, Volume 196, Issue 1, pp 27–31 | Cite as

Cigarette Smoke Induces Activation of Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes

  • Anita Somborac-Bačura
  • Sanja Popović-Grle
  • Vlasta Zovko
  • Tihana Žanić-Grubišić



Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Exposure to cigarette smoke may stimulate inflammatory response and activate polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) thus resulting in secretion of cellular proteases. The aim of our study was to explore the effect of cigarette smoke extract (CSE) on the release of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) from PMN.


The study included 23 patients with stable COPD and 9 healthy controls. PMN were isolated from blood of all participants and exposed to 4% CSE or basal culture medium (0% CSE) for 20 h. MMP-9 concentration in PMN culture media was measured using the ELISA method.


Exposure of PMN to 4% CSE did not cause cytotoxic effects, as determined by no changes in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in PMN culture media when compared to untreated PMN (P = 0.689). In basal conditions, PMN of COPD patients released significantly more MMP-9 compared with PMN of healthy controls (P = 0.016). However, concentration ratio of MMP-9 released from PMN exposed to 4% CSE or 0% CSE of each participant was significantly higher for healthy subjects than for COPD patients (P = 0.025).


Cigarette smoke induces activation of PMN in healthy controls. However, chronically activated PMN in COPD patients could not be further stimulated by in vitro exposure to CSE. Constantly raised amount of MMP-9 released into the tissues may be involved in the degradation of extracellular matrix in the lungs as seen in COPD patients.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Cigarette smoke Matrix metalloproteinase-9 Polymorphonuclear leukocytes 



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Cigarette smoke extract


Forced expiratory volume in 1 second


Forced vital capacity


Global initiative for chronic obstructive lung disease




Lactate dehydrogenase


Matrix metalloproteinase


Polymorphonuclear leukocytes



This work was financed by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (Grant No. 006-0061245-0977).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita Somborac-Bačura
    • 1
  • Sanja Popović-Grle
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vlasta Zovko
    • 2
  • Tihana Žanić-Grubišić
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Biochemistry and Hematology, Faculty of Pharmacy and BiochemistryUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Clinical Hospital for Lung Diseases “Jordanovac”University Hospital Centre ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.School of MedicineUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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