Hadassah Finds Link Between Smoking and Reduced Levels of Bone Healing Cells

Tuesday, Sep 1 2015

Cigarette smoking is associated with musculoskeletal degenerative disorders, delayed fracture healing, and nonunion of bones.

The Hadassah Medical Organizations’ orthopedic surgery team, led by Prof. Meir Liebergall, has discovered that smoking a pack of cigarettes a day significantly lowers the concentration of specific cells that are central to healing and regenerating bone.

These rare cells, called bone marrow progenitor cells (BMPCs), reside in all musculoskeletal tissues. They are, the researchers explain, “essential players in the regenerative capacity of bone.” (Progenitor cells are early descendants of stem cells that can differentiate to form one or more kinds of cells.)

Explaining the theory that precipitated their study, the researchers note: It has been known that cigarette smoking is associated with musculoskeletal degenerative disorders, delayed fracture healing, and nonunion of bones. By the same token, BMPCs are known to be central to musculoskeletal healing and regeneration. Therefore, they hypothesized that “smoking would be associated with lower levels of BMPCs.”

With prior informed consent, the researchers collected iliac bone marrow samples from individuals aged 18–65 who were undergoing pelvic surgery. Then they compared the quantity of BMPC cells in those individuals who were self-reported smokers with those of the nonsmokers of the same age and gender. 

While the researchers report that it has traditionally been difficult to isolate BMPCs in quantities that are large enough to evaluate their concentration, the Hadassah team has developed a safe and effective method for rapid isolation of BMPCs from aspirated bone marrow that enables them to obtain large number of BMPCs from a relatively small sample of bone marrow aspirate.

The study results, they report, “suggest that cigarette smoking is linked to a significant decrease in the concentration of BMPCs, which may contribute to the reduced regenerative capacity of smokers, with implications for musculoskeletal maintenance and repair.”

The authors bring out, however, that their study did not establish a direct mechanism by which cigarette smoking leads to a reduction in the BMPC population in bone marrow and reduced regenerative capacity in the musculoskeletal system. Therefore, they note that “further studies are warranted to more clearly establish causation.”

The study findings have been published in a recent issue of Bone Marrow Research.


From: Gail on September 2, 2015
Does second hand smoke affect people the same way? I live in a building where someone on our floor smokes and we inhale her smoke.
First Name
Enter this word:

Related Stories


Wednesday, Oct 5 2016

Russian Children Travel to Hadassah to be Treated For a Rare Disease

To date, Hadassah has treated over 14 Russian children, saving their sight and hearing and offering them the opportunity to grow up and live normal lives.


Wednesday, Sep 28 2016

Hadassah Medical Organization Goes on High Alert for Peres Funeral

Thousands of visitors, including high profile dignitaries, are expected to arrive in Jerusalem for the funeral of past Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres, who will be laid to rest on Friday, September 30.


Friday, Sep 23 2016

2016 Graduates from 19 Countries Celebrate Hadassah’s IMPH Program

Singing "It's a Wonderful Country" in Hebrew, wearing their native dress, the members of the 41st International Master of Public Health (IMPH) program of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine celebrated their graduation.


Monday, Sep 19 2016

Hadassah Hospital Treats Terror Victims After Stabbing Attacks

This last week has brought a burst of terror attacks.


Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005


More ›

Membership Questions


(800) 664-5646

Donation Questions


(800) 928-0685

Missions Department


(800) 237-1517

Show More