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Int Immunopharmacol. 2005 Apr;5(4):749-56.

Nicotine modulates cytokine production by Chlamydia pneumoniae infected human peripheral blood cells.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Florida, College of Medicine, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Nicotine, the addictive component of cigarette smoke, has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects. This drug alters proinflammatory cytokine production by immune cells, including lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages. The present study focuses on the effects of nicotine on infection by Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn), a ubiquitous intracellular pathogen which causes acute and chronic inflammatory diseases such as pulmonary infections, and may be associated with arthritis and atherosclerosis. Previous studies in our laboratory showed that lymphocytes and macrophages are susceptible to Cpn infection. The present study aimed at investigating the effect of nicotine on TGF-beta1, IL-10, IL-12, and TNF-alpha production in Cpn-infected human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Cytokine levels in the supernatant were assessed by ELISA. The results showed that Cpn infection alters the expression levels of IL-10, IL-12, and TNF-alpha in a time-dependent fashion. Nicotine treatment of the Cpn-infected cells up-regulated IL-10, but not TNF-alpha and IL-12, and also resulted in significant down-regulation of TGF-beta1 production which was marked in the Cpn-infected control cells. The combined action of nicotine and Cpn on cytokine production may have an impact in chronic inflammatory diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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