Nicotine (NT) treatment impairs T-cell receptor (TCR)-mediated signaling, leading to the arrest of T cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and inhibition of the antibody plaque-forming cell (AFC) response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC). This paper summarizes some of the previous findings related to cigarette smoke/NT and the immune response, and presents preliminary evidence suggesting that mice chronically treated with NT (0.5 mg/day/kg body weight) have a depressed inflammatory response in the turpentine-induced abscess model of inflammation. This ability of nicotine to attenuate an inflammatory response may also be the cause of reduced mortality of chronically nicotine-treated mice from acute influenza A pneumonitis. Moreover, in LEW rats, decreased anti-SRBC AFC responses were also observed after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of relatively small concentrations of NT (28 micrograms/day/kg body weight) which, when given peripherally, did not affect the AFC response. In vitro the addition of NT to T cells increased protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) activity and intracellular Ca2+ concentration [Ca2+]i. These results support the hypothesis that NT alters immune responses by directly interacting with T cells, as well as indirectly through brain-immune interactions.