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Smoking increases infections

Nicotine in tobacco makes smokers more susceptible to bacterial infection and inflammatory diseases, says a study.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Washington
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2008 07:30 PM IST

Here is yet another reason to kick the butt. Nicotine prevents short-lived white blood cells from neutralising bacteria and thus exposes smokers to a host of infections, a new study has found.

In a first, the study looks at the mechanisms at work when nicotine is present during cell differentiation of these white blood cells - called neutrophils-generated by the bone marrow.

The study, by University of Louisville researchers, found that impaired neutrophil function partially explained a tobacco user's susceptibility to bacterial infection and inflammatory diseases.

Findings of the new study have been published in the open access journal BMC Cell Biology.

A better understanding of this relationship could pave the way for specific strategies to treat a number of important tobacco-associated inflammatory diseases and conditions.

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