Smoking activates and recruits inflammatory cells and proteases to the airways. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-12 may be a key mediator in smoke induced emphysema. However, the influence of smoking and its cessation on airway inflammation and MMP-12 expression during COPD is still unknown. We aimed to analyse airway inflammatory cell patterns in induced sputum (IS) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) from COPD patients who are active smokers and who have ceased smoking >2 years ago.
39 COPD outpatients – smokers (n = 22) and ex-smokers (n = 17) were studied. 8 'healthy' smokers and 11 healthy never-smokers were tested as the control groups. IS and BAL samples were obtained for differential and MMP-12+-macrophages count analysis.
The number of IS neutrophils was higher in both COPD groups compared to both controls. The amount of BAL neutrophils was higher in COPD smokers compared to healthy never-smokers. The number of BAL MMP-12+-macrophages was higher in COPD smokers (1.6 ± 0.3 × 106/ml) compared to COPD ex-smokers, 'healthy' smokers and healthy never-smokers (0.9 ± 0.4, 0.4 ± 0.2, 0.2 ± 0.1 × 106/ml respectively, p < 0.05).
The lower amount of BAL neutrophils in COPD ex-smokers, compared to COPD smokers, suggests positive alterations in alveolar compartment after smoking cessation. Smoking and disease itself may stimulate MMP-12 expression in airway compartments (IS and BAL) from COPD patients.
COPD is underdiagnosed and its early assessment is problematic. It has been suggested that symptomatic smokers with normal FEV1/FVC (Stage 0 COPD, GOLD criteria) can develop COPD in the future. Potential early biomarkers in COPD include the matrix metallo-proteinases (MMPs). It is not yet known, whether alterations in MMP expression are associated with smoking alone or with the risk of developing COPD. In this cross-sectional study MMP-8, MMP-9 and MMP-12 were determined from induced sputum and plasma by ELISA, immunocytochemistry, zymography, and/or Western blot in non-smokers (n = 32), smokers with symptoms (Stage 0, GOLD criteria) (n = 23) or without symptoms (n = 23). Only MMP-8 differentiated Stage 0 COPD from non-symptomatic smokers (p = 0.02). MMP-9 levels were significantly elevated in the induced sputum of non-symptomatic smokers and Stage 0 COPD (p = 0.01, p < 0.001) compared to non-smokers, but did not differ between the two subgroups of smokers. MMP-12 was higher only at Stage 0 compared to non-smokers (p = 0.04). MMP-8, MMP-9 and MMP-12 immunoreactivity was localized in macrophages and neutrophils, especially in smokers. MMP-8 levels correlated significantly with the small airway flow parameters (MEF50, MEF25) (p = 0.005 and p = 0.0004) and markers of neutrophil activation (myeloperoxidase, lactoferrin). In conclusion MMP-8 may differentiate Stage 0 from healthy smokers.
cigarette smoking; GOLD; COPD; MMP; myeloperoxidase; oxidant; Stage 0
The predominant emphysema phenotype is associated with more severe airflow limitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A study was undertaken to investigate whether COPD patients, with or without emphysema quantitatively confirmed by high resolution computed tomography (HRCT), have different COPD severity as assessed by the BODE index (body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnoea, exercise performance) and inspiratory capacity to total lung capacity ratio (IC/TLC), and by different biological markers of lung parenchymal destruction.
Twenty six outpatients with COPD and eight healthy non‐smokers were examined. Each subject underwent HRCT scanning, pulmonary function tests, cell counts, and measurements of neutrophil elastase, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)‐9 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)‐1 in induced sputum, as well as measurement of desmosine, a marker of elastin degradation in urine, plasma and sputum.
Patients with HRCT confirmed emphysema had a higher BODE index and lower IC/TLC ratio than subjects without HRCT confirmed emphysema and controls. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity ratio, and carbon monoxide transfer coefficient were lower, whereas the number of eosinophils, MMP‐9, and the MMP‐9/TIMP‐1 ratio in sputum were higher in patients with emphysema. In COPD patients the number of sputum eosinophils was the biological variable that correlated positively with the HRCT score of emphysema (p = 0.04).
These results suggest that COPD associated with HRCT confirmed emphysema is characterised by more severe lung function impairment, more intense airway inflammation and, possibly, more serious systemic dysfunction than COPD not associated with HRCT confirmed emphysema.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; biological markers; outcomes
The pivotal role of neutrophils and macrophages in smoking-related lung inflammation and COPD development is well-established.
