Study of Interest: The Unfavorable Clinical Outcome of COVID-19 in Smokers is Mediated by H3K4me3, H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 Histone Marks

smoking cigarette mask covid

Our team at the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) Program at UT Health San Antonio wanted to share this important external article:

The unfavorable clinical outcome of COVID-19 in smokers is mediated by H3K4me3, H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 histone marks” in the journal Epigenomics, published on Jan. 13, 2022, according to Future Medicine.

The role of smoking in development of several respiratory diseases has been clearly established. A significant proportion of these deleterious effects is mediated through epigenetic mechanisms, particularly histone modifications. Recent evidence indicates that smoking induces the expression of a mediator known as mdig, which in turn alters the transcription of several key proteins that have been implicated in development of COVID-19 …
… Despite its negligible effects on the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in endothelial cells [1], cigarette smoking is still associated with increased risk of severe COVID-19. On the basis of the results of a 2021 meta-analysis on more than 800,000 COVID-19 patients, smoking predicts a 19% increased risk of death in patients with COVID-19 [2].

This is important for people who experience chemical intolerance, secondhand smoke, and/or COVID-19, said Dr. Claudia Miller, allergist/immunologist, professor emeritus, and leader of the Hoffman TILT Program at UT Health San Antonio.

“Every child admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 should be tested for nicotine and their families counseled accordingly— just as we test children for potential lead toxicity so we can identify and eliminate the sources,” Miller said. “It is no less important here to tie medical testing with exposures that increase the risk of disease and death.”

How chemically sensitive are you?

Answer these three questions from the Hoffman TILT Program’s Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (BREESI):

  1. Do you feel sick when you are exposed to tobacco smoke, certain fragrances, nail polish/remover, engine exhaust, gasoline, air fresheners, pesticides, paint/thinner, fresh tar/asphalt, cleaning supplies, new carpet or furnishings? By sick, we mean: headache, difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc.
  2. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse or allergic reactions to any drugs or medications (such as antibiotics, anesthetics, pain relievers, X-ray contrast dye, vaccines or birth control pills), or to an implant, prosthesis, contraceptive chemical or device, or other medical/surgical/dental material or procedure?
  3. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse reactions to any foods such as dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, or food additives (e.g., MSG, food dye)?

If you answer YES to any of these three questions, take the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) and share the results with your doctor!

For further information, view the “Mil Gracias for Not Smoking Indoors!” campaign from UT Health San Antonio. At the Mil Gracias website, you can share gratitude for smokers who respect others’ air by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, download English and Spanish fact sheets and news about the health impacts of secondhand smoke, take action for smoke-free multifamily housing, and get quit-smoking resources.

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