Cigarette smoke can prevent allergies, says study

May 18th, 2009 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 18 (IANS) Everyone knows that smoking can kill you, but a new study suggests that it may help you combat allergies.
A study of mouse cells shows that cigarette smoke can prevent allergies by decreasing the reaction of immune cells to allergens.

Smoking can cause lung cancer, pulmonary disease, and can even affect how the body fights infections. But along with many harmful effects, smoking cigarettes has a surprising benefit - they can protect smokers from certain types of allergies.

A study recommended by Neil Thomson, a member of Faculty of 1000 Biology and leading expert in respiratory medicine, demonstrates that cigarette smoke decreases the allergic response by inhibiting the activity of mast cells, the major players in the immune system’s response to allergens.

Researchers at Utrecht University (Netherlands) found that treatment of mast cells with a cigarette smoke-infused solution prevented the release of inflammation-inducing proteins in response to allergens, without affecting other mast cell immune functions, said an Utrecht release.

The mast cells used in the study were derived from mice, but it is likely that the same anti-allergy effect will hold true in humans.

These findings were published in the journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

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