Monday, February 27, 2012

Secondhand Smoke Causes Transplant Rejection

Second-hand smoke hurts everyone. Second-hand smoke contains the same 4,000+ chemicals that are inhaled by a smoker. At least 50 of the chemicals found in second-hand smoke are known to cause cancer. These chemicals contribute directly to diseases like asthma, heart disease and emphysema -- for smokers and non-smokers alike. I've long been an advocate for the dangers of second-hand smoke and I commend for this article that I hope will help to convince smokers of the dangers they may be exposing their loved ones to if they are transplant candidates.

Cigarette smoke believed to suppress enzymes that assist graft survival
In a recent study presented by the American Journal of Transplantation, researchers found that mice that were exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) four weeks before receiving a graft transplant rejected the treatment.
Zhenhua Dai, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center, tested groups of mice to investigate the cause and effect of secondhand cigarette smoke on certain transplant procedures.
Dr. Dai found that SHS negatively affected the graft survival in mice who received the procedure. 
Secondhand smoke is also bad - stop smoking.  
By using a log-rank system, Dr. Dai was able to perform survival tests on the graft recipients and found that SHS suppresses enzymes that grafts normally produce to aid their survival.
According to this study, SHS suppresses the production of CD154, a protein that is normally activated in T-cells and that help regulate the immune system while over-stimulating indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase(IDO), which is an immunoregulatory enzyme often expressed by tumor cells.
While it is uncertain if SHS is the sole cause in the graft rejection, it is now believed that an immunological mechanism plays a role in the survival of surgical transplants, of which SHS hinders.
"Our findings will definitely promote the public awareness of the smoking problem with transplanted patients, which in turn could save their lives by either quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to second hand smoke after transplantation," said Dr. Dai.
The clinical study was lead by Dr. Zhenhua Dai of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Center for Biomedical Research, University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler, TX. The American Journal of Transplantation first published it in November 2011. No financial conflicts were found.
Tobacco Addiction
One out of every five people in the United States are addicted to cigarettes, or about 61 million people. Even more millions use smokeless tobacco and cigars.
The Centers for Disease Control lists tobacco use as the single most important preventable risk to human health. Tobacco is used by smoking or chewing it to get the pleasurable ,but ultimately addicting effects of nicotine. Tobacco use has been proven to cause heart disease, strokes, emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease, and cancer of the lungs, bladder, throat, mouth, and pancreas.

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