Effect of cigarette smoking on haem-oxygenase expression in alveolar macrophages

Respir Med. 2004 Jun;98(6):530-5. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2003.11.007.


We investigated the effect of chronic cigarette smoking on the expression of haem-oxygenase (HO)-1 and HO-2. Normal subjects and asymptomatic young current smokers with normal lung function tests underwent bronchoalveolar lavage for recovery of macrophages. Reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis showed no significant difference in HO-1 and HO-2 mRNA expression between the two groups. On the other hand, Western blot analysis showed a significant (P<0.05) reduction of HO-2 protein, but not of HO-1, in alveolar macrophages from smokers compared to normal. There was no significant differences by immunocytochemistry for HO-1 and HO-2 expression between the groups. We concluded that HO-2 expression is reduced in alveolar macrophages of smokers, possibly due to the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke. This may in turn lead to reduced protection against further oxidative insults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism
  • Female
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing) / metabolism*
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Humans
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Smoking / metabolism*
  • Smoking / pathology


  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • HMOX1 protein, human
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing)
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • heme oxygenase-2