We aimed to assess whether sputum concentrations of Human Neutrophil Peptides (HNP), Neutrophil Elastase (NE), Interleukin-8 (IL-8), and Metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), major products of neutrophils and macrophages, could be used to trace airway inflammation and progression towards pulmonary functional impairment characteristic of COPD.
Forty-two symptomatic smokers and 42 COPD patients underwent pulmonary function tests; sputum samples were collected at enrolment, and 6 months after smoking cessation.
HNP, NE, IL-8, MMP-9 levels were increased in individuals with COPD (p < 0.0001). HNP and NE concentrations were higher in patients with severe airways obstruction, as compared to patients with mild-to-moderate COPD (p = 0.002). A negative correlation was observed between FEV1 and HNP, NE and IL-8 levels (p < 0.01), between FVC1/FVC and HNP, NE and IL-8 levels (p < 0.01), and between NE enrolment levels and FEV1 decline after 2 years (p = 0.04).
ROC analysis, to discriminate symptomatic smokers and COPD patients, showed the following AUCs: for HNP 0.92; for NE 0.81; for IL-8 0.89; for MMP-9 0.81; for HNP, IL-8 and MMP-9 considered together 0.981.
The data suggest that the measurement of sputum markers may have an important role in clinical practice for monitoring COPD.
Airway inflammation; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; neutrophil elastase; human neutrophil peptides; interleukin-8; likelihood ratio; metalloproteinase-9; sputum; receiver operating characteristic analysis; smoking
Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for obstruction of airflow in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) or an imbalance between MMPs and their inhibitors, the tissue inhibitors of MMP (TIMPs), is considered to play a role in the pathogenesis of COPD. We investigated whether the MMPs expression or the imbalance between MMPs and TIMP-1 is associated with the amount of cigarette smoking and the FEV1 value, in the lung parenchyma of 26 subjects (6 non-smokers and 20 cigarette smokers). First, we performed zymographic analysis to identify the profile of the MMPs, which revealed gelatinolytic bands mainly equivalent to MMP-9 in the smokers. We then measured, using enzyme immunoassay, the concentrations of MMP-9 and its inhibitor, TIMP-1. Correlation analysis revealed that both the MMP-9 concentrations and the molar ratios of MMP-9 to TIMP-1 (MMP-9/TIMP-1) were correlated with the amount of cigarette smoking. Furthermore, MMP-9 concentrations were inversely correlated with FEV1. In conclusion, this study shows that MMP-9 expression in human lung parenchyma is associated with cigarette smoking and also with the obstruction of airflow, suggesting that MMP-9 may play a role in the pathogenesis of the cigarette smoke-induced obstruction of airflow known as the characteristic of COPD.
Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Recent reports of increased matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) in lungs of patients with emphysema support the paradigm of proteinase/antiproteinase imbalance in the pathogenesis of COPD. We sought to define the signaling pathways activated by smoke and to identify molecules responsible for emphysema-associated MMP-2 expression. In this study, we show that cigarette smoke extract (CSE) induced MMP-2 protein expression and increased MMP-2 gelatinase activity of normal lung fibroblasts. We previously identified a transcription factor, early growth response 1 (EGR-1), with robust expression in the lung tissues of patients with COPD compared with control smokers. Here, the treatment of fibroblasts with CSE resulted in marked induction of EGR-1 mRNA and protein in a dose- and time-dependent manner, accompanied by increased EGR-1 binding activity. CSE-induced MMP-2 mRNA and protein expression and activity were significantly inhibited using EGR-1 small interfering RNA (siRNA) or in Egr-1–null−/− mouse fibroblasts. Furthermore, we observed induction of membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), which has an EGR-1–binding site on its promoter, in CSE-treated primary normal lung fibroblasts. The concomitant MT1-MMP expression and MMP-2 activation by CSE are inhibited by EGR-1 siRNA. Rapid activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases was observed in CSE-treated fibroblasts. Chemical inhibitors of ERK1/2 MAPK, but not of p38 and JNK, decreased CSE-induced EGR-1 protein expression and MMP-2 activity of fibroblasts. The identification that induction of MMP-2 and MT1-MMP by CSE from lung fibroblasts is EGR-1–dependent reveals a molecular mechanism for matrix remodeling in cigarette smoke–related emphysema.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; EGR-1; cigarette smoke extract; MMP-2; MT1-MMP
Rationale: Induced mainly by cigarette smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a global public health problem characterized by progressive difficulty in breathing and increased mucin production. Previously, we reported that acrolein levels found in COPD sputum could activate matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9).
Objectives: To determine whether acrolein increases expression and activity of MMP14, a critical membrane-bound endopeptidase that can initial a MMP-activation cascade.
Methods: MMP14 activity and adduct formation were measured following direct acrolein treatment. MMP14 expression and activity was measured in human airway epithelial cells. MMP14 immunohistochemistry was performed with COPD tissue, and in acrolein- or tobacco-exposed mice.
Measurements and Main Results: In a cell-free system, acrolein, in concentrations equal to those found in COPD sputum, directly adducted cysteine 319 in the MMP14 hemopexin-like domain and activated MMP14. In cells, acrolein increased MMP14 activity, which was inhibited by a proprotein convertase inhibitor, hexa-d-arginine. In the airway epithelium of COPD subjects, immunoreactive MMP14 protein increased. In mouse lung, acrolein or tobacco smoke increased lung MMP14 activity and protein. In cells, acrolein-induced MMP14 transcripts were inhibited by an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) neutralizing antibody, EGFR kinase inhibitor, metalloproteinase inhibitor, or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) 3/2 or MAPK8 inhibitors, but not a MAPK14 inhibitor. Decreasing the MMP14 protein and activity in vitro by small interfering (si)RNA to MMP14 diminished the acrolein-induced MUC5AC transcripts. In acrolein-exposed mice or transgenic mice with lung-specific transforming growth factor-α (an EGFR ligand) expression, lung MMP14 and MUC5AC levels increased and these effects were inhibited by a EGFR inhibitor, erlotinib.
Conclusions: Taken together, these findings implicate acrolein-induced MMP14 expression and activity in mucin production in COPD.
cigarette smoke; acrolein; erlotinib; mucous cell metaplasia; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) may play an important role in emphysematous change in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. We previously reported that simvastatin, an inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, attenuates emphysematous change and MMP-9 induction in the lungs of rats exposed to cigarette smoke. However, it remained uncertain how cigarette smoke induced MMP-9 and how simvastatin inhibited cigarette smoke-induced MMP-9 expression in alveolar macrophages (AMs), a major source of MMP-9 in the lungs of COPD patients. Presently, we examined the related signaling for MMP-9 induction and the inhibitory mechanism of simvastatin on MMP-9 induction in AMs exposed to cigarette smoke extract (CSE). In isolated rat AMs, CSE induced MMP-9 expression and phosphorylation of ERK and Akt. A chemical inhibitor of MEK1/2 or PI3K reduced phosphorylation of ERK or Akt, respectively, and also inhibited CSE-mediated MMP-9 induction. Simvastatin reduced CSE-mediated MMP-9 induction, and simvastatin-mediated inhibition was reversed by farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) or geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP). Similar to simvastatin, inhibition of FPP transferase or GGPP transferase suppressed CSE-mediated MMP-9 induction. Simvastatin attenuated CSE-mediated activation of RAS and phosphorylation of ERK, Akt, p65, IκB, and nuclear AP-1 or NF-κB activity. Taken together, these results suggest that simvastatin may inhibit CSE-mediated MMP-9 induction, primarily by blocking prenylation of RAS in the signaling pathways, in which Raf-MEK-ERK, PI3K/Akt, AP-1, and IκB-NF-κB are involved.
macrophages, alveolar; matrix metalloproteinases-9; pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; pulmonary emphysema; simvastatin; smoking
Tobacco smoking is the most important risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) development. Inhaled cigarette smoke can induce tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) production by alveolar macrophages, which in turn may enhance the production of metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs have been involved in mediating airway inflammation and lung destruction.
We aimed to measure the TNF-α serum levels in healthy heavy smokers and healthy nonsmokers to determine the dose-response relationship based on the cigarette smoke exposure.
Subjects and methods:
We included in our study 43 healthy heavy smokers and 19 healthy nonsmokers (the control group). The smokers group was classified as less than one pack, one pack, and more than one pack per day. A clinical and paraclinical evaluation was performed in both groups, without any evidence of infection or COPD. The serum levels of TNF-α were assessed by ELISA.
The TNF-α serum levels were significantly higher for the group of smokers compared to the group of nonsmokers (P < 0.004). We also noticed an increased TNF-α concentration in the serum of smokers with more than one pack per day compared with those with less than one pack per day (P < 0.03). There was a positive correlation between the serum level of TNF-α and tobacco smoke exposure.
