Postnatal exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is linked with increased behavioral and cognitive
problems and risk for mental disorders in children. Many among us consider SHS a think of the
poast; however, the latest figures show that nearly one in five U.S. children still live with a smoker
and 98% tested positive for exposure. Children exhibit the highest exposure, and 50% of mothers who
quit during pregnancy resume in under six months. Given continued prevalence of children�s exposure
to SHS, it is important to understand the biological mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental
consequences. Here we report that modeled postnatal exposure results in altered mitochondrial
energetics with correlates to altered neuronal activity in a relevant region of the brain, the cerebellum.
Clinical effects of SHS in children, to include inattention, hyperactivity, language issues, conspicuously
all involve regulated by the cerebellum. We performed a large-scale, quantitative proteomic assessment
of the cerebellum in response to postnatal SHS exposure. Findings, as substantiated by focused
immunochemical and microscopic studies, demonstrated a significant increase in mitochondrial
biogenesis and aerobic activity. We have further evidence correlating these findings with altered
neuronal activity rather than cellular stress mechanisms. Ultimately, these findings support a direct
biological effect of SHS exposure during the vulnerable period of cerebellar developing that may prove
associated with neurodevelopmental conseuquences in a large at risk population of children worldwide.
Andrew Ottens is an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology and Biochemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed his Ph.D. studies at the University of Florida and post doctoral research at the McKnight Brain Institute. He is an expert in brain insults, employing systems biology to investigate perturbation at the proteomic, cellular and functional levels.
Peer Reviewed Journals
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700 + peer reviewed, Open Access Journals