Cigarette Smoke Attenuates the Nasal Host Response to Streptococcus pneumoniae and Predisposes to Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in Mice Academic Article uri icon

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  • ABSTRACT Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of invasive bacterial infections, with nasal colonization an important first step in disease. While cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. This is partly due to a lack of clinically relevant animal models investigating nasal pneumococcal colonization in the context of cigarette smoke exposure. We present a model of nasal pneumococcal colonization in cigarette smoke-exposed mice and document, for the first time, that cigarette smoke predisposes to invasive pneumococcal infection and mortality in an animal model. Cigarette smoke increased the risk of bacteremia and meningitis without prior lung infection. Mechanistically, deficiency in interleukin 1α (IL-1α) or platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR), an important host receptor thought to bind and facilitate pneumococcal invasiveness, did not rescue cigarette smoke-exposed mice from invasive pneumococcal disease. Importantly, we observed cigarette smoke to attenuate nasal inflammatory mediator expression, particularly that of neutrophil-recruiting chemokines, normally elicited by pneumococcal colonization. Smoking cessation during nasal pneumococcal colonization rescued nasal neutrophil recruitment and prevented invasive disease in mice. We propose that cigarette smoke predisposes to invasive pneumococcal disease by suppressing inflammatory processes of the upper respiratory tract. Given that smoking prevalence remains high worldwide, these findings are relevant to the continued efforts to reduce the invasive pneumococcal disease burden.


  • Stampfli, Martin R
  • Shen, Pamela
  • Morissette, Mathieu C
  • Vanderstocken, Gilles
  • Gao, Yang
  • Hassan, Muhammad
  • Roos, Abraham
  • Thayaparan, Danya
  • Merlano, Maria
  • Dorrington, Michael G
  • Nikota, Jake K
  • Bauer, Carla MT
  • Kwiecien, Jackek Michael
  • Labiris, Renee
  • Bowdish, Dawn
  • Stevenson, Christopher S
  • Stämpfli, Martin R

publication date

  • May 2016