The high levels of TNF-α in the serum of smokers suggest an imbalance between the proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory factors as a result of tobacco smoke exposure. The concentration of TNF-α is elevated in the serum of healthy heavy smokers in a cigarette dose-dependent manner. We speculate that the serum level of TNF-α might be a useful biomarker for the selection of heavy smokers with a high risk of developing smoke induced pulmonary diseases.
tobacco smoking; inflammation; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; metalloproteinases
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common and serious respiratory disease, particularly in older individuals, characterised by fixed airway obstruction and persistent airway neutrophilia. The mechanisms that lead to these features are not well established. We investigated the contribution of age, prior smoking, and fixed airflow obstruction on sputum neutrophils, TLR2 expression, and markers of neutrophilic inflammation. Induced sputum from adults with COPD (n = 69) and healthy controls (n = 51) was examined. A sputum portion was dispersed, total, differential cell count and viability recorded, and supernatant assayed for CXCL8, matrix metalloproteinase- (MMP-) 9, neutrophil elastase, and soluble TLR2. Peripheral blood cells (n = 7) were stimulated and TLR2 activation examined. TLR2 levels were increased with ageing, while sputum neutrophils and total sputum MMP-9 levels increased with age, previous smoking, and COPD. In multivariate regression, TLR2 gene expression and MMP-9 levels were significant independent contributors to the proportion of sputum neutrophils after adjustment for age, prior smoking, and the presence of airflow obstruction. TLR2 stimulation led to enhanced release of MMP-9 from peripheral blood granulocytes. TLR2 stimulation activates neutrophils for MMP-9 release. Efforts to understand the mechanisms of TLR2 signalling and subsequent MMP-9 production in COPD may assist in understanding neutrophilic inflammation in COPD.
Patients with bronchitis type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have raised vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels in induced sputum. This has been associated with the pathogenesis of COPD through apoptotic and oxidative stress mechanisms. Since, chronic airway inflammation is an important pathological feature of COPD mainly initiated by cigarette smoking, aim of this study was to assess smoking as a potential cause of raised airway VEGF levels in bronchitis type COPD and to test the association between VEGF levels in induced sputum and airway inflammation in these patients.
14 current smokers with bronchitis type COPD, 17 asymptomatic current smokers with normal spirometry and 16 non-smokers were included in the study. VEGF, IL-8, and TNF-α levels in induced sputum were measured and the correlations between these markers, as well as between VEGF levels and pulmonary function were assessed.
The median concentrations of VEGF, IL-8, and TNF-α were significantly higher in induced sputum of COPD patients (1,070 pg/ml, 5.6 ng/ml and 50 pg/ml, respectively) compared to nonsmokers (260 pg/ml, 0.73 ng/ml, and 15.4 pg/ml, respectively, p < 0.05) and asymptomatic smokers (421 pg/ml, 1.27 ng/ml, p < 0.05, and 18.6 pg/ml, p > 0.05, respectively). Significant correlations were found between VEGF levels and pack years (r = 0.56, p = 0.046), IL-8 (r = 0.64, p = 0.026) and TNF-α (r = 0.62, p = 0.031) levels both in asymptomatic and COPD smokers (r = 0.66, p = 0.027, r = 0.67, p = 0.023, and r = 0.82, p = 0.002, respectively). No correlation was found between VEGF levels in sputum and pulmonary function parameters.
VEGF levels are raised in the airways of both asymptomatic and COPD smokers. The close correlation observed between VEGF levels in the airways and markers of airway inflammation in healthy smokers and in smokers with bronchitis type of COPD is suggestive of VEGF as a marker reflecting the inflammatory process that occurs in smoking subjects without alveolar destruction.
Smoking cessation is the best possible way to prevent the progression of smoking related airway diseases. However, the effect and time scale of smoking cessation on airway inflammation/remodelling are largely unknown. This prospective study evaluated the effects of smoking cessation on induced sputum (IS) neutrophils, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-7, -8, -9) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1).
A total of 61 subjects participated in the study; 17 stopped smoking for 3 months and 9 for 6 months. The proportion of IS neutrophils and the levels of MMPs and TIMP-1 by ELISA were determined at baseline and at 3 and 6 months after cessation.
In the smokers, baseline IS neutrophils, MMPs and TIMP-1 were significantly higher compared to non-smokers. Levels of MMP-7, -8 and TIMP-1 decreased nearly to those of non-smokers but the levels of MMP-9 increased significantly from the baseline of the same subjects at 3 months after cessation (p = 0.009) with no significant decline at 6 months after cessation.
Sputum MMP-9 remained elevated after 6 months of smoking cessation, which may contribute to ongoing lung damage typical of COPD.
