Neuroimmune Function Reduced In Tobacco Smokers

As tobacco, a leading cause of preventable death, has complex effects on immune signaling[Neuroimmune]. While nicotine suppresses the immune system, other compounds in tobacco smoke cause inflammation.Tobacco is a product preparing from the leaves of the tobacco plant by curing them.

The plant is part of the genus Nicotiana and of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. While more than 70 species of tobacco are known, the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. The more potent variant N. rustica is also used around the world. Since impaired neuroimmune signaling may contribute to compulsive drug use, this study compared neuroimmune responses in tobacco smokers and nonsmokers using a new PBR28 positron emission tomography brain imaging paradigm.

Neuroimmune function in smokers

For the study, baseline scans were acquiring in 16 smokers and 19 nonsmokers. A subset of 8 smokers and 9 nonsmokers also participating in a second scan three hours after administration of the pro inflammatory stimulus lipopolysaccharide (LPS).

The research presenting at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNM MI) shows preliminary evidence that tobacco smokers may have reduced neuroimmune function compared with nonsmokers.But no significant differences in baseline scans were observing between smokers and nonsmokers. However, the response to LPS was significantly lower in smokers vs. the nonsmokers in certain regions of the brain; by  including the striatum and cortex.

Preliminary results

The preliminary results of this ongoing study provide initial evidence for impaired neuroimmune function in tobacco smokers compared to nonsmokers. This is the first demonstration of group differences with this imaging paradigm. Our findings indicate an important new role for molecular imaging in clinical research studying the brain’s immune system.

He adds, “We hope to explore in future research how restoration of the immune system may help smokers quit by improving cognitive function.Where this work has important implications for tobacco smokers. There is broad interest in targeting neuroimmune mechanisms with therapeutics for substance use disorders, but most of the interest is in suppressing the brain’s immune system. Our preliminary work suggests that restoring the immune system may benefit tobacco smokers. Immune dysfunction is linking to cognitive dysfunction, which is also a typical complaint in smokers trying to quit