Changes in neutrophil deformability following in vitro smoke exposure: mechanism and protection

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1992 Mar;6(3):287-95. doi: 10.1165/ajrcmb/6.3.287.


We have previously demonstrated a reduction in the deformability of neutrophils, exposed to whole particulate cigarette smoke in vitro, by measuring their ability to filter through a micropore membrane with pore dimensions similar to those of the average pulmonary capillary segment. In this study, we exposed neutrophils to the vapor phase of cigarette smoke and investigated the mechanism of the reduction in neutrophil filterability. Although both stimulated neutrophils and smoke-exposed neutrophils demonstrated an increase in filtration pressures, and thus a reduction in cell deformability, compared with control untreated cells, the spontaneous release of the reactive oxygen intermediates hydrogen peroxide and the superoxide anion was depressed following in vitro smoke exposure and there was no shape change to suggest that smoke-exposed cells were activated. The presence of erythrocytes, plasma, or the antioxidants albumin and glutathione prevented the reduction in cell filterability following smoke exposure, suggesting that in vitro smoke exposure, in our system, was mediated by oxidants. Indeed, the increase in filtration pressures, produced by smoke, could be mimicked by the addition of the oxidant hypochlorous acid. The cytoskeletal inhibitors cytochalasin B and D improved the filterability of smoke-exposed cells, suggesting that smoke may change neutrophil deformability through an effect on the actin component of the cytoskeleton. By contrast, colchicine, a specific inhibitor of the microtubules, had no effect. Preincubation with a monoclonal antibody to the CD18 antigen, to block this major neutrophil adhesive glycoprotein, did not alter the filtration pressure developed by stimulated or smoke-exposed neutrophils, suggesting that increased adhesivity was not the mechanism of the increase in filtration pressures observed following smoke exposure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / cytology*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Smoke*
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Tobacco


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Smoke
  • Superoxides
  • phallacidin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide