Microsatellites of DNA are short tandem nucleotide repeats, commonly found throughout the genome. Microsatellite instability has been correlated with high mutational rates . Studying MSI might therefore be a useful technique for identifying the locus of potentially altered genes.
This method had been applied to sputum cells of COPD patients, and it was shown that this defect can be detected . Recently, sputum cells from groups of smokers without COPD and smokers with COPD were tested for MSI . The two groups had similar smoking histories. MSI was detected in 24% of COPD patients, but in none of the non-COPD smokers. These results suggest that MSI may be part of the complex genetic basis of COPD and could serve as a marker of genetic alteration caused by smoking, leading to the development of COPD. MSI may therefore be an index of the susceptible smoker . However, more studies are needed to verify these results.
In conclusion, there must be a number of genetically predetermined host factors that characterize the susceptible smoker.
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Among the evils which a vitiated appetite has fastened upon mankind, those that arise from the use of Tobacco hold a prominent place, and call loudly for reform. We pity the poor Chinese, who stupifies body and mind with opium, and the wretched Hindoo, who is under a similar slavery to his favorite plant, the Betel but we present the humiliating spectacle of an enlightened and christian nation, wasting annually more than twenty-five millions of dollars, and destroying the health and the lives of thousands, by a practice not at all less degrading than that of the Chinese or Hindoo.