Rationale: Acute lung injury (ALI) causes high mortality, but its molecular mechanisms and therapeutic options remain ill-defined. Gram-negative bacterial infections are the main cause of ALI, leading to lung neutrophil infiltration, permeability increases, deterioration of gas exchange, and lung damage. Platelets are activated during ALI, but insights into their mechanistic contribution to neutrophil accumulation in the lung are elusive.
Objectives: To determine mechanisms of platelet-mediated neutrophil recruitment in ALI.
Methods: Interference with platelet–neutrophil interactions using antagonists to P-selectin and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa or a small peptide antagonist disrupting platelet chemokine heteromer formation in mouse models of ALI.
Measurements and Main Results: In a murine model of LPS-induced ALI, we uncover important roles for neutrophils and platelets in permeability changes and subsequent lung damage. Furthermore, platelet depletion abrogated lung neutrophil infiltration, suggesting a sequential participation of platelets and neutrophils. Whereas antagonists to P-selectin and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa had no effects on LPS-mediated ALI, antibodies to the platelet-derived chemokines CCL5 and CXCL4 strongly diminished neutrophil eflux and permeability changes. The two chemokines were found to form heteromers in human and murine ALI samples, positively correlating with leukocyte influx into the lung. Disruption of CCL5-CXCL4 heteromers in LPS-, acid-, and sepsis-induced ALI abolished lung edema, neutrophil infiltration, and tissue damage, thereby revealing a causal contribution.
Conclusions: Taken together, our data identify a novel function of platelet-derived chemokine heteromers during ALI and demonstrate means for therapeutic interference.
neutrophil; platelet; chemokine; recruitment; acute lung injury
Rationale: Gene expression profiling of airway epithelial and inflammatory cells can be used to identify genes involved in environmental asthma.
Methods: Airway epithelia and inflammatory cells were obtained via bronchial brush and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) from 39 subjects comprising three phenotypic groups (nonatopic nonasthmatic, atopic nonasthmatic, and atopic asthmatic) 4 hours after instillation of LPS, house dust mite antigen, and saline in three distinct subsegmental bronchi. RNA transcript levels were assessed using whole genome microarrays.
Measurements and Main Results: Baseline (saline exposure) differences in gene expression were related to airflow obstruction in epithelial cells (C3, ALOX5AP, CCL18, and others), and to serum IgE (innate immune genes and focal adhesion pathway) and allergic–asthmatic phenotype (complement genes, histone deacetylases, and GATA1 transcription factor) in inflammatory cells. LPS stimulation resulted in pronounced transcriptional response across all subjects in both airway epithelia and BAL cells, with strong association to nuclear factor-κB and IFN-inducible genes as well as signatures of other transcription factors (NRF2, C/EBP, and E2F1) and histone proteins. No distinct transcriptional profile to LPS was observed in the asthma and atopy phenotype. Finally, although no consistent expression changes were observed across all subjects in response to house dust mite antigen stimulation, we observed subtle differences in gene expression (e.g., GATA1 and GATA2) in BAL cells related to the asthma and atopy phenotype.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that among individuals with allergic asthma, transcriptional changes in airway epithelia and inflammatory cells are influenced by phenotype as well as environmental exposures.
environmental asthma; microarray; house dust mite; lipopolysaccharide; atopy
Rationale: Airway eosinophilia is typical of asthma, and many controller treatments target eosinophilic disease. Asthma is clinically heterogeneous, however, and a subgroup of people with asthma do not have airway eosinophilia. The size of this subgroup is uncertain because prior studies have not examined repeated measures of sputum cytology to determine when people with asthma have intermittent versus persistent sputum eosinophila and when they are persistently noneosinophilic.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of the noneosinophilic asthma phenotype.
Methods: We analyzed sputum cytology data from 995 subjects with asthma enrolled in clinical trials in the Asthma Clinical Research Network where they had undergone sputum induction and measures of sputum cytology, often repeatedly, and assessment of responses to standardized asthma treatments.
Measurements and Main Results: In cross-sectional analyses, sputum eosinophilia (≥2% eosinophils) was found in only 36% of subjects with asthma not taking an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and 17% of ICS-treated subjects with asthma; an absence of eosinophilia was noted frequently, even in subjects with asthma whose disease was suboptimally controlled. In repeated measures analyses of people with asthma not taking an ICS, 22% of subjects had sputum eosinophilia on every occasion (persistent eosinophilia); 31% had eosinophilia on at least one occasion (intermittent eosinophilia); and 47% had no eosinophilia on every occasion (persistently noneosinophilic). Two weeks of combined antiinflammatory therapy caused significant improvements in airflow obstruction in eosinophilic asthma, but not in persistently noneosinophilic asthma. In contrast, bronchodilator responses to albuterol were similar in eosinophilic and noneosinophilic asthma.
Conclusions: Approximately half of patients with mild-to-moderate asthma have persistently noneosinophilic disease, a disease phenotype that responds poorly to currently available antiinflammatory therapy.
asthma; eosinophil; noneosinophilic; obesity; neutrophil
Rationale: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a proliferative arteriopathy associated with glucose transporter-1 (Glut1) up-regulation and a glycolytic shift in lung metabolism. Glycolytic metabolism can be detected with the positron emission tomography (PET) tracer 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG).
Objectives: The precise cell type in which glycolytic abnormalities occur in PAH is unknown. Moreover, whether FDG-PET is sufficiently sensitive to monitor PAH progression and detect therapeutic regression is untested. We hypothesized that increased lung FDG-PET reflects enhanced glycolysis in vascular cells and is reversible in response to effective therapies.
Methods: PAH was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by monocrotaline or chronic hypoxia (10% oxygen) in combination with Sugen 5416. Monocrotaline rats were treated with oral dichloroacetate or daily imatinib injections. FDG-PET scans and pulmonary artery acceleration times were obtained weekly. The origin of the PET signal was assessed by laser capture microdissection of airway versus vascular tissue. Metabolism was measured in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (PASMC) cultures, using a Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer.
Measurements and Main Results: Lung FDG increases 1–2 weeks after monocrotaline (when PAH is mild) and is normalized by dichloroacetate and imatinib, which both also regress medial hypertrophy. Glut1 mRNA is up-regulated in both endothelium and PASMCs, but not airway cells or macrophages. PASMCs from monocrotaline rats are hyperproliferative and display normoxic activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), which underlies their glycolytic phenotype.
Conclusions: HIF-1α-mediated Glut1 up-regulation in proliferating vascular cells in PAH accounts for increased lung FDG-PET uptake. FDG-PET is sensitive to mild PAH and can monitor therapeutic changes in the vasculature.
hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α); glucose transporter-1 (Glut1); glycolysis; imatinib; Sugen 5416
Recent advances in therapy for non–small cell lung carcinoma have shown that a personalized approach to treatment has the potential to significantly reduce lung cancer mortality. Concurrently, endoscopic ultrasound transbronchial needle aspiration has emerged as an accurate and sensitive tool for the diagnosis and staging of this disease. As knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that drive lung cancer progression increases, the amount of information that must be derived from a tumor specimen will also increase. Recent clinical studies have demonstrated that small specimens acquired by endoscopic ultrasound transbronchial needle aspiration are sufficient for molecular testing if specimen acquisition and processing are done with these needs in mind. Optimum use of this procedure requires a coordinated effort between the bronchoscopist and the cytopathologist to collect and triage specimens for diagnostic testing. When feasible, rapid onsite evaluation should be performed to assess the specimen for both diagnostic quality and quantity and to allocate the specimen for cell-block and possible immunohistochemistry and molecular studies. It is necessary for pulmonologists and bronchoscopists to understand the rationale for histologic and molecular testing of lung cancer diagnostic specimens and to ensure that specimens are acquired and processed in a fashion that provides information from small cytologic specimens that is sufficient to guide treatment in this era of targeted therapy.
lung cancer; bronchoscopy; cytology; EGFR; molecular testing
Rationale: Acute lung injury (ALI) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality, with no currently effective pharmacological therapies. Neutrophils have been specifically implicated in the pathogenesis of ALI, and there has been significant research into the mechanisms of early neutrophil recruitment, but those controlling the later phases of neutrophil emigration that characterize disease are poorly understood.
Objectives: To determine the influence of peripheral blood monocytes (PBMs) in established ALI.
Methods: In a murine model of LPS-induced ALI, three separate models of conditional monocyte ablation were used: systemic liposomal clodronate (sLC), inducible depletion using CD11b diphtheria toxin receptor (CD11b DTR) transgenic mice, and antibody-dependent ablation of CCR2hi monocytes.
Measurements and Main Results: PBMs play a critical role in regulating neutrophil emigration in established murine LPS-induced lung injury. Gr1hi and Gr1lo PBM subpopulations contribute to this process. PBM depletion is associated with a significant reduction in measures of lung injury. The specificity of PBM depletion was demonstrated by replenishment studies in which the effects were reversed by systemic PBM infusion but not by systemic or local pulmonary infusion of mature macrophages or lymphocytes.
Conclusions: These results suggest that PBMs, or the mechanisms by which they influence pulmonary neutrophil emigration, could represent therapeutic targets in established ALI.
acute lung injury; LPS; monocytes; neutrophils
Rationale: The role of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) in the development or progression of interstitial lung disease (ILD) is controversial.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between statin use and ILD.
Methods: We used regression analyses to evaluate the association between statin use and interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) in a large cohort of smokers from COPDGene. Next, we evaluated the effect of statin pretreatment on bleomycin-induced fibrosis in mice and explored the mechanism behind these observations in vitro.
Measurements and Main Results: In COPDGene, 38% of subjects with ILA were taking statins compared with 27% of subjects without ILA. Statin use was positively associated in ILA (odds ratio, 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–2.50; P = 0.04) after adjustment for covariates including a history of high cholesterol or coronary artery disease. This association was modified by the hydrophilicity of statin and the age of the subject. Next, we demonstrate that statin administration aggravates lung injury and fibrosis in bleomycin-treated mice. Statin pretreatment enhances caspase-1–mediated immune responses in vivo and in vitro; the latter responses were abolished in bone marrow–derived macrophages isolated from Nlrp3−/− and Casp1−/− mice. Finally, we provide further insights by demonstrating that statins enhance NLRP3-inflammasome activation by increasing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation in macrophages.
Conclusions: Statin use is associated with ILA among smokers in the COPDGene study and enhances bleomycin-induced lung inflammation and fibrosis in the mouse through a mechanism involving enhanced NLRP3-inflammasome activation. Our findings suggest that statins may influence the susceptibility to, or progression of, ILD.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00608764).
statins; interstitial lung disease; pulmonary fibrosis; inflammasome; mitochondrial reactive oxygen species
Rationale: Eosinophil β1-integrin activation correlates inversely with FEV1 and directly with eosinophil-bound P-selectin in subjects with nonsevere allergic asthma.
Objectives: Determine the relationships between β1-integrin activation and pulmonary function or eosinophil-bound P-selectin in subjects with asthma of varying severity and discern the source of eosinophil-bound P-selectin.
Methods: Blood was assayed by flow cytometry for P-selectin and activated β1-integrin on eosinophils and platelets. Plasma was analyzed with ELISA for soluble P-selectin, platelet factor 4, and thrombospondin-1.
Measurements and Main Results: Activated β1-integrin correlated with eosinophil-bound P-selectin among all subjects with asthma even though activated β1-integrin was higher in subjects with nonsevere asthma than severe asthma. Activated β1-integrin correlated inversely with FEV1 corrected for FVC only in younger subjects with nonsevere asthma. Paradoxically, platelet surface P-selectin, a platelet activation marker, was low in subjects with severe asthma, whereas plasma platelet factor 4, a second platelet activation marker, was high. Correlations indicated that P-selectin–positive platelets complexed to eosinophils are the major source of the eosinophil-bound P-selectin associated with β1-integrin activation. After whole-lung antigen challenge of subjects with nonsevere asthma, a model of asthma exacerbation known to cause platelet activation, circulating eosinophils bearing P-selectin and activated β1-integrin disappeared.
Conclusions: The relationship between eosinophil β1-integrin activation and pulmonary function was replicated only for younger subjects with nonsevere asthma. However, we infer that platelet activation and binding of activated platelets to eosinophils followed by P-selectin–mediated eosinophil β1-integrin activation occur in both nonsevere and severe asthma with rapid movement of platelet–eosinophil complexes into the lung in more severe disease.
asthma; blood platelets; eosinophils; P-selectin; integrins
Rationale: Surfactant protein (SP)-D and SP-A have been implicated in immunomodulation in the lung. It has been reported that patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) often have elevated serum levels of SP-A and SP-D, although their role in the disease is not known.
Objectives: The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that SP-D plays an important role in lung fibrosis using a mouse model of fibrosis induced by bleomycin (BLM).
Methods: Triple transgenic inducible SP-D mice (iSP-D mice), in which rat SP-D is expressed in response to doxycycline (Dox) treatment, were administered BLM (100 U/kg) or saline subcutaneously using miniosmotic pumps.
Measurements and Main Results: BLM-treated iSP-D mice off Dox (SP-D off) had increased lung fibrosis compared with mice on Dox (SP-D on). SP-D deficiency also increased macrophage-dominant cell infiltration and the expression of profibrotic cytokines (transforming growth factor [TGF]-β1, platelet-derived growth factor-AA). Alveolar macrophages isolated from BLM-treated iSP-D mice off Dox (SP-D off) secreted more TGF-β1. Fibrocytes, which are bone marrow–derived mesenchymal progenitor cells, were increased to a greater extent in the lungs of the BLM-treated iSP-D mice off Dox (SP-D off). Fibrocytes isolated from BLM-treated iSP-D mice off Dox (SP-D off) expressed more of the profibrotic cytokine TGF-β1 and more CXCR4, a chemokine receptor that is important in fibrocyte migration into the lungs. Exogenous SP-D administered intratracheally attenuated BLM-induced lung fibrosis in SP-D−/− mice.
Conclusions: These data suggest that alveolar SP-D regulates numbers of macrophages and fibrocytes in the lungs, profibrotic cytokine expression, and fibrotic lung remodeling in response to BLM injury.
surfactant; lung fibrosis; macrophage; fibrocyte; growth factor
Rationale: Survivors of acute lung injury (ALI) frequently have substantial depressive symptoms and physical impairment, but the longitudinal epidemiology of these conditions remains unclear.
Objectives: To evaluate the 2-year incidence and duration of depressive symptoms and physical impairment after ALI, as well as risk factors for these conditions.
Methods: This prospective, longitudinal cohort study recruited patients from 13 intensive care units (ICUs) in four hospitals, with follow-up 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after ALI. The outcomes were Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale depression score greater than or equal to 8 (“depressive symptoms”) in patients without a history of depression before ALI, and two or more dependencies in instrumental activities of daily living (“impaired physical function”) in patients without baseline impairment.
Measurements and Main Results: During 2-year follow-up of 186 ALI survivors, the cumulative incidences of depressive symptoms and impaired physical function were 40 and 66%, respectively, with greatest incidence by 3-month follow-up; modal durations were greater than 21 months for each outcome. Risk factors for incident depressive symptoms were education 12 years or less, baseline disability or unemployment, higher baseline medical comorbidity, and lower blood glucose in the ICU. Risk factors for incident impaired physical function were longer ICU stay and prior depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: Incident depressive symptoms and impaired physical function are common and long-lasting during the first 2 years after ALI. Interventions targeting potentially modifiable risk factors (e.g., substantial depressive symptoms in early recovery) should be evaluated to improve ALI survivors’ long-term outcomes.
depression; recovery of function; critical illness; critical care; acute lung injury
Rationale: Human rhinoviruses (HRV) are the leading cause of upper respiratory infections and have been postulated to trigger asthma exacerbations. However, whether HRV are detected during crises because upper respiratory infections often accompany asthma attacks, or because they specifically elicit exacerbations, is unclear. Moreover, although several hypotheses have been advanced to explain virus-induced exacerbations, their mechanism remains unclear.
Objectives: To determine the role of HRV in pediatric asthma exacerbations and the mechanisms mediating wheezing.
Methods: We prospectively studied 409 children with asthma presenting with upper respiratory infection in the presence or absence of wheezing. Candidate viral and immune mediators of illness were compared among children with asthma with different degrees of severity of acute asthma.
Measurements and Main Results: HRV infections specifically associated with asthma exacerbations, even after adjusting for relevant demographic and clinical variables defined a priori (odds ratio, 1.90; 95% confidence interval, 1.21–2.99; P = 0.005). No difference in virus titers, HRV species, and inflammatory or allergic molecules was observed between wheezing and nonwheezing children infected with HRV. Type III IFN-λ1 levels were higher in wheezing children infected with HRV compared with nonwheezing (P < 0.001) and increased with worsening symptoms (P < 0.001). Moreover, after adjusting for IFN-λ1, children with asthma infected with HRV were no longer more likely to wheeze than those who were HRV-negative (odds ratio, 1.18; 95% confidence interval, 0.57–2.46; P = 0.66).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that HRV infections in children with asthma are specifically associated with acute wheezing, and that type III IFN-λ1 responses mediate exacerbations caused by HRV. Modulation of IFN- λ1 should be studied as a therapeutic target for exacerbations caused by HRV.
asthma; interferon-λ; rhinovirus; children; asthma exacerbation
Rationale: Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is common and causes significant morbidity. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is also common in patients with type 2 diabetes. Because OSA is associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, we hypothesized that OSA is associated with peripheral neuropathy in type 2 diabetes.
Objectives: To assess the relationship between OSA and peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of adults with type 2 diabetes recruited randomly from the diabetes clinic of two UK hospitals.
Measurements and Main Results: Peripheral neuropathy was diagnosed using the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument. OSA (apnea-hypopnea index ≥ 5 events/h) was assessed using home-based, multichannel respiratory monitoring. Serum nitrotyrosine was measured by ELISA, lipid peroxide by spectrophotometer, and microvascular function by laser speckle contrast imaging. Two hundred thirty-four patients (mean [SD] age, 57  yr) were analyzed. OSA prevalence was 65% (median apnea-hypopnea index, 7.2; range, 0–93), 40% of which were moderate to severe. Neuropathy prevalence was higher in patients with OSA than those without (60% vs. 27%, P < 0.001). After adjustment for possible confounders, OSA remained independently associated with diabetic neuropathy (odds ratio, 2.82; 95% confidence interval, 1.44–5.52; P = 0.0034). Nitrotyrosine and lipid peroxide levels (n = 102, 74 with OSA) were higher in OSA and correlated with hypoxemia severity. Cutaneous microvascular function (n = 71, 47 with OSA) was impaired in OSA.
Conclusions: We describe a novel independent association between diabetic peripheral neuropathy and OSA. We identified increased nitrosative/oxidative stress and impaired microvascular regulation as potential mechanisms. Prospective and interventional studies are needed to assess the impact of OSA and its treatment on peripheral neuropathy development and progression in patients with type 2 diabetes.
obstructive sleep apnea; diabetic neuropathy; nitrosative stress; microvascular function; laser speckle contrast imaging
Rationale: Hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HGNS) recruits lingual muscles, reduces pharyngeal collapsibility, and treats sleep apnea.
Objectives: We hypothesized that graded increases in HGNS relieve pharyngeal obstruction progressively during sleep.
Methods: Responses were examined in 30 patients with sleep apnea who were implanted with an HGNS system. Current (milliampere) was increased stepwise during non-REM sleep. Frequency and pulse width were fixed. At each current level, stimulation was applied on alternating breaths, and responses in maximal inspiratory airflow (VImax) and inspiratory airflow limitation (IFL) were assessed. Pharyngeal responses to HGNS were characterized by the current levels at which VImax first increased and peaked (flow capture and peak flow thresholds), and by the VImax increase from flow capture to peak (ΔVImax).
Measurements and Main Results: HGNS produced linear increases in VImax from unstimulated levels at flow capture to peak flow thresholds (215 ± 21 to 509 ± 37 ml/s; mean ± SE; P < 0.001) with increasing current from 1.05 ± 0.09 to 1.46 ± 0.11 mA. VImax increased in all patients and IFL was abolished in 57% of patients (non-IFL subgroup). In the non-IFL compared with IFL subgroup, the flow response slope was greater (1241 ± 199 vs. 674 ± 166 ml/s/mA; P < 0.05) and the stimulation amplitude at peak flow was lower (1.23 ± 0.10 vs. 1.80 ± 0.20 mA; P < 0.05) without differences in peak flow.
Conclusions: HGNS produced marked dose-related increases in airflow without arousing patients from sleep. Increases in airflow were of sufficient magnitude to eliminate IFL in most patients and IFL and non-IFL subgroups achieved normal or near-normal levels of flow, suggesting potential HGNS efficacy across a broad range of sleep apnea severity.
obstructive sleep apnea; electrical hypoglossal nerve stimulation; pharynx; upper airway; titration
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with local (lung) and systemic (blood) inflammation and manifestations. DNA methylation is an important regulator of gene transcription, and global and specific gene methylation marks may vary with cigarette smoke exposure.
Objectives: To perform a comprehensive assessment of methylation marks in DNA from subjects well phenotyped for nonneoplastic lung disease.
Methods: We conducted array-based methylation screens, using a test-replication approach, in two family-based cohorts (n = 1,085 and 369 subjects).
Measurements and Main Results: We observed 349 CpG sites significantly associated with the presence and severity of COPD in both cohorts. Seventy percent of the associated CpG sites were outside of CpG islands, with the majority of CpG sites relatively hypomethylated. Gene ontology analysis based on these 349 CpGs (330 genes) suggested the involvement of a number of genes responsible for immune and inflammatory system pathways, responses to stress and external stimuli, as well as wound healing and coagulation cascades. Interestingly, our observations include significant, replicable associations between SERPINA1 hypomethylation and COPD and lower average lung function phenotypes (combined P values: COPD, 1.5 × 10−23; FEV1/FVC, 1.5 × 10−35; FEV1, 2.2 × 10−40).
Conclusions: Genetic and epigenetic pathways may both contribute to COPD. Many of the top associations between COPD and DNA methylation occur in biologically plausible pathways. This large-scale analysis suggests that DNA methylation may be a biomarker of COPD and may highlight new pathways of COPD pathogenesis.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; epigenetics; DNA methylation; smoking
Rationale: Cross-sectional studies demonstrate an association between metabolic syndrome and impaired lung function.
Objectives: To define if metabolic syndrome biomarkers are risk factors for loss of lung function after irritant exposure.
Methods: A nested case-control study of Fire Department of New York personnel with normal pre–September 11th FEV1 and who presented for subspecialty pulmonary evaluation before March 10, 2008. We correlated metabolic syndrome biomarkers obtained within 6 months of World Trade Center dust exposure with subsequent FEV1. FEV1 at subspecialty pulmonary evaluation within 6.5 years defined disease status; cases had FEV1 less than lower limit of normal, whereas control subjects had FEV1 greater than or equal to lower limit of normal.
Measurements and Main Results: Clinical data and serum sampled at the first monitoring examination within 6 months of September 11, 2001, assessed body mass index, heart rate, serum glucose, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), leptin, pancreatic polypeptide, and amylin. Cases and control subjects had significant differences in HDL less than 40 mg/dl with triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dl, heart rate greater than or equal to 66 bpm, and leptin greater than or equal to 10,300 pg/ml. Each increased the odds of abnormal FEV1 at pulmonary evaluation by more than twofold, whereas amylin greater than or equal to 116 pg/ml decreased the odds by 84%, in a multibiomarker model adjusting for age, race, body mass index, and World Trade Center arrival time. This model had a sensitivity of 41%, a specificity of 86%, and a receiver operating characteristic area under the curve of 0.77.
Conclusions: Abnormal triglycerides and HDL and elevated heart rate and leptin are independent risk factors of greater susceptibility to lung function impairment after September 11, 2001, whereas elevated amylin is protective. Metabolic biomarkers are predictors of lung disease, and may be useful for assessing risk of impaired lung function in response to particulate inhalation.
metabolic syndrome X; September 11 terrorist attacks; biologic markers
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) has characterized over the past 10 years 1,644 patients with asthma, including 583 individuals with severe asthma. SARP collaboration has led to a rapid recruitment of subjects and efficient sharing of samples among participating sites to conduct independent mechanistic investigations of severe asthma. Enrolled SARP subjects underwent detailed clinical, physiologic, genomic, and radiological evaluations. In addition, SARP investigators developed safe procedures for bronchoscopy in participants with asthma, including those with severe disease. SARP studies revealed that severe asthma is a heterogeneous disease with varying molecular, biochemical, and cellular inflammatory features and unique structure–function abnormalities. Priorities for future studies include recruitment of a larger number of subjects with severe asthma, including children, to allow further characterization of anatomic, physiologic, biochemical, and genetic factors related to severe disease in a longitudinal assessment to identify factors that modulate the natural history of severe asthma and provide mechanistic rationale for management strategies.
asthma; remodeling; inflammation; bronchoscopy; imaging
Rationale: There is uncertainty regarding how to interpret discordance between tests for latent tuberculosis infection.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess discordance between commercially available tests for latent tuberculosis in a low-prevalence population, including the impact of nontuberculous mycobacteria.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional comparison study among 2,017 military recruits at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, from April to June 2009. Several tests were performed simultaneously with a risk factor questionnaire, including (1) QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube test, (2) T-SPOT.TB test, (3) tuberculin skin test, and (4) Battey skin test using purified protein derivative from the Battey bacillus.
Measurements and Main Results: In this low-prevalence population, the specificities of the three commercially available diagnostic tests were not significantly different. Of the 88 subjects with a positive test, only 10 (11.4%) were positive to all three tests; 20 (22.7%) were positive to at least two tests. Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccination, tuberculosis prevalence in country of birth, and Battey skin test reaction size were associated with tuberculin skin test–positive, IFN-γ release assay–negative test discordance. Increasing agreement between the three tests was associated with epidemiologic criteria indicating risk of infection and with quantitative test results.
Conclusions: For most positive results the three tests identified different people, suggesting that in low-prevalence populations most discordant results are caused by false-positives. False-positive tuberculin skin test reactions associated with reactivity to nontuberculous mycobacteria and bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccination may account for a proportion of test discordance observed.
tuberculosis screening; interferon-γ release assays; nontuberculous mycobacteria
Integrating current evidence with fundamental concepts from decision analysis suggests that management of patients with pulmonary nodules should begin with estimating the pretest probability of cancer from the patient's clinical risk factors and computed tomography characteristics. Then, the consequences of treatment should be considered, by comparing the benefits of surgery if the patient has lung cancer with the potential harm if the patient does not have cancer. This analysis determines the “treatment threshold,” which is the point around which the decision centers. This varies widely among patients depending on their cardiopulmonary reserve, comorbidities, and individual preferences. For patients with a very low probability of cancer, careful observation with serial computed tomography is warranted. For those with a high probability of cancer, surgical diagnosis is warranted. For patients in the intermediate range of probabilities, either computed tomography–guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy or positron emission tomography, possibly followed by computed tomography–guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy, is best. Patient preferences should be considered because the absolute difference in outcome between strategies may be small. The optimal approach to the management of patients with pulmonary nodules is evolving as technologies develop. Areas of uncertainty include quantifying the hazard of delayed diagnosis; determining the optimal duration of follow-up for ground-glass and semisolid opacities; establishing the roles of volumetric imaging, advanced bronchoscopic technologies, and limited surgical resections; and calculating the cost-effectiveness of different strategies.
lung cancer; solitary pulmonary nodule; lung cancer screening; positron emission tomography; lung nodule