To determine whether inhaled immunostimulatory DNA sequence oligonucleotides containing CpG motifs mitigate the pathophysiologic manifestation of the asthmatic phenotype (airways hyperresponsiveness and airways remodeling), rhesus monkeys with experimentally induced allergic airways disease were treated seven times with inhaled immunostimulatory oligonucleotides (or sham) periodically for 33 weeks. Airways hyperresponsiveness was reduced twofold in immunostimulatory DNA sequence–treated compared with sham-treated monkeys. Airways from immunostimulatory oligonucleotide-treated monkeys had thinner reticular basement membranes, fewer mucous cells, fewer eosinophils, and fewer mast cells than sham-treated allergic monkeys. We conclude that inhaled immunostimulatory oligonucleotides can attenuate the magnitude of airway hyperreactivity and airways remodeling produced in nonhuman primates with experimentally induced allergic airways disease.
airway wall alterations; allergic asthma; immunostimulatory DNA sequence oligonucleotides; nonhuman primate
Rationale: Lung transplantation offers great promise for otherwise terminal lung diseases, but the development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) continues to limit survival. Although acute rejection and lymphocytic bronchiolitis have been identified as risk factors for the development of BOS, it is unclear whether large-airway lymphocytic inflammation conveys the same risk.
Objectives: We evaluated lymphocytic bronchitis on endobronchial biopsies as a risk factor for BOS and mortality.
Methods: Endobronchial biopsies were collected and graded during surveillance after lung transplantation. We assessed samples with negative cultures collected in the first 90 days from 298 subjects and compared large-airway lymphocytic bronchitis assessed by a 0–2 “E-score” and with standard A and BR pathology scores for acute rejection and small-airway lymphocytic bronchiolitis, respectively.
Measurements and Main Results: We found surprisingly little association between large- and small-airway lymphocytic inflammation scores from a given bronchoscopy. Endobronchial lymphocytic bronchitis was more prevalent in subjects in BOS stage 0p and BOS stages 1–3 at the time of biopsy. Within 90 days after transplantation, increasing maximum E-score was associated with greater risk of BOS (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.76; 95% confidence interval, 1.11–2.78; P = 0.02) and in this analysis 90-day maximum E-scores were the only score type predictive of BOS (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: These results support a multicenter study to evaluate endoscopic biopsies for the identification of patients at increased risk for BOS. The association of endobronchial lymphocytic inflammation and BOS may have mechanistic implications.
bronchiolitis obliterans; graft rejection; bronchoscopy; lung transplantation
Rationale: The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling in the O2 sensing mechanism underlying acute hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) has been controversial. Although mitochondria are important sources of ROS, studies using chemical inhibitors have yielded conflicting results, whereas cellular models using genetic suppression have precluded in vivo confirmation. Hence, genetic animal models are required to test mechanistic hypotheses.
Objectives: We tested whether mitochondrial Complex III is required for the ROS signaling and vasoconstriction responses to acute hypoxia in pulmonary arteries (PA).
Methods: A mouse permitting Cre-mediated conditional deletion of the Rieske iron-sulfur protein (RISP) of Complex III was generated. Adenoviral Cre recombinase was used to delete RISP from isolated PA vessels or smooth muscle cells (PASMC).
Measurements and Main Results: In PASMC, RISP depletion abolished hypoxia-induced increases in ROS signaling in the mitochondrial intermembrane space and cytosol, and it abrogated hypoxia-induced increases in [Ca2+]i. In isolated PA vessels, RISP depletion abolished hypoxia-induced ROS signaling in the cytosol. Breeding the RISP mice with transgenic mice expressing tamoxifen-activated Cre in smooth muscle permitted the depletion of RISP in PASMC in vivo. Precision-cut lung slices from those mice revealed that RISP depletion abolished hypoxia-induced increases in [Ca2+]i of the PA. In vivo RISP depletion in smooth muscle attenuated the acute hypoxia-induced increase in right ventricular systolic pressure in anesthetized mice.
Conclusions: Acute hypoxia induces superoxide release from Complex III of smooth muscle cells. These oxidant signals diffuse into the cytosol and trigger increases in [Ca2+]i that cause acute hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction.
oxygen sensing; Rieske iron-sulfur protein; reactive oxygen species; roGFP; hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction
Rationale: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disease of progressive lung fibrosis with a high mortality rate. In organ repair and remodeling, epigenetic events are important. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and can target epigenetic molecules important in DNA methylation. The miR-17∼92 miRNA cluster is critical for lung development and lung epithelial cell homeostasis and is predicted to target fibrotic genes and DNA methyltransferase (DNMT)-1 expression.
Objectives: We investigated the miR-17∼92 cluster expression and its role in regulating DNA methylation events in IPF lung tissue.
Methods: Expression and DNA methylation patterns of miR-17∼92 were determined in human IPF lung tissue and fibroblasts and fibrotic mouse lung tissue. The relationship between the miR-17∼92 cluster and DNMT-1 expression was examined in vitro. Using a murine model of pulmonary fibrosis, we examined the therapeutic potential of the demethylating agent, 5′-aza-2′-deoxycytidine.
Measurements and Main Results: Compared with control samples, miR-17∼92 expression was reduced in lung biopsies and lung fibroblasts from patients with IPF, whereas DNMT-1 expression and methylation of the miR-17∼92 promoter was increased. Several miRNAs from the miR-17∼92 cluster targeted DNMT-1 expression resulting in a negative feedback loop. Similarly, miR-17∼92 expression was reduced in the lungs of bleomycin-treated mice. Treatment with 5′-aza-2′-deoxycytidine in a murine bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model reduced fibrotic gene and DNMT-1 expression, enhanced miR-17∼92 cluster expression, and attenuated pulmonary fibrosis.
Conclusions: This study provides insight into the pathobiology of IPF and identifies a novel epigenetic feedback loop between miR-17∼92 and DNMT-1 in lung fibrosis.
microRNA; miR-17∼92; pulmonary fibrosis; DNA methylation; DNMT-1
Rationale: Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder with a characteristic of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Ca2+-activated Cl− [Cl(Ca)] channels are inferred to be involved in AHR, yet their molecular nature and the cell type they act within to mediate this response remain unknown.
Objectives: Transmembrane protein 16A (TMEM16A) and TMEM16B are Cl(Ca) channels, and activation of Cl(Ca) channels in airway smooth muscle (ASM) contributes to agonist-induced airway contraction. We hypothesized that Tmem16a and/or Tmem16b encode Cl(Ca) channels in ASM and mediate AHR.
Methods: We assessed the expression of the TMEM16 family, and the effects of niflumic acid and benzbromarone on AHR and airway contraction, in an ovalbumin-sensitized mouse model of chronic asthma. We also cloned TMEM16A from ASM and examined the Cl− currents it produced in HEK293 cells. We further studied the impacts of TMEM16A deletion on Ca2+ agonist–induced cell shortening, and on Cl(Ca) currents activated by Ca2+ sparks (localized, short-lived Ca2+ transients due to the opening of ryanodine receptors) in mouse ASM cells.
Measurements and Main Results: TMEM16A, but not TMEM16B, is expressed in ASM cells and its expression in these cells is up-regulated in ovalbumin-sensitized mice. Niflumic acid and benzbromarone prevent AHR and contraction evoked by methacholine in ovalbumin-sensitized mice. TMEM16A produces Cl(Ca) currents with kinetics similar to native Cl(Ca) currents. TMEM16A deletion renders Ca2+ sparks unable to activate Cl(Ca) currents, and weakens caffeine- and methacholine-induced cell shortening.
Conclusions: Tmem16a encodes Cl(Ca) channels in ASM and contributes to Ca2+ agonist–induced contraction. In addition, up-regulation of TMEM16A and its augmented activation contribute to AHR in an ovalbumin-sensitized mouse model of chronic asthma. TMEM16A may represent a potential therapeutic target for asthma.
TMEM16A; airway smooth muscle; airway hyperresponsiveness
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is intended to address the expressed needs of patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders. Representatives of 54 stakeholder groups with an interest in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) participated in workshops convened by the COPD Outcomes-based Network for Clinical Effectiveness and Research Translation (CONCERT) over a 2-year period. Year 1 focused on chronic care and care coordination. Year 2 focused on acute care and transitions in care between healthcare settings. Discussions and provisional voting were conducted via teleconferences and e-mail exchanges before the workshop. Final prioritization votes occurred after in-person discussions at the workshop. We used a modified Delphi approach to facilitate discussions and consensus building. To more easily quantify preferences and to evaluate the internal consistency of rankings, the Analytic Hierarchy Process was incorporated in Year 2. Results of preworkshop and final workshop voting often differed, suggesting that prioritization efforts relying solely on requests for topics from stakeholder groups without in-person discussion may provide different research priorities. Research priorities varied across stakeholder groups, but generally focused on studies to evaluate different approaches to healthcare delivery (e.g., spirometry for diagnosis and treatment, integrated healthcare strategies during transitions in care) rather than head-to-head comparisons of medications. This research agenda may help to inform groups intending to respond to CER funding opportunities in COPD. The methodologies used, detailed in the online supplement, may also help to inform prioritization efforts for CER in other health conditions.
health services research; research priorities; care coordination; stakeholders
Rationale: Lower socioeconomic status (SES) confers a heightened risk of common cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and increased mortality. The association of SES with outcomes in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is less clear.
Objectives: To determine the association between SES and outcomes in patients with PAH.
Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study at a national referral center for patients with PAH in China. Two hundred sixty-two consecutive incident patients aged 18 to 65 years with a diagnosis of idiopathic PAH were recruited between January 2007 and June 2011 and followed up until November 2011. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality. An SES score for each patient was derived from their educational level, annual household income, occupation, and medical reimbursement rate.
Measurements and Main Results: Patients with a lower SES had higher unadjusted mortality rates, with 3-year survival estimates of 50.1, 70.8, and 86.0% in increasing tertiles of SES (P for trend < 0.001). After adjustment for clinical features, hemodynamics, and type of PAH treatment, the hazard ratios for death were 2.98 (95% confidence interval, 1.51–5.89) in the lowest tertile of SES and 1.80 (95% confidence interval, 0.89–3.63) in the middle tertile of SES compared with the upper tertile (P for trend = 0.006).
Conclusions: A lower SES is strongly associated with a higher risk of death in idiopathic PAH. This association was independent of clinical characteristics, hemodynamics, and treatment. Addressing the health disparities associated with a lower SES may improve the outcomes of patients with PAH.
pulmonary arterial hypertension; socioeconomic status; survival
Rationale: Increasing body mass index (BMI) has been associated with less fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO). This may be explained by an increase in the concentration of asymmetric dimethyl arginine (ADMA) relative to l-arginine, which can lead to greater nitric oxide synthase uncoupling.
Objectives: To compare this mechanism across age of asthma onset groups and determine its association with asthma morbidity and lung function.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of participants from the Severe Asthma Research Program, across early- (<12 yr) and late- (>12 yr) onset asthma phenotypes.
Measurements and Main Results: Subjects with late-onset asthma had a higher median plasma ADMA level (0.48 μM, [interquartile range (IQR), 0.35–0.7] compared with early onset, 0.37 μM [IQR, 0.29–0.59], P = 0.01) and lower median plasma l-arginine (late onset, 52.3 [IQR, 43–61] compared with early onset, 51 μM [IQR 39–66]; P = 0.02). The log of plasma l-arginine/ADMA was inversely correlated with BMI in the late- (r = −0.4, P = 0.0006) in contrast to the early-onset phenotype (r = −0.2, P = 0.07). Although FeNO was inversely associated with BMI in the late-onset phenotype (P = 0.02), the relationship was lost after adjusting for l-arginine/ADMA. Also in this phenotype, a reduced l-arginine/ADMA was associated with less IgE, increased respiratory symptoms, lower lung volumes, and worse asthma quality of life.
Conclusions: In late-onset asthma phenotype, plasma ratios of l-arginine to ADMA may explain the inverse relationship of BMI to FeNO. In addition, these lower l-arginine/ADMA ratios are associated with reduced lung function and increased respiratory symptom frequency, suggesting a role in the pathobiology of the late-onset phenotype.
asthma; obesity; age of asthma onset; ADMA; arginine
Rationale: Lymphocytes are increasingly associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Semaphorin 7a (Sema 7a) participates in lymphocyte activation.
Objectives: To define the relationship between Sema 7a and lymphocytes in IPF.
Methods: We characterized the significance of Sema 7a+ lymphocytes in humans with IPF and in a mouse model of lung fibrosis caused by lung-targeted, transgenic overexpression of TGF-β1. We determined the site of Sema 7a expression in human and murine lungs and circulation and used adoptive transfer approaches to define the relevance of lymphocytes coexpressing Sema7a and the markers CD19, CD4, or CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ in TGF-β1–induced murine lung fibrosis.
Measurements and Main Results: Subjects with IPF show expression of Sema 7a on lung CD4+ cells and circulating CD4+ or CD19+ cells. Sema 7a expression is increased on CD4+ cells and CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells, but not CD19+ cells, in subjects with progressive IPF. Sema 7a is expressed on lymphocytes expressing CD4 but not CD19 in the lungs and spleen of TGF-β1–transgenic mice. Sema 7a expressing bone marrow–derived cells induce lung fibrosis and alter the production of T-cell mediators, including IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-17A, and IL-10. These effects require CD4 but not CD19. In comparison to Sema 7a-CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ cells, Sema7a+CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ cells exhibit reduced expression of regulatory genes such as IL-10, and adoptive transfer of these cells induces fibrosis and remodeling in the TGF-β1–exposed murine lung.
Conclusions: Sema 7a+CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells are associated with disease progression in subjects with IPF and induce fibrosis in the TGF-β1–exposed murine lung.
Semaphorin; lung; fibrosis; TGF-β1; regulatory T cells
Rationale: Although IFN-γ release assays (IGRAs) are widely used to screen for Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in high-income countries, published data on repeatability are limited.
Objectives: To determine IGRA repeatability.
Methods: The study population included consecutive patients referred to The Methodist Hospital (Houston, TX) between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011 for latent tuberculosis (TB) infection screening with an IGRA (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube; Cellestis, Carnegie, Australia). We performed multiple IGRA tests using leftover stimulated plasma according to a prospectively formulated quality control protocol. We analyzed agreement in interpretation of test results classified according to manufacturer-recommended criteria and repeatability of quantitative TB response.
Measurements and Main Results: During the study period, 1,086 test results were obtained from 543 subjects. Per the manufacturer’s cut-point, the result of the second test was discordant from that of the first in 28 (8%) of 366 patients with valid test results, including 13 with an initial negative result and 15 with an initial positive result. Although agreement between repeat test results was high (κ = 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.79–0.90), the normal expected range of within-subject variability in TB response on retesting included differences of ± 0.60 IU/ml for all individuals (coefficient of variation, 14%), and ± 0.24 IU/ml (coefficient of variation, 27%) for individuals whose initial TB response was between 0.25 and 0.80 IU/ml.
Conclusions: There is substantial variability in TB response when IGRAs are repeated using the same patient sample. IGRA results should be interpreted cautiously when TB response is near interpretation cut-points.
interferon-γ release assay; QuantiFERON; repeatability; imprecision
Hepatopulmonary syndrome and portopulmonary hypertension are two pulmonary vascular complications of liver disease. The pathophysiology underlying each disorder is distinct, but patients with either condition may be limited by dyspnea. A careful evaluation of concomitant symptoms, the physical examination, pulmonary function testing and arterial blood gas analysis, and echocardiographic, imaging, and hemodynamic studies is crucial to establishing (and distinguishing) these diagnoses. Our understanding of the pathobiology, natural history, and treatment of these disorders has advanced considerably over the past decade; however, the presence of either still increases the risk of morbidity and mortality in patients with underlying liver disease. There is no effective medical treatment for hepatopulmonary syndrome. Although liver transplantation can resolve hepatopulmonary syndrome, there appears to be worse survival even with transplantation. Liver transplantation poses a very high risk of death in those with significant portopulmonary hypertension, where targeted medical therapies may improve functional status and allow successful transplantation in a small number of select patients.
hepatopulmonary syndrome; hypertension; pulmonary; liver cirrhosis; pulmonary circulation
Rationale: Nasal polyps (NPs) are characterized by intense edema or formation of pseudocysts filled with plasma proteins, mainly albumin. However, the mechanisms underlying NP retention of plasma proteins in their submucosa remain unclear.
Objectives: We hypothesized that formation of a fibrin mesh retains plasma proteins in NPs. We assessed the fibrin deposition and expression of the components of the fibrinolytic system in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).
Methods: We assessed fibrin deposition in nasal tissue from patients with CRS and control subjects by means of immunofluorescence. Fibrinolytic components, d-dimer, and plasminogen activators were measured using ELISA, real-time PCR, and immunohistochemistry. We also performed gene expression and protein quantification analysis in cultured airway epithelial cells.
Measurements and Main Results: Immunofluorescence data showed profound fibrin deposition in NP compared with uncinate tissue (UT) from patients with CRS and control subjects. Levels of the cross-linked fibrin cleavage product protein, d-dimer, were significantly decreased in NP compared with UT from patients with CRS and control subjects, suggesting reduced fibrinolysis (P < 0.05). Expression levels of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) mRNA and protein were significantly decreased in NP compared with UT from patients with CRS and control subjects (P < 0.01). Immunohistochemistry demonstrated clear reduction of t-PA in NP, primarily in the epithelium and glands. Th2 cytokine–stimulated cultured airway epithelial cells showed down-regulation of t-PA, suggesting a potential Th2 mechanism in NP.
Conclusions: A Th2-mediated reduction of t-PA might lead to excessive fibrin deposition in the submucosa of NP, which might contribute to the tissue remodeling and pathogenesis of CRS with nasal polyps.
chronic rhinosinusitis; nasal polyps; tissue plasminogen activator; fibrin; fibrinolysis
Rationale: The function of the P2X7 nucleotide receptor protects against exacerbation in people with mild-intermittent asthma during viral illnesses, but the impact of disease severity and maintenance therapy has not been studied.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between P2X7, asthma exacerbations, and incomplete symptom control in a more diverse population.
Methods: A matched P2RX7 genetic case-control was performed with samples from Asthma Clinical Research Network trial participants enrolled before July 2006, and P2X7 pore activity was determined in whole blood samples as an ancillary study to two trials completed subsequently.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 187 exacerbations were studied in 742 subjects, and the change in asthma symptom burden was studied in an additional 110 subjects during a trial of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) dose optimization. African American carriers of the minor G allele of the rs2230911 loss-of-function single nucleotide polymorphism were more likely to have a history of prednisone use in the previous 12 months, with adjustment for ICS and long-acting β2-agonists use (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–6.2; P = 0.018). Despite medium-dose ICS, attenuated pore function predicted earlier exacerbations in incompletely controlled patients with moderate asthma (hazard ratio, 3.2; confidence interval, 1.1–9.3; P = 0.033). After establishing control with low-dose ICS in patients with mild asthma, those with attenuated pore function had more asthma symptoms, rescue albuterol use, and FEV1 reversal (P < 0.001, 0.03, and 0.03, respectively) during the ICS adjustment phase.
Conclusions: P2X7 pore function protects against exacerbations of asthma and loss of control, independent of baseline severity and the maintenance therapy.
asthma; P2X7; exacerbation; Asthma Clinical Research Network; corticosteroids
Rationale: Asthma is a heterogeneous lung disorder characterized by airway inflammation and airway dysfunction, manifesting as hyperresponsiveness and obstruction. Glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) is a multifunctional phase II enzyme and regulator of stress-activated cellular signaling relevant to asthma pathobiology. A common homozygous deletion polymorphism of the GSTM1 gene eliminates enzyme activity.
Objectives: To determine the effect of GSTM1 on airway inflammation and reactivity in adults with established atopic asthma in vivo.
Methods: Nineteen GSTM1 wild-type and eighteen GSTM1-null individuals with mild atopic asthma underwent methacholine and inhaled allergen challenges, and endobronchial allergen provocations through a bronchoscope.
Measurements and Main Results: The influx of inflammatory cells, panels of cytokines and chemokines linked to asthmatic inflammation, F2-isoprostanes (markers of oxidative stress), and IgE were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid at baseline and 24 hours after allergen instillation. Individuals with asthma with the GSTM1 wild-type genotype had greater baseline and allergen-provoked airway neutrophilia and concentrations of myeloperoxidase than GSTM1-null patients. In contrast, the eosinophilic inflammation was unaffected by GSTM1. The allergen-stimulated generation of acute-stress and proneutrophilic mediators, tumor necrosis factor-α, CXCL-8, IL-1β, and IL-6, was also greater in the GSTM1 wild-type patients. Moreover, post-allergen airway concentrations of IgE and neutrophil-generated mediators, matrix metalloproteinase-9, B-cell activating factor, transforming growth factor-β1, and elastase were higher in GSTM1 wild-type individuals with asthma. Total airway IgE correlated with B-cell activating factor concentrations. In contrast, levels of F2-isoprostane were comparable in both groups. Finally, GSTM1 wild-type individuals with asthma required lower threshold concentrations of allergen to produce bronchoconstriction.
Conclusions: The functional GSTM1 genotype promotes neutrophilic airway inflammation in humans with atopic asthma in vivo.
atopic asthma; GSTM1 polymorphism; inflammatory asthma phenotypes; neutrophilic airway inflammation
Rationale: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) for circulating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) biomarkers could identify genetic determinants of biomarker levels and COPD susceptibility.
Objectives: To identify genetic variants of circulating protein biomarkers and novel genetic determinants of COPD.
Methods: GWAS was performed for two pneumoproteins, Clara cell secretory protein (CC16) and surfactant protein D (SP-D), and five systemic inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α) in 1,951 subjects with COPD. For genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P < 1 × 10−8), association with COPD susceptibility was tested in 2,939 cases with COPD and 1,380 smoking control subjects. The association of candidate SNPs with mRNA expression in induced sputum was also elucidated.
Measurements and Main Results: Genome-wide significant susceptibility loci affecting biomarker levels were found only for the two pneumoproteins. Two discrete loci affecting CC16, one region near the CC16 coding gene (SCGB1A1) on chromosome 11 and another locus approximately 25 Mb away from SCGB1A1, were identified, whereas multiple SNPs on chromosomes 6 and 16, in addition to SNPs near SFTPD, had genome-wide significant associations with SP-D levels. Several SNPs affecting circulating CC16 levels were significantly associated with sputum mRNA expression of SCGB1A1 (P = 0.009–0.03). Several SNPs highly associated with CC16 or SP-D levels were nominally associated with COPD in a collaborative GWAS (P = 0.001–0.049), although these COPD associations were not replicated in two additional cohorts.
Conclusions: Distant genetic loci and biomarker-coding genes affect circulating levels of COPD-related pneumoproteins. A subset of these protein quantitative trait loci may influence their gene expression in the lung and/or COPD susceptibility.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00292552).
biomarker; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; genome-wide association study
Rationale: Systemic glucocorticoids are used therapeutically to treat a variety of medical conditions. Epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation may reflect exposure to glucocorticoids and may be involved in mediating the responses and side effects associated with these medications.
Objectives: To test the hypothesis that differences in DNA methylation are associated with current systemic steroid use.
Methods: We obtained DNA methylation data at 27,578 CpG sites in 14,475 genes throughout the genome in two large, independent cohorts: the International COPD Genetics Network (ndiscovery = 1,085) and the Boston Early Onset COPD study (nreplication = 369). Sites were tested for association with current systemic steroid use using generalized linear mixed models.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 511 sites demonstrated significant differential methylation by systemic corticosteroid use in all three of our primary models. Pyrosequencing validation confirmed robust differential methylation at CpG sites annotated to genes such as SLC22A18, LRP3, HIPK3, SCNN1A, FXYD1, IRF7, AZU1, SIT1, GPR97, ABHD16B, and RABGEF1. Functional annotation clustering demonstrated significant enrichment in intrinsic membrane components, hemostasis and coagulation, cellular ion homeostasis, leukocyte and lymphocyte activation and chemotaxis, protein transport, and responses to nutrients.
Conclusions: Our analyses suggest that systemic steroid use is associated with site-specific differential methylation throughout the genome. Differentially methylated CpG sites were found in biologically plausible and previously unsuspected pathways; these genes and pathways may be relevant in the development of novel targeted therapies.
DNA methylation; glucocorticoids; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Rationale: Severe sepsis is common and highly morbid, yet the epidemiology of severe sepsis at the frontier of the health care system—pre-hospital emergency care—is unknown.
Objectives: We examined the epidemiology of pre-hospital severe sepsis among emergency medical services (EMS) encounters, relative to acute myocardial infarction and stroke.
Methods: Retrospective study using a community-based cohort of all nonarrest, nontrauma King County EMS encounters from 2000 to 2009 who were transported to a hospital.
Measurements and Main Results: Overall incidence rate of hospitalization with severe sepsis among EMS encounters, as well as pre-hospital characteristics, admission diagnosis, and outcomes. Among 407,176 EMS encounters, we identified 13,249 hospitalizations for severe sepsis, of whom 2,596 died in the hospital (19.6%). The crude incidence rate of severe sepsis was 3.3 per 100 EMS encounters, greater than for acute myocardial infarction or stroke (2.3 per 100 and 2.2 per 100 EMS encounters, respectively). More than 40% of all severe sepsis hospitalizations arrived at the emergency department after EMS transport, and 80% of cases were diagnosed on admission. Pre-hospital care intervals, on average, exceeded 45 minutes for those hospitalized with severe sepsis. One-half or fewer of patients with severe sepsis were transported by paramedics (n = 7,114; 54%) or received pre-hospital intravenous access (n = 4,842; 37%).
Conclusions: EMS personnel care for a substantial and increasing number of patients with severe sepsis, and spend considerable time on scene and during transport. Given the emphasis on rapid diagnosis and intervention for sepsis, the pre-hospital interval may represent an important opportunity for recognition and care of sepsis.
sepsis; emergency medical services; epidemiology