Despite advocacy to reduce smoking-related diseases, >1 billion people worldwide continue to smoke. Smoking is immunosuppressive and an important etiological factor in the development of several human disorders including respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, there is a critical gap in the knowledge of the role of secondhand smoke (SHS) in inflammation and immunity. We therefore studied the influence of SHS on pulmonary inflammation and immune responses to respiratory infection by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) recurrently found in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. Chronic SHS-exposed mice were chronically infected with NTHI and pulmonary inflammation was evaluated by histology. Immune cell numbers and cytokines were measured by flow cytometry and ELISA, respectively. Chronic SHS exposure impaired NTHI P6 Ag-specific B and T cell responses following chronic NTHI infection as measured by ELISPOT assays, reduced the production of Abs in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage, and enhanced albumin leak into the bronchoalveolar lavage as determined by ELISA. Histopathological examination of lungs revealed lymphocytic accumulation surrounding airways and bronchovasculature following chronic SHS exposure and chronic infection. Chronic SHS exposure enhanced the levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-17A, IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α in the lungs, and impaired the generation of adaptive immunity following either chronic infection or P6 vaccination. Chronic SHS exposure diminished bacterial clearance from the lungs after acute NTHI challenge, whereas P6 vaccination improved clearance equivalent to the level seen in air-exposed, non-vaccinated mice. Our study provides unequivocal evidence that SHS exposure has long-term detrimental effects on the pulmonary inflammatory microenvironment and immunity to infection and vaccination.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.