Cigarette smoke exposure is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, only a minority of smokers develop significant COPD, and patients with asthma or asthma-like airway hyperresponsiveness or eosinophilia experience accelerated loss of lung function after cigarette smoke exposure. Pulmonary inflammation is a characteristic feature of lungs from patients with COPD. Surprisingly, the mediators of this inflammation and their contributions to the pathogenesis and varied natural history of COPD are not well defined. Here we show that IL-13, a critical cytokine in asthma, causes emphysema with enhanced lung volumes and compliance, mucus metaplasia, and inflammation, when inducibly overexpressed in the adult murine lung. MMP-2, -9, -12, -13, and -14 and cathepsins B, S, L, H, and K were induced by IL-13 in this setting. In addition, treatment with MMP or cysteine proteinase antagonists significantly decreased the emphysema and inflammation, but not the mucus in these animals. These studies demonstrate that IL-13 is a potent stimulator of MMP and cathepsin-based proteolytic pathways in the lung. They also demonstrate that IL-13 causes emphysema via a MMP- and cathepsin-dependent mechanism(s) and highlight common mechanisms that may underlie COPD and asthma.
A significant number of young people start smoking at an age of 13-15, which means that serious smoking-evoked changes may have been occurred by their twenties. Surfactant proteins (SP) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) have been linked to cigarette smoke induced lung remodelling and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the level of these proteins has not been examined during ageing or in young individuals with short smoking histories.
Plasma levels of SP-A, SP-D, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 were measured by EIA/ELISA from young (18-23 years) non-smoking controls (YNS) (n = 36), smokers (YS) (n = 51), middle aged/elderly (37-77 years) non-smoking controls (ONS) (n = 40), smokers (OS) (n = 64) (FEV1/FVC >0.7 in all subjects) and patients with COPD (n = 44, 35-79 years).
Plasma levels of SP-A increased with age and in the older group in relation to smoking and COPD. Plasma SP-D and MMP-9 levels did not change with age but were elevated in OS and COPD as compared to ONS. The TIMP-1 level declined with age but increased in chronic smokers when compared to ONS. The clearest correlations could be detected between plasma SP-A vs. age, pack years and FEV1/FVC. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis revealed SP-A to be the best marker for discriminating between patients with COPD and the controls (area under ROC curve of 0.842; 95% confidence interval, 0.785-0.899; p < 0.001).
Age has a significant contribution to potential markers related to smoking and COPD; SP-A seems to be the best factor in differentiating COPD from the controls.
oxide (NO) is involved in inflammation and host defence of the lung. It
has been found in increased concentrations in the airways in asthmatic
subjects but its levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD) have not been investigated. A study was undertaken to
determine whether markers of NO metabolism (NO in exhaled air, iNOS
expression in sputum cells, and nitrite + nitrate
(NO2-/NO3-) in sputum
supernatant) are increased in subjects with COPD, and whether they
correlate with inflammatory indices in induced sputum. The associations
of these markers with smoking were also assessed.
subjects with COPD (median age 66 years, median forced expiratory
volume in one second (FEV1) 63% predicted, eight current
smokers) and 16 healthy subjects (median age 63 years, median
FEV1 113% predicted, eight current smokers) participated in the study. NO was measured during tidal breathing and sputum was
induced by inhalation of hypertonic saline.
were observed between subjects with COPD and healthy controls in
exhaled NO excretion rate (median 5.15 and 6.25 nmol/min), sputum
macrophage iNOS expression (14% and 12%), and sputum supernatant
NO2-/NO3- (46 and
73 µM). NO in exhaled air correlated with the percentage of sputum
eosinophils in patients with COPD (rho = 0.65, p = 0.009) but not in
healthy individuals. Exhaled NO and supernatant
NO2-/NO3- levels were
lower in healthy smokers than in healthy non/ex-smokers.
findings indicate that NO metabolism is not increased in patients with
stable COPD. The close association between exhaled NO levels and sputum
eosinophils suggests a role for NO in airway inflammation in COPD.
Studies performed during exacerbations may clarify this role.
Oxidative stress is associated with the pathogenesis of cigarette smoke related lung diseases, but longitudinal effects of smoking cessation on oxidant markers in the airways are unknown.
This study included 61 smokers; 21 with chronic bronchitis or COPD, 15 asthmatics and 25 asymptomatic smokers followed up for 3 months after smoking cessation. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), sputum neutrophil counts, sputum 8-isoprostane, nitrotyrosine and matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8) were investigated at baseline and 1 and 3 months after smoking cessation.
