Antielastin autoimmunity in tobacco smoking-induced emphysema

Nat Med. 2007 May;13(5):567-9. doi: 10.1038/nm1583. Epub 2007 Apr 22.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema are common destructive inflammatory diseases that are leading causes of death worldwide. Here we show that emphysema is an autoimmune disease characterized by the presence of antielastin antibody and T-helper type 1 (T(H)1) responses, which correlate with emphysema severity. These findings link emphysema to adaptive immunity against a specific lung antigen and suggest the potential for autoimmune pathology of other elastin-rich tissues such as the arteries and skin of smokers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Elastin / immunology*
  • Emphysema / etiology*
  • Emphysema / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology


  • Elastin