A critical review on the article “Smoking changes adaptive immunity with persistent effects”

The article titled “Smoking has long-term effects on the immune system” published in Nature on February 14, 2024, presents a comprehensive study on the impact of smoking on the immune system. The research was conducted by a team of scientists at the Institut Pasteur using the Milieu Intérieur cohort of 1,000 healthy volunteers.

The study’s primary objective was to understand the variability in immune responses and identify the factors that influence these differences. The researchers analyzed 136 variables, including body mass index, smoking, hours of sleep, exercise, childhood illnesses, vaccinations, and living environment. They found that smoking, latent cytomegalovirus infection, and body mass index had the most significant influence on the immune responses studied.

The study reveals that smoking disrupts not only innate immune mechanisms but also some adaptive immune mechanisms. The inflammatory response, which is immediately triggered by infection with a pathogen, was heightened in smokers. Moreover, the activity of certain cells involved in immune memory was impaired. These findings are crucial as they highlight the long-term consequences of smoking on the immune system, which persist for many years after quitting. However, the study has some limitations. The research primarily relies on the Milieu Intérieur cohort, which may not represent the broader population. The cohort’s demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, and genetic makeup, could influence the results. Therefore, the findings may not be generalizable to all smokers or ex-smokers.

Furthermore, the study does not delve into the mechanisms through which smoking affects the immune system. Understanding these mechanisms could provide valuable insights into how smoking leads to various health issues and how these effects can be mitigated. In conclusion, the article provides valuable insights into the long-term effects of smoking on the immune system. However, further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms and to validate these findings in a more diverse population. The study underscores the importance of public health initiatives aimed at discouraging smoking and supporting individuals in their efforts to quit. It also highlights the need for healthcare providers to consider a patient’s smoking history when assessing their immune function and susceptibility to infections. Despite its limitations, the study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the long-term effects of smoking on the immune system.

link to original article -https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06968-8



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