Natural killer cell activity and its related psychological factor, sense of coherence in male smokers

Hiroyuki Nakamura, Yukie Ogawa, Hirofumi Nagase, Madoka Nagajima, Norio Kodama, Keiki Ogino, Yoshiko Ooshita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Sense of Coherence (SOC), a candidate for a mediating stress factor, is studied in the framework of Antonovsky's salutogenesis paradigm, which emphasizes the origin of health. Emotional stress is associated with a decrease in cellular immune function including natural killer cell activity (NKCA). The purpose of this study was to clarify the involvement of SOC and smoking behavior in cellular immunity including NKCA. The author performed a psychological questionnaire and examined NKCA and NK cell subsets in 125 men (45.1 ± 7.88 yr, mean ± SD) engaged in office work. The psychosocial factors included SOC and health locus of control (HLC) as well as perceived life stress and life style. SOC and smoking status was recognized to affect NKCA as well as CD57+CD16+. A higher SOC and never smoking significantly contributed to a higher level of NKCA. In subjects with a higher SOC, NKCA in never and ex-smokers were significantly higher than those in present smokers, whereas in subjects with a lower SOC, NKCA only in never smokers was significantly higher than that in present smokers. There were no significant differences in the stress index, alcohol obesity, or HLC among smoking status. SOC showed a moderately negative relationship with life stress. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that SOC and smoking were significantly correlated to NKCA and CD57+CD16+, independently of other psychosocial variables, suggesting salutogenic contributions of SOC. SOC may be an important psychological modifier in determining the relationship between cellular immunity and smoking cessation. The reduced NKCA with lower SOC in present smokers, whose association seems to be produced not through daily life stress, must be dealt with as an occupational mental health problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellular immunity
  • Natural killer cell activity
  • Sense of coherence
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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