The influence of cigarette tobacco smoke products on the immune response. The cellular basis of immunosuppression by a water-soluble condensate of tobacco smoke

Immunology. 1980 Aug;40(4):621-7.


The immunosuppression exhibited by a water-soluble condensate of tobacco smoke (WSC) has been studied in vivo and in vitro. When multiple sublethal doses of WSC were injected into C57Bl/6 mice, their ability to respond to immunization with sheep erythrocytes by the formation of plaque-forming cells was severely inhibited. In addition, spleen cells from WSC-treated mice were unable to mount a primary response to SRBC in vitro. Studies on the cellular basis of the immunosuppression induced by WSC showed a decrease in T lymphocytes in the spleens of WSC-treated mice. Additional experiments were conducted in which isolated populations of T cells, B cells and macrophages from WSC-treated or normal mice were combined and then tested for responsiveness to SRBC in vitro. Results of these experiments also indicated that T cells were particularly susceptible to WSC exposure. T cells from WSC-treated mice were unable to co-operate with normal B cells and macrophages in the response to SRBC. A less marked suppression of B-cell function was noted in condensate-treated mice. While B cells from such animals were able to co-operate with normal T cells and macrophages to give a detectable primary response to SRBC, the response was depressed. In contrast, macrophages from WSC-treated animals enhanced the response of normal T and B cells to SRBC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation*
  • Antibody-Producing Cells
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Hemolytic Plaque Technique
  • Immunosuppression Therapy*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Smoke*
  • Spleen / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tobacco / immunology*


  • Smoke