Fluid findings: Smoke gets in your lungs

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  • Published: Jul 15, 2013
  • Author: David Bradley
  • Channels: Chemometrics & Informatics
thumbnail image: Fluid findings: Smoke gets in your lungs

Chemical composition

The team concludes that,

A multivariate analysis of data on the chemical composition of exhaled particles in the breath of smokers and non-smokers reflects another factor in how smoking can be detrimental to lung function by revealing the shift in composition of respiratory tract lining fluid.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 substances and the immune response to some of the harmful agents initiates and propagates chronic inflammation of the lungs. Moreover, smokers apparently have increased levels of phosphoethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, annexin and glutathione S-transferase as well as lower levels of secretory immunoglobulin A and surfactant protein A and D compared to non-smokers.

Now, Anna Bredberg, Ann-Charlotte Almstrand, Anna Levinsson, Per Larsson and Anna-Carin Olin of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden, working with Mats Josefson of b the Analytical Science, Pharmaceutical Development, at AstraZeneca R&D, Mölndal, and Jukka Lausmaa and Peter Sjövall of the department of Chemistry and Materials Technology, at the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Borås have explain how smoking is well known for its detrimental effects on health. "Smoking, along with many respiratory diseases, has been shown to induce airway inflammation and alter the composition of the respiratory tract lining fluid (RTLF)," they explain. Previously, the researchers demonstrated that the phospholipid and protein composition of particles in exhaled air (PEx) can be used as a marker for changes in RTLF. However, what had not been proven is that PEx differs between smokers and non-smokers.

PEx deck

The team therefore, devised a study to determine whether such differences exist. They recruited 12 smokers and 13 non-smokers and collected PEx using a system they developed in-house to obtain samples. The samples were then analysed using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry, ToF-SIMS, and evaluated the data using multivariate analysis. They applied orthogonal partial least squares (OPLS) analysis to the results show whether or not there is a relationship between smoking status, lung function and years spent smoking to the chemical composition of the RTLF.

The team identified several discriminating ions using OPLS and were then able to extrapolate this information to a traditional regression analysis that showed a clear distinction between smokers and non-smokers. Among the samples from smokers, the phospholipids were protonated and sodiated to a much greater degree than measured in non-smokers. They also noted a correlation between poor lung function and a higher response from all molecular phosphatidylcholine species in the samples. Those people who had smoked longest, greater number of "pack years" also displayed mass spectrometric data showing a dose-response relationship.

To smoke or not to smoke...

The team concludes that, "The chemical composition of PEx differs between smokers and non-smokers, reflecting differences in the RTLF. The results from this study may suggest that the composition of RTLF is affected by smoking and may be of importance for lung function."

Related Links

Respiration, 2013, online: "Comparison of Exhaled Endogenous Particles from Smokers and Non-Smokers Using Multivariate Analysis"

Article by David Bradley

The views represented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

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