Fetal exposure to nicotine ups long-term risk of obesity

Washington, Jan 17: A new research from Western University in London, Canada, has shown that nicotine from either smoking or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) causes a wide range of long-term adverse reactions for the offspring, including an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome by influencing the liver to produce more triglyceride.

The research is led by Daniel Hardy, PhD, of the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

“We knew smoking was bad during pregnancy. But the problem is one fifth of pregnant women in Canada continue to smoke, and 30 prospective studies have shown us that that babies born to smoking mothers have a 47 percent increase in the odds of becoming overweight. And here’s the interesting thing, that’s even after adjusting for mom’s diet and socioeconomic status,” Hardy, an assistant professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Physiology and Pharmacology, said.

“Our studies were designed to find if there is a biological basis between nicotine exposure from either NRT or smoking, and obesity and metabolic syndrome later in the offspring’s life,” he added.

Hardy agrees that, compared to smoking, NRT is the lesser of two evils, but he says clinicians may need to look more closely at the long-term safety and efficacy of nicotine in pregnancy on postnatal health and well-being.

The study is published online in the journal ‘Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.’ (ANI)