Malondialdehyde (MDA) and acetaldehyde (AA) exist following ethanol metabolism and tobacco pyrolysis. As such, lungs of individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are a target for the effects of combined alcohol and cigarette smoke metabolites. MDA and AA form a stable protein adduct, malondialdehyde-acetaldehyde (MAA) adduct, known to be immunogenic, profibrotic, and proinflammatory. MAA adduct is the dominant epitope in anti-MAA antibody formation. We hypothesized that MAA-adducted protein forms in lungs of those who both abuse alcohol and smoke cigarettes, and that this would be associated with systemically elevated anti-MAA antibodies. Four groups were established: AUD subjects who smoked cigarettes (+AUD/+smoke), smokers without AUD (-AUD/+smoke), AUD without smoke (+AUD/-smoke), and non-AUD/nonsmokers (-AUD/-smoke). We observed a significant increase in MAA adducts in lung cells of +AUD/+smoke versus -AUD/-smoke. No significant increase in MAA adducts was observed in -AUD/+smoke or in +AUD/-smoke compared to -AUD/-smoke. Serum from +AUD/+smoke had significantly increased levels of circulating anti-MAA IgA antibodies. After 1 week of alcohol that MAA-adducted protein is formed in the lungs of those who smoke cigarettes and abuse alcohol, leading to a subsequent increase in serum IgA antibodies. MAA-adducted proteins could play a role in pneumonia and other diseases of the lung in the setting of AUD and smoking.
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