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Infection blocks lung's protective response against tobacco smoke
Date:8/19/2008

monia, but can be difficult to detect because it is challenging to grow in culture. Recent tests to detect Mp DNA in the lungs have indicated that it may be more prevalent than generally recognized and can exist as a low-level chronic infection.

When Dr. Day and his colleagues infected mice with Mp it had a mild effect, slightly lowering glutathione levels in the lungs of mice breathing fresh air. When mice were exposed to tobacco smoke then infected with Mp, glutathione levels dropped even lower.

"The Mycoplasma infection completely blocked the protective response mice normally mount against tobacco smoke, reducing antioxidant levels well below even those of mice breathing fresh air," said Dr. Day.

After glutathione reacts and neutralizes reactive species in the lungs, it becomes oxidized. Under normal conditions mice and humans produce an enzyme, called glutathione reductase (GR), which recycles the oxidized glutathione into its protective, reduced state.

The researchers found that mice exposed to tobacco smoke and Mp had much higher levels of oxidized glutathione along with the low levels of reduced glutathione. The researchers also found that the Mp infection significantly lowered levels of GR in mice lungs.

"The Mycoplasma infection blocked the lungs' protective response to tobacco smoke by lowering levels of the enzyme that normally recycles oxidized glutathione back into its protective, reduced form," said Dr. Day. "This resulted in severe oxidative stress and increased tissue damage as measured by oxidized DNA.

"These higher levels of oxidative stress and damage are likely to predispose smokers with Mycoplasma infections to lung disease, such as COPD or cancer."


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Contact: William Allstetter
allstetterw@njc.org
303-398-1002
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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