many of the cells lining their respiratory tract, had no signs of damage,” says Dr. Campbell.

Scientists hope the new data motivate smokers to give up the habit, and further studies will help to further explore the mechanisms of cell protection and recovery of the lungs.

On the work done, the team reported in an article published in the journal Nature.

by the Way, the new data are consistent with the results of another study showed that quitting even in old age prolongs life. In addition, “News.Science” wrote about what products will help to reduce the risk of lung cancer even in smokers.

Text: To.Science