Smoking, white blood cell counts, and TNF system activity in Japanese male subjects with normal glucose toleranceReport as inadecuate

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Tobacco Induced Diseases

, 9:12

First Online: 25 November 2011Received: 02 May 2011Accepted: 25 November 2011DOI: 10.1186-1617-9625-9-12

Cite this article as: Watanabe, N., Fukushima, M., Taniguchi, A. et al. Tob. Induced Dis. 2011 9: 12. doi:10.1186-1617-9625-9-12


BackgroundCigarette smokers have increased white blood cell WBC counts and the activation of tumor necrosis factor TNF. The effect of smoking on WBC counts and TNF system activity, however, has not been separately investigated yet.

Subjects and MethodsOne hundred and forty-two Japanese male subjects with normal glucose tolerance were recruited. They were stratified into two groups based on the questionnaire for smoking: one with current smokers n = 48 and the other with current non-smokers n = 94. Whereas no significant differences were observed in age, BMI, high molecular weight HMW adiponectin, and TNF-α between the two groups, current smokers had significantly higher soluble TNF receptor 1 sTNF-R1 1203 ± 30 vs. 1116 ± 21 pg-ml, p = 0.010 and increased WBC counts 7165 ± 242 vs. 5590 ± 163-μl, p < 0.001 and lower HDL cholesterol 55 ± 2 vs. 60 ± 1 mg-dl, p = 0.031 as compared to current non-smokers. Next, we classified 48 current smokers into two subpopulations: one with heavy smoking Brinkman index ≥ 600 and the other with light smoking Brinkman index < 600.

ResultsWhereas no significant difference was observed in age, BMI, HMW adiponectin, WBC counts and TNF-α, sTNF-R1 and sTNF-R2 were significantly higher in heavy smoking group 1307 ± 44 vs. 1099 ± 30 pg-ml, p < 0.001; 2166 ± 86 vs. 827 ± 62 pg-ml, p = 0.005 than in light smoking group, whose sTNF-R1 and sTNF-R2 were similar to non-smokers sTNF-R1: 1116 ± 15 pg-ml, p = 0.718, sTNF-R2; 1901 ± 32 pg-ml, p = 0.437. In contrast, WBC counts were significantly increased in heavy 7500 ± 324-μl, p < 0.001 or light 6829 ± 352-μl, p = 0.001 smoking group as compared to non-smokers 5590 ± 178-μl. There was no significant difference in WBC counts between heavy and light smoking group p = 0.158.

ConclusionWe can hypothesize that light smoking is associated with an increase in WBC counts, while heavy smoking is responsible for TNF activation in Japanese male subjects with normal glucose tolerance.

AbbreviationsWBCWhite Blood cell

TNFtumor necrosis factor

BMIbody mass index

HMWhigh molecular weight

sTNF-Rsoluble TNF receptor

HOMA-IRhomeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance

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Author: Naoya Watanabe - Mitsuo Fukushima - Ataru Taniguchi - Takahide Okumura - Yoshio Nomura - Fusanori Nishimura - Sae Aoyama -


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