Cigarette smoke can make MRSA bacterial strains more resistant to antibiotics

Cigarette smoke can make MRSA bacterial strains more resistant to antibiotics


In the lab, we can show that cigarette
smoke enhances antibiotic resistance. If you’ve been given specific antibiotics,
they may not work as well as they should if you weren’t a smoker. My name is
Maisem Laabei. I’m a lecturer in microbiology in the Department of
Biology and Biochemistry. We wanted to investigate how cigarette smoke may
affect bacterial virulence. There’s a huge amount of papers that show the
negative effects of cigarette smoke on our immune system, on our immune cells,
and how they can suppress their ability to combat infection. But there’s very
little on how cigarette smoke may impact on bacteria, on microbiome present in
the nasal cavity. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and
one of the things that happens when you inhale smoke from a cigarette is there is a
large generation of reactive oxygen species. There’s a huge amount of
smokers globally and this is impacting on increasing antibiotic resistance. This is a major problem; we have very few antibiotic drugs in the pipeline and
it’s becoming more and more of a problem in developing novel antibiotic
classes to combat these infections. The next step is to see whether other kinds
of aerosol pollutants have a similar effect. We live in a climate
at the moment where the majority of our big cities have high amounts of
pollutants – similar components to cigarette smoke – and whether these are
impacting in a similar way. We don’t know yet.

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