After 3 months 15 subjects had succeeded in quitting of smoking and in these subjects symptoms improved significantly. Unexpectedly, however, sputum neutrophils increased (p = 0.046) after smoking cessation in patients with chronic bronchitis/COPD. At baseline, the other markers did not differ between the three groups so these results were combined for further analysis. Sputum 8-isoprostane declined significantly during the follow-up at 3 months (p = 0.035), but levels still remained significantly higher than in non-smokers. The levels of FeNO, nitrotyrosine and MMP-8 did not change significantly during the 3 months after smoking cessation.
Whilst symptoms improve after smoking cessation, the oxidant and protease burden in the airways continues for months.
Though matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are critical in the pathogenesis of COPD, their utility as a disease biomarker remains uncertain. This study aimed to determine whether bronchoalveolar lavage (BALF) or plasma MMP measurements correlated with disease severity or functional decline in emphysema.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and luminex assays measured MMP-1, -9, -12 and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 in the BALF and plasma of non-smokers, smokers with normal lung function and moderate-to-severe emphysema subjects. In the cohort of 101 emphysema subjects correlative analyses were done to determine if MMP or TIMP-1 levels were associated with key disease parameters or change in lung function over an 18-month time period.
Compared to non-smoking controls, MMP and TIMP-1 BALF levels were significantly elevated in the emphysema cohort. Though MMP-1 was elevated in both the normal smoker and emphysema groups, collagenase activity was only increased in the emphysema subjects. In contrast to BALF, plasma MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels were actually decreased in the emphysema cohort compared to the control groups. Both in the BALF and plasma, MMP and TIMP-1 measurements in the emphysema subjects did not correlate with important disease parameters and were not predictive of subsequent functional decline.
MMPs are altered in the BALF and plasma of emphysema; however, the changes in MMPs correlate poorly with parameters of disease intensity or progression. Though MMPs are pivotal in the pathogenesis of COPD, these findings suggest that measuring MMPs will have limited utility as a prognostic marker in this disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disorder associated to cigarette smoke and lung cancer (LC). Since epigenetic changes in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) are clearly important in the development of LC. In this study, we hypothesize that tobacco smokers are susceptible for methylation in the promoter region of TSGs in airway epithelial cells when compared with non-smoker subjects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the usefulness of detection of genes promoter methylation in sputum specimens, as a complementary tool to identify LC biomarkers among smokers with early COPD.
We determined the amount of DNA in induced sputum from patients with COPD (n = 23), LC (n = 26), as well as in healthy subjects (CTR) (n = 33), using a commercial kit for DNA purification, followed by absorbance measurement at 260 nm. The frequency of CDKN2A, CDH1 and MGMT promoter methylation in the same groups was determined by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP). The Fisher’s exact test was employed to compare frequency of results between different groups.
DNA concentration was 7.4 and 5.8 times higher in LC and COPD compared to the (CTR) (p < 0.0001), respectively. Methylation status of CDKN2A and MGMT was significantly higher in COPD and LC patients compared with CTR group (p < 0.0001). Frequency of CDH1 methylation only showed a statistically significant difference between LC patients and CTR group (p < 0.05).
We provide evidence that aberrant methylation of TSGs in samples of induced sputum is a useful tool for early diagnostic of lung diseases (LC and COPD) in smoker subjects.
The abstract MUST finish with the following text: Virtual Slides The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1127865005664160
DNA methylation; Sputum; Lung cancer; COPD
Proteolysis of matrix components, in particular elastin, is a major contributing factor to the development of lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). MMP-12 (macrophage elastase) is a protease known to be involved in the progression of lung disease. The relatively low abundance of MMP-12 has precluded the development of quantitative assays that can accurately measure MMP-12 protein levels and activity across cohorts of healthy and diseased individuals.
Commercial antibodies were screened for performance in sandwich ELISA and capture FRET activity assay formats. Precision, accuracy, sensitivity, dilution linearity, and spike recovery were evaluated using sputum samples.
Total protein and capture FRET activity assays were developed that were sensitive enough to detect MMP-12 in 37 of 38 donor sputum samples. A comparison of results between the two assays shows that a majority of sputum MMP-12 is in the active form. No differences were seen between normal, asthmatic, and COPD donors.
Sensitive and quantitative assays for both MMP-12 activity and total protein in human induced sputum have been developed. These assays can be used to evaluate MMP-12 as a biomarker for lung disease, and to monitor efficacy of potential therapeutic compounds.
Background: Chronic inflammation and airway remodelling are characteristics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Hyaluronan (HA) is an extracellular matrix compound with proinflammatory activity. HA levels in induced sputum from patients with COPD were measured and related to local inflammation. The expression of hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) and hyaluronidase 2 (HYAL2) was analysed in lung tissue.
