The Combination of Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol Consumption Synergistically Increases Reactive Carbonyl Species in Human Male Plasma

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug 22;22(16):9043. doi: 10.3390/ijms22169043.


Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are major risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases. Although it has been reported that the combination of these habits worsens risks, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Reactive carbonyl species (RCS) cause chemical modifications of biological molecules, leading to alterations in cellular signaling pathways, and total RCS levels have been used as a lipid peroxidation marker linked to lifestyle-related diseases. In this study, at least 41 types of RCS were identified in the lipophilic fraction of plasma samples from 40 subjects using liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS/MS). Higher levels of 10 alkanals, 5 trans-2-alkenals, 1 cis-4-alkenal, and 3 alkadienals were detected in the smoking/drinking group (N = 10) as compared to those with either habit (N = 10 each) or without both habits (N = 10) in the analysis of covariances adjusted for age and BMI. The levels of 3 alkanals, 1 trans-2-alkenal, 1 alkadienal, and 1 4-hydroxy-2-alkenal in the smoking/drinking group were significantly higher than those in the no-smoking/drinking and no-smoking/no-drinking groups. These results strongly indicate that the combination of cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking synergistically increases the level and variety of RCS in the circulating blood, and may further jeopardize cellular function.

Keywords: alcohol drinking; cigarette smoking; human plasma; reactive carbonyl species.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood*
  • Aldehydes / blood*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Cigarette Smoking / adverse effects
  • Cigarette Smoking / blood*
  • Humans
  • Ketones / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Carbonylation
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization


  • Aldehydes
  • Ketones