Impact of tobacco smoke on interleukin-16 protein in human airways, lymphoid tissue and T lymphocytes

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CD4(+) and CD8(+) lymphocytes are mobilized in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the CD8(+) cytokine interleukin (IL)-16 is believed to be important in regulating the recruitment and activity of CD4(+) lymphocytes. In the current study, we examined whether tobacco smoke exerts an impact not only on IL-16 in the lower airways but also in CD4(+) or CD8(+) lymphocytes or in lymphoid tissue. The concentration of IL-16 protein was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in concentrated bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) collected from 33 smokers with chronic bronchitis (CB), eight asymptomatic smokers (AS) and seven healthy never-smokers (NS). The concentrations of IL-16 and soluble IL-2 receptor alpha (sIL-2Ralpha) protein were also measured in conditioned medium from human blood CD4(+) and CD8(+) lymphocytes stimulated with tobacco smoke extract (TSE) in vitro. IL-16 mRNA was assessed in vitro as well, using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Finally, the intracellular immunoreactivity for IL-16 protein (IL-16IR) was assessed in six matched pairs of palatine tonsils from smokers and non-smokers. BALF IL-16 was higher in CB and AS than in NS. TSE substantially increased the concentration of IL-16 but not sIL-2Ralpha in conditioned medium from CD4(+) and CD8(+) lymphocytes. There was no corresponding effect on IL-16 mRNA. IL-16IR in tonsils was lower in smokers than in non-smokers. The current findings demonstrate that tobacco smoke exerts a wide impact on the CD8(+) cytokine IL-16, in the airway lumen, in blood CD4(+) and CD8(+) lymphocytes and in lymphoid tissue. The effect on IL-16 release may be selective for preformed IL-16 in CD4(+) lymphocytes. New clinical studies are required to evaluate whether tobacco smoke mobilizes T lymphocytes via IL-16 in the lower airways and whether this mechanism can be targeted in COPD.


  • A Andersson
  • I Qvarfordt
  • M Laan
  • M Sjostrand
  • C Malmhall
  • GC Riise
  • Lars-Olaf Cardell
  • A Linden

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Immunologi inom det medicinska området


Sidor (från-till)75-82
TidskriftClinical and Experimental Immunology
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2004
Peer review utfördJa