E-vapor aerosols do not compromise bone integrity relative to cigarette smoke after 6-month inhalation in an ApoE–/– mouse model


Authored by  MK Reumann*, J Schaefer*, B Titz, RH Aspera-Werz*, E T Wong, J Szostak, V Häussling*, S Ehnert*, P Leroy, W Teck Tan, A Kuczaj, C Audretsch*, F Springer*, A Badke*, P Augat*, L Quentanilla-Fend*, M Martella*, K M Lee*, M Peitsch, J Hoeng, AK Nussler*

Published in Archives of Toxicology    
* This author is not affiliated with PMI.

Abstract

Cigarette smoke (CS) exposure is one of the leading risk factors for human health. Nicotine-containing inhalable products, such as e-cigarettes, can effectively support tobacco harm reduction approaches. However, there are limited comparative data on the effects of the aerosols generated from electronic vapor products (e-vapor) and CS on bone. Here, we report the effects of e-vapor aerosols and CS on bone morphology, structure, and strength in a 6-month inhalation study. Eight-week-old ApoE–/– mice were exposed to aerosols from three different e-vapor formulations—CARRIER (propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol), BASE (CARRIER and nicotine), TEST (BASE and flavor)—to CS from 3R4F reference cigarettes at matched nicotine concentrations (35 µg/L) or to fresh air (Sham) (N = 10 per group). Tibiae were analyzed for bone morphology by µCT imaging, biomechanics by three-point bending, and by histological analysis. CS inhalation caused a significant decrease in cortical and total bone volume fraction and bone density relative to e-vapor aerosols. Additionally, CS exposure caused a decrease in ultimate load and stiffness. In contrast, bone structural and biomechanical parameters were not significantly affected by e-vapor aerosol or Sham exposure. At the dissection time point, there was no significant difference in body weight or tibia bone weight or length among the groups. Histological findings revealed microcracks in cortical bone areas among all exposed groups compared to Sham control. In conclusion, because of the bone-preserving effect of e-vapor aerosols relative to CS exposure, e-vapor products could potentially constitute less harmful alternatives to cigarettes in situations in which bone health is of importance.