Teratogenesis – Tobacco
Gene Mutations with Characteristics Deletions in Cord Blood T lymphocytes Associated with Passive Maternal Exposure to Tobacco Smoke.
Finette BA, O’Neill JP, Vacek PM, et al (Univ. of Vermont, Burlington)
Nature Med 4:114-121, 1998
Epidemiologic studies have failed to reveal a clear relationship between maternal smoking and childhood malignancy but, surprisingly, there is an apparently strong link between passive maternal smoking exposure and leukemia and lymphomas in children less than 5 years of age. The neonatal effect of smoking exposure might be mediated either by direct transplacental transfer of carcinogens present in tobacco, by newborn gene mutations, or both. Products of DNA reaction with carcinogenic epoxides unique to smoking have recently been found a increased urinary concentration in newborns born of smokers compared with nonsmokers strongly suggesting toxic placental transfers.
This work provides clear evidence that passive maternal smoke exposure is associated with neonatal gene mutations of the sort associated with neonatal leukemia, thereby supporting pre-existing epidemiologic data to the same point. It provides a strong basis for the absolute interdiction of passive smoke exposure, especially derived from spouse and friends during pregnancy.