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The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of cigarette smoke on innate antiviral defense mechanisms; specifically, we examined the effects of cigarette smoke on the induction of type I interferon (IFN). We observed a dose-dependent decrease in the ability of human lung fibroblast and epithelial cells to elicit an antiviral response against a viral double-strand RNA (dsRNA) mimic, polyI:C, in the presence of cigarette smoke-conditioned medium (SCM). Mechanistically, SCM decreases the expression of IFN-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) and IFN regulatory factor-7 (IRF-7) transcripts and suppresses the nuclear translocation of key transcription factors, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and IRF-3, after polyI:C stimulation. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the intercellular defense strategy against viral infection is also impaired. We observed a decrease in the ability of fibroblasts to elicit an antiviral state in response to IFN-β stimulation. This was associated with decreased nuclear translocation of phosphorylated Stat1 in response to IFN-β treatment. The effects elicited by SCM are reversible and are almost entirely abrogated in the presence of an antioxidant, such as glutathione. Our findings suggest that cigarette smoke affects the immediate-early, inductive, and amplification phases of the type I IFN response.


This article was originally published in Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research, 28(3): 167-179. © 2008 Mary Ann Liebert Inc.