From The Science Daily: An Umeå-based team in collaboration with US researchers reveals a new link between nicotine and inflammation. They report that nicotine strongly activates immune cells to release DNA fibers decorated with pro-inflammatory molecules, so called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). The continuous exposure to these NETs can harm the tissue and could explain the hazardous consequences of tobacco consumption for human health.
Tobacco use causes death of nearly six million people annually according to WHO. Nicotine is the major addictive and toxic component in tobacco products. In cells, nicotine signals via nicotine acetylcholine receptors to mediate dangerous effects on the consumer's body. Nicotine is a major cause of inflammatory diseases among smokers and also non-smokers by passive inhalation, such as for instance chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). COPD is widely spread and affects more than 10 percent of the adult population in westernised countries. The molecular mechanisms underlying this inflammatory activity of nicotine are not well understood.
In a recently published article in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, researchers at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) at Umeå University reveal a novel link between nicotine and inflammation. They found that nicotine activates neutrophils, in an undesirable fashion.