Methods: Sputum was obtained from 18 patients with COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) 62% predicted (range 20–76)) and 14 healthy smokers. HA and inflammatory markers were measured using ELISA assays. Lung sections were obtained from five patients with severe COPD (FEV1 <30%) and from five smokers, and mRNA levels of HAS2 and HYAL2 were analysed by polymerase chain reaction.
Results: HA levels were significantly higher in the sputum from patients with COPD than controls. The COPD population appeared to consist of two subpopulations with either high or moderate HA levels. The subgroup of patients with high HA levels had lower FEV1 than the moderate HA group. In addition, neutrophil influx and levels of interleukin-8, and the soluble tumour necrosis factor receptors R55 and R75 were significantly higher in patients with high HA levels than in those with moderate HA levels and controls. Semiquantitative analysis revealed enhanced expression of HYAL2 in lung tissue of patients with severe COPD compared with control subjects.
Conclusion: These data indicate a relationship between HA levels, local inflammation and severity of disease, and suggest enhanced breakdown of HA in the lungs of patients with COPD.
KL-6 is a high-molecular-weight glycoprotein classified as a human MUC1 mucin. It was hypothesized that KL-6 could be detectable in the circulating blood and especially in airway secretions in lung diseases associated with mucus production such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Additional aims of this study were to investigate whether the levels of KL-6 in plasma and sputum are related to ageing and smoking history.
The concentrations of KL-6 in plasma and induced sputum supernatants from young and/or middle aged/elderly non-smokers, smokers and patients with COPD were assayed by ELISA (n = 201). The subjects were classified into five groups according to age, smoking status and presence of COPD. In addition, KL-6 expression in control and diseased lung i.e. samples from patients with COPD (n = 28), were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and digital image analysis.
The plasma levels of KL-6 increased with age both in non-smokers and smokers. Among middle aged/elderly subjects, plasma KL-6 levels in all smokers regardless of COPD were significantly higher than in non-smokers, whereas sputum levels of KL-6 were significantly higher in COPD compared not only to non-smokers but also to smokers. KL-6 was more prominently expressed in the bronchiolar/alveolar epithelium in COPD than in the control lungs. Plasma and sputum KL-6 levels correlated inversely with obstruction and positively with smoking history and ageing. The linear multiple regression analysis confirmed that age and cigarette smoking had independent effects on plasma KL-6.
KL-6 increases with ageing and chronic smoking history, but prospective studies will be needed to elucidate the significance of KL-6 in chronic airway diseases.
Rationale: Oxidative stress is a key contributor in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis caused by cigarette smoking. NRF2, a redox-sensitive transcription factor, dissociates from its inhibitor, KEAP1, to induce antioxidant expression that inhibits oxidative stress.
Objectives: To determine the link between severity of COPD, oxidative stress, and NRF2-dependent antioxidant levels in the peripheral lung tissue of patients with COPD.
Methods: We assessed the expression of NRF2, NRF2-dependent antioxidants, regulators of NRF2 activity, and oxidative damage in non-COPD (smokers and former smokers) and smoker COPD lungs (mild and advanced). Cigarette smoke–exposed human lung epithelial cells (Beas2B) and mice were used to understand the mechanisms.
Measurements and Main Results: When compared with non-COPD lungs, the COPD patient lungs showed (1) marked decline in NRF2-dependent antioxidants and glutathione levels, (2) increased oxidative stress markers, (3) significant decrease in NRF2 protein with no change in NRF2 mRNA levels, and (4) similar KEAP1 but significantly decreased DJ-1 levels (a protein that stabilizes NRF2 protein by impairing KEAP1-dependent proteasomal degradation of NRF2). Exposure of Bea2B cells to cigarette smoke caused oxidative modification and enhanced proteasomal degradation of DJ-1 protein. Disruption of DJ-1 in mouse lungs, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and Beas2B cells lowered NRF2 protein stability and impaired antioxidant induction in response to cigarette smoke. Interestingly, targeting KEAP1 by siRNA or the small-molecule activator sulforaphane restored induction of NRF2-dependent antioxidants in DJ-1–disrupted cells in response to cigarette smoke.
Conclusions: NRF2-dependent antioxidants and DJ-1 expression was negatively associated with severity of COPD. Therapy directed toward enhancing NRF2-regulated antioxidants may be a novel strategy for attenuating the effects of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of COPD.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; NRF2; DJ-1; oxidative stress; antioxidants
One typical feature in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the disturbance of the oxidant/antioxidant balance. Glutaredoxins (Grx) are thiol disulfide oxido-reductases with antioxidant capacity and catalytic functions closely associated with glutathione, the major small molecular weight antioxidant of human lung. However, the role of Grxs in smoking related diseases is unclear.
Immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses were conducted with lung specimens (n = 45 and n = 32, respectively) and induced sputum (n = 50) of healthy non-smokers and smokers without COPD and at different stages of COPD.
Grx1 was expressed mainly in alveolar macrophages. The percentage of Grx1 positive macrophages was significantly lower in GOLD stage IV COPD than in healthy smokers (p = 0.021) and the level of Grx1 in total lung homogenate decreased both in stage I–II (p = 0.045) and stage IV COPD (p = 0.022). The percentage of Grx1 positive macrophages correlated with the lung function parameters (FEV1, r = 0.45, p = 0.008; FEV1%, r = 0.46, p = 0.007, FEV/FVC%, r = 0.55, p = 0.001). Grx1 could also be detected in sputum supernatants, the levels being increased in the supernatants from acute exacerbations of COPD compared to non-smokers (p = 0.013) and smokers (p = 0.051).
The present cross-sectional study showed that Grx1 was expressed mainly in alveolar macrophages, the levels being decreased in COPD patients. In addition, the results also demonstrated the presence of Grx1 in extracellular fluids including sputum supernatants. Overall, the present study suggests that Grx1 is a potential redox modulatory protein regulating the intracellular as well as extracellular homeostasis of glutathionylated proteins and GSH in human lung.
Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor in the development of age-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The serotonin transporter (SERT) gene polymorphism has been reported to be associated with COPD, and the degree of cigarette smoking has been shown to be a significant mediator in this relationship. The interrelation between circulating serotonin (5-hydroxytyptamine, 5-HT), cigarette smoking and COPD is however largely unknown. The current study aimed at investigating the mediation effects of plasma 5-HT on cigarette smoking-induced COPD and the relation between plasma 5-HT levels and age.
The association between plasma 5-HT, age and COPD was analyzed in a total of 62 COPD patients (ever-smokers) and 117 control subjects (healthy non-smokers and ever-smokers). Plasma 5-HT levels were measured by enzyme-linked immuno assay (EIA).
The elevated plasma 5-HT levels were significantly associated with increased odds for COPD (OR = 1.221, 95% CI = 1.123 to 1.319, p<0.0001). The effect remained significant after being adjusted for age and pack-years smoked (OR = 1.271, 95% CI = 1.134 to 1.408, p = 0.0003). Furthermore, plasma 5-HT was found to mediate the relation between pack-years smoked and COPD. A positive correlation (r = 0.303, p = 0.017) was found between plasma 5-HT levels and age in COPD, but not in the control subjects (r = −0.149, p = 0.108).
Our results suggest that cigarette smoke-induced COPD is partially mediated by the plasma levels of 5-HT, and that these become elevated with increased age in COPD. The elevated plasma 5-HT levels in COPD might contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease.
CD8+ T-lymphocytes, natural killer T-like cells (NKT-like cells, CD56+CD3+) and natural killer cells (NK cells, CD56+CD3−) are the three main classes of human killer cells and they are implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Activation of these cells can initiate immune responses by virtue of their production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that cause lung tissue damage, mucus hypersecretion and emphysema. The objective of the current study was to investigate the activation levels of human killer cells in healthy non-smokers, healthy smokers, ex-smokers with COPD and current smokers with COPD, in both peripheral blood and induced sputum.
After informed consent, 124 participants were recruited into the study and peripheral blood or induced sputum was taken. The activation states and receptor expression of killer cells were measured by flow cytometry. In peripheral blood, current smokers, regardless of disease state, have the highest proportion of activated CD8+ T-lymphocytes, NKT-like cells and NK cells compared with ex-smokers with COPD and healthy non-smokers. Furthermore, CD8+ T-lymphocyte and NK cell activation is positively correlated with the number of cigarettes currently smoked. Conversely, in induced sputum, the proportion of activated killer cells was related to disease state rather than current smoking status, with current and ex-smokers with COPD having significantly higher rates of activation than healthy smokers and healthy non-smokers.
A differential effect in systemic and lung activation of killer cells in COPD is evident. Systemic activation appears to be related to current smoking whereas lung activation is related to the presence or absence of COPD, irrespective of current smoking status. These findings suggest that modulating killer cell activation may be a new target for the treatment of COPD.