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Approximately 10-30% of the Japanese population suffer from Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) pollinosis in the spring. To date, the effects of this pollinosis on lymphocyte subpopulations have not been examined epidemiologically. To examine the effects of smoking and Japanese cedar pollinosis on lymphocyte subpopulations, we used flow cytometry to measure CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocyte subpopulations, natural-killer cell subpopulations, B(CD19+) lymphocytes, and total lymphocytes in 61 smokers and 51 non-smokers. Some of these individuals had histories of pollinosis during November 1993-an off-season for Japanese cedar pollination. Our findings suggested that (a) CD4+ T-lymphocyte subpopulations (i.e., CD4+CD29+, CD4+CD45RA+, and CD4+ CD45RO+ cells) together with total CD4+ T, total T, and total lymphocytes, were increased by the effects of smoking; (b) CD8dim+CD11a+ T, and CD8+CD11bt, and CD57+CD16+ natural killer cells, together with total CD8+CD11a+ T and total CD8+ T lymphocytes, were increased by the effects of pollinosis on smokers, even though no lymphocyte subpopulations were increased by only the pollinosis effects; (c) CD4+CD29+ T and CD8dimCD11a+ T lymphocytes were increased by the effects of smoking on pollinosis, and (d) CD4+CD29+ T and CD4+CD45RO+ T lymphocytes, CD8dim+CD11a+ T, and CD8+CD11b+ T lymphocytes and CD57+CD16+ natural killer cells, together with total CD4+ T, total T (CD3+), total CD8+CD11a+, total CD8+ T, and total lymphocytes, were increased by the combined effects of smoking and pollinosis.