Stroke is a leading cause of death in Korea.
Smoking is known to increase the risk of stroke by damaging blood vessels and increasing inflammation.
Now, Korean researchers have revealed through a new study, the exact mechanism of that process.
"We revealed the important role of Notch1 in the inflammation and blood-brain barrier disruption activated by cadmium and cigarette smoke."
According to the researchers, exposure to cadmium, found in high levels in cigarette smoke, damages brain cells …and induces the signaling of the Notch gene, which plays an important role in cancer cell production.
This causes the secretion of inflammation-inducing substances, …that can damage brain neurons.
Exposure to cadmium can both induce and worsen inflammation, …and it's not just smokers who are at risk, secondhand smoke is likely to have the same impact.
Although the prevalence of stroke is higher among older people, …smoking has already been well-established as a risk factor for stroke in men under 45 years of age.
Because inflammation is directly linked to the incidence and severity of stroke, experts stress the importance of reducing exposure to cigarette smoke.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, details the specific mechanism of the harmful effects of smoking …and could contribute to the government's anti-smoking policies.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.