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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2, Issue 6, Pages 423-428
Research paper

Chronic cigarette smoking enhances spontaneous release of tumour necrosis factor-α from alveolar macrophages of rats

1Institute of General Physiology, University of Siena, via Laterina 8, Siena 53100, Italy
2Department of Molecular Biology, University of Siena, Siena 53100, Italy

Received 30 July 1993; Accepted 20 September 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Some biological effects of chronic cigarette smoking (two cigarettes for 2 h, daily for 4 months) in rats were evaluated. During the smoking period, body weight of smoker rats was always significantly lower than that of control rats. Immediately after the last smoking session the carboxyhaemoglobin concentration in the blood was about 8.5% and the polymorphonuclear cells in the bronchoalveolar fluid increased significantly. At the same time, enzymatic analyses on the supernatants of bronchoalveolar fluid revealed a significant increase of β-glucuronidase in the smoker group. Alveolar macrophages, collected 0, 8 and 24 h after the last smoking session, significantly increased the generation of superoxide anion and, after incubation for 24 h at 37° C in a humidified atmosphere, released significantly high amounts of TNF-α. When challenged with lipopolysaccharide, alveolar macrophages of smoker rats released much more TNF-α but, in such a case, TNF-α release was about one half of that observed in the control group. Peritoneal macrophages of both control and smoker rats were unable either to generate high levels of superoxide anion or to release significant amounts of TNF-α. The results clearly demonstrated the activated state of alveolar macrophages and the resting state of peritoneal macrophages.