The adverse developmental effects of exposure to Cigarette Smoke (CS) during pregnancy
are documented in this paper. These include low birth weight, congenital anomalies, preterm birth,
fetal mortality and morbidity. The current biological thought now recognizes that epigenetics represents
a fundamental contributing process in embryogenesis, and that the environment can have a profound
effect on shaping the epigenome. It has become increasingly recognized that genes encoding
microRNAs (miRNAs) might be potential loci for congenital disabilities. One means by which CS
can cause developmental anomalies may be through epigenetic mechanisms involving altered miRNA
expression. While several studies have focused on genes affected by CS during embryonic/ fetal
development, there is a paucity of knowledge on the involvement of miRNAs in this process. This
brief review summarizes the current state of knowledge in this area.
Keywords: Cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes, embryonic development, epigenome, microRNAs, placenta.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s make the next generation tobacco-free: your guide to the 50th anniversary Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. Atlanta; released 2014; updated 2015.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking-50 years of progress. A report of the surgeon general. Atlanta, GA. Centers for disease control and prevention, National Center for chronic disease prevention and health promotion, office on smoking and health. 2014.
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