Researchers at Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center examined how the genes are changed in smokers and users of non-smoke tobacco. They could identify a large number of genes that were altered in smokers but found no such effect of non-smoke tobacco.
This means that the epigenetic modifications are likely not caused by substances in the tobacco, but by the hundreds of different elements that are formed when the tobacco is burnt, lead author Asa Johansson said.
The results from the study also showed that genes that increase the risk for cancer and diabetes, or are important for the immune response or sperm quality, are affected by smoking.
"Our results therefore indicate that the increased disease risk associated with smoking is partly a caused by epigenetic changes. A better understanding of the molecular mechanism behind diseases and reduced body function might lead to improved drugs and therapies in the future," Johansson added.
The study is published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.
--ANI (Posted on 18-12-2013)