Effects of tobacco smoke on immunity, inflammation and autoimmunity

J Autoimmun. 2010 May;34(3):J258-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2009.12.003. Epub 2009 Dec 29.


Smoking is a central factor in many pathological conditions. Its role in neoplasm, lung and cardiovascular diseases has been well established for years. However it is less acknowledged the cigarette smoking affects both the innate and adoptive immune arms. Cigarette smoke was shown to augment the production of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha, IL-1, IL-6, IL-8 GM-CSF and to decrease the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10. Tobacco smoke via multiple mechanisms leads to elevated IgE concentrations and to the subsequent development of atopic diseases and asthma. Cigarette smoke has also been shown activate in many ways macrophage and dendritic cell activity. While it is better evident how cigarette smoke evokes airway diseases more mechanisms are being revealed linking this social hazard to autoimmune disorders, for instance via the production of antibodies recognizing citrullinated proteins in rheumatoid arthritis or by the elevation of anti-dsDNA titers in systemic lupus erythematosus. The current review underlines the importance of smoking prevention and eradication not only in respiratory disorders but also in autoimmune conditions as well.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmunity* / drug effects
  • Autoimmunity* / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators