The Relationship Between the Risk of Smoking-Related Disease, Inflammatory Response and Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms

Jamie Biggerstaff


It is common knowledge that smoking cigarettes causes a plethora of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease and a variety of cancers, collectively called smoking-related diseases (SRDs)1.  Systemic inflammation (SI) plays a key role in the development and progression of many SRDs, leading researchers to explore the relationship between cigarette smoking and inflammatory biomarkers2,3,4. Notable inflammatory biomarkers include elevated levels of immune response cells in the CD8dim lymphocyte group as well as certain phenotypes of monocytes and neutrophils5. While the risks of smoking cigarettes are well known and studied, there is only ongoing research to refer to when assessing the likelihood of developing a SRD. The risk of developing a SRD is not based on cigarette smoking alone, which explains why only some cigarette smokers develop a SRD. Genetic predisposition appears to be a promising lead as to explaining this phenomenon. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are small variants in DNA, varying by a single nucleotide that can be used as biomarkers for disease6. A variety of SNPs have been identified as being associated with cigarette smoking and SRDs. Two telling SNPs associated with smoking and SI are CRP rs1800947, GZB rs81929175.

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