Interrelated role of cigarette smoking, oxidative stress, and immune response in COPD and corresponding treatments

Li Zuo, Feng He, Georgianna G. Sergakis, Majid S. Koozehchian, Julia N. Stimpfl, Yi Rong, Philip T. Diaz, Thomas M. Best

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Cigarette smoking (CS) can impact the immune system and induce pulmonary disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is currently the fourth leading cause of chronic morbidity and mortality worldwide. Accordingly, the most significant risk factor associated with COPD is exposure to cigarette smoke. The purpose of the present study is to provide an updated overview of the literature regarding the effect of CS on the immune system and lungs, the mechanism of CS-induced COPD and oxidative stress, as well as the available and potential treatment options for CS-induced COPD. An extensive literature search was conducted on the PubMed/Medline databases to review current COPD treatment research, available in the English language, dating from 1976 to 2014. Studies have investigated the mechanism by which CS elicits detrimental effects on the immune system and pulmonary function through the use of human and animal subjects. A strong relationship among continued tobacco use, oxidative stress, and exacerbation of COPD symptoms is frequently observed in COPD subjects. In addition, therapeutic approaches emphasizing smoking cessation have been developed, incorporating counseling and nicotine replacement therapy. However, the inability to reverse COPD progression establishes the need for improved preventative and therapeutic strategies, such as a combination of intensive smoking cessation treatment and pharmaceutical therapy, focusing on immune homeostasis and redox balance. CS initiates a complex interplay between oxidative stress and the immune response in COPD. Therefore, multiple approaches such as smoking cessation, counseling, and pharmaceutical therapies targeting inflammation and oxidative stress are recommended for COPD treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Inflammation
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Smoking cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology (medical)


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