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Second-hand smoke increases bronchial hyperreactivity and eosinophilia in a murine model of allergic aspergillosis.


Involuntary inhalation of tobacco smoke has been shown to aggravate the allergic response. Antibodies to fungal antigens such as Aspergillus fumigatus (Af) cause an allergic lung disease in humans. This study was carried out to determine the effect of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on a murine model of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). BALB/c mice were exposed to aged and diluted sidestream cigarette smoke to simulate 'second-hand smoke'. The concentration was consistent with that achieved in enclosed public areas or households where multiple people smoke. During exposure, mice were sensitized to Af antigen intranasally. Mice that were sensitized to Af antigen and exposed to ETS developed significantly greater airway hyperreactivity than did mice similarly sensitized to Af but housed in ambient air. The effective concentration of aerosolized acetylcholine needed to double pulmonary flow resistance was significantly lower in Af + ETS mice compared to the Af + AIR mice. Immunological data that supports this exacerbation of airway hyperresponsiveness being mediated by an enhanced type 1 hypersensitivity response include: eosinophilia in peripheral blood and lung sections. All Af sensitized mice produced elevated levels of IL4, IL5 and IL10 but no IFN-gamma indicating a polarized Th2 response. Thus, ETS can cause exacerbation of asthma in ABPA as demonstrated by functional airway hyperresponsiveness and elevated levels of blood eosinophilia.

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