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Differential Effects of Alcoholic Beverages and Cigarette Smoke on Humoral Immunity

OG Arinola
MA Obikoya


Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are among social practices of some Nigerian youths. These practices have adverse health consequences but the basis of which is yet to be elucidated. This study was designed to provide information on humoral immune responses in Nigerians that smoke cigarettes, consume alcohol or combine cigarette smoking with alcohol use. The serum levels of IgG, IgA, IgM, alpha-2-macroglobulin, caeruloplasmin and transferrin were determined in 13 male Nigerians that smoke cigarettes, 15 male Nigerians that consume alcohol, 16 male Nigerians that combine both cigarette smoking and alcohol use, and 14 sex/age matched controls by immunodiffusion method. The result shows that immunoglobulin classes were increased in all test subjects compared with controls. IgA was significantly increased in subjects that combined cigarette smoking alcohol consumption compared with the controls. IgG and IgM were significantly increased in cigarette smokers compared with the controls while IgG was significantly increased in those that consume only alcohol compared with the controls. All the three acute phase proteins were reduced in subjects that consume alcohol compared with the controls while these acute phase proteins were raised in cigarette smokers compared with controls. In subjects that combine the consumption of alcohol with cigarette smoking, the level of caeruloplasmin and transferrin were raised while alpha-2-macroglobulin was reduced compared with the controls. The study shows that alcohol consumption or cigarette smoking affects different aspects of humoral immunity. Raised levels of immunoglobulin classes in the three groups of test subjects hypothesised the development of auto-immune disease in long term alcohol- and cigarette-users.

Key Words: Immune-responses, cigarettes, alcohol, Nigeria.

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eISSN: 1119-5096
print ISSN: 1119-5096