Need another reason to quit smoking? Secondhand smoke may interfere with the body’s ability to recover from an organ or tissue transplant, researchers have found.
A new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals that cigarette smoke exposure may prompt the immune system to reject tissues grafted or transplanted – rejections that would have been prevented by certain drug treatments.
The research, led by Dr. Zhenhua Dai of the University of Texas Health Science Center, involved mice studies to determine the impact of secondhand smoke on transplant survival. In the experiments, mice were exposed to tobacco smoke and treated with or without drugs designed to keep the immune system from rejecting new organs or tissues.
Researchers found mice exposed to the smoke did not survive as long as unexposed mice. They were also more likely to reject the transplanted grafts.
"Many people are not aware of the gradual failure of transplanted organs or grafts that is caused by cigarette smoking, although they do know that smoking can cause cancer as well as respiratory diseases," Dai noted. "Our findings will definitely promote the public awareness of the smoking problem with transplanted patients, which in turn could save their lives by either quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke after transplantation."