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COPD. 2009 Apr;6(2):86-94. doi: 10.1080/15412550902751738.

Alveolar macrophage recruitment and activation by chronic second hand smoke exposure in mice.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Dept. of Medicine and Cardiovascular Research Institute, UCSF, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Approximately 15% of cases of COPD occur in non-smokers. Among the potential risk factors for COPD in non-smokers is second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure. However, the Surgeon General reported in 2006 that the evidence linking second hand smoke and COPD is insufficient to infer a causal relationship, largely because current evidence does not establish a biological link. The goal of this study was to determine whether SHS exposure can induce alveolar macrophage recruitment and expression of activation markers that we have previously demonstrated in human smokers and in mouse models of emphysema. To achieve these goals, we studied mice exposed to an ambient mixture of predominantly [89%] sidestream smoke at increasing doses over 3 months. We found that second hand smoke exposure induced a dose-dependent increase in alveolar macrophage recruitment (mean +/- sd; 224,511 +/- 52,330 vs 166,152 +/- 47,989 macrophages/ml of bronchoalveolar lavage in smoke-exposed vs air-exposed controls at 3 months, p = 0.003). We also found increased expression of several markers of alveolar macrophage activation (PLA2g7, dkfzp434l142, Trem-2, and pirin, all p < 0.01 at 3 months) and increased lavage levels of two inflammatory mediators associated with COPD (CCL2 [MCP-1], 58 +/- 12 vs. 43 +/- 22 pg/ml, p = 0.03; and TNFalpha, 138 +/- 43 vs 88 +/- 78 pg/ml, p = 0.04 at 3 months). These findings indicate that second smoke exposure can cause macrophage recruitment and activation, providing a biological link between second-hand smoke exposure and the development of inflammatory processes linked to COPD.

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