Research by UWindsor’s Drew Marquardt into how vaping injures the lungs has captured the attention of the chemistry world.
The paper is based on the research carried out at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Centre for Neutron Research in Maryland. Earlier this year, Marquardt’s research was featured by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee after scientists there selected his project for study.
Marquardt and his team have uncovered how vitamin E acetate contributes to EVALI— e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury. Marquardt’s research suggests vitamin E acetate, an oily substance found in some vaping liquids, interacts with the pulmonary surfactant— the liquid lining the alveoli in the lungs over which oxygen breathed in and carbon dioxide passes. The research suggests vitamin E acetate could increase the fluidity of the surfactant, causing the surfactant layer to collapse, resulting in inflammation and shortness and breath.
Vitamin E acetate has been found in the lungs of patients with EVALI. The number of patients with EVALI number in the thousands, the majority of them under the age of 35.
The paper that spawned the recent publicity is authored by Marquardt and his UWindsor research team of Mitchell DiPasquale, Omotayo Gbadamosi, Michael H. L. Nguyen, Stuart R. Castillo, and Brett W. Rickeard; and Elizabeth G. Kelley and Michihiro Nagao of the U.S.’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.
They note their experiments were done on models without protein components or actual alveoli, so more research is needed.
Their research is funded by the University of Windsor, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship program, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering, the National Science Foundation, and the WE-SPARK Health Institute.