Effects of environmental tobacco smoke exposure on pulmonary immune response in infant monkeys

Lei Wang, Jesse P. Joad, Caiyun Zhong, Kent E Pinkerton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in early life has adverse effects on lung development and increases asthma incidence and susceptibility to infection. We have previously reported that perinatal and postnatal exposure to ETS in infant monkeys leads to an impaired TH1 immune response in peripheral blood. Objective: Determine whether ETS exposure during the perinatal period alters pulmonary immune maturation in the neonatal lung. Methods: Nonhuman primates were exposed to ETS from gestation day 50 to 13 months postnatal age (perinatal ETS) or from 6 to 13 months (postnatal ETS). Control animals were only exposed to filtered air. TH1 and TH2-related cytokines, chemokines, and their corresponding receptors as well as transcription factors were analyzed in lung tissues at 13 months. Results: Animals exposed to ETS beginning in utero exhibited more profound alterations in TH1 factors compared with animals exposed to ETS beginning at 6 months postnatal age. In perinatal ETS-exposed monkeys, mRNA for IFN-γ, IL-2, IFN-γ-inducible protein 10, monokine induced by IFN-γ, IFN-γ-inducible T-cell chemoattractant, CXC chemokine receptor 3, IL-12 bioactive p70 subunit, and T-bet were significantly downregulated, whereas in postnatal ETS-exposed monkeys, only IFN-γ, CXC chemokine receptor 3, and IL-12p70 were significantly downregulated. ETS effects on TH2 factors were less apparent and more variable: mRNA for thymus and activation-regulated chemokine was increased, and IL-10 protein was reduced. Conclusions: Environmental tobacco smoke exposure during early life enhances a local TH2 immunity by impairing normal pulmonary TH1 immune maturation. This effect was greater in animals beginning ETS exposure in utero.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • lung development
  • T1 immune response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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