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1.  Patterns of airway inflammation and MMP-12 expression in smokers and ex-smokers with COPD 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):81.
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.
PMCID: PMC2200652  PMID: 18001475
2.  Matrix metalloproteinases -8, -9 and -12 in smokers and patients with Stage 0 COPD 
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.
PMCID: PMC2695187  PMID: 18229576
cigarette smoking; GOLD; COPD; MMP; myeloperoxidase; oxidant; Stage 0
3.  Analysis of Sputum Markers in the Evaluation of Lung Inflammation and Functional Impairment in Symptomatic Smokers and COPD Patients 
Disease markers  2011;31(2):91-100.
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.
PMCID: PMC3826390  PMID: 21897003
Airway inflammation; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; neutrophil elastase; human neutrophil peptides; interleukin-8; likelihood ratio; metalloproteinase-9; sputum; receiver operating characteristic analysis; smoking
4.  Association between markers of emphysema and more severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2006;61(12):1037-1042.
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.
PMCID: PMC2117071  PMID: 16769715
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; biological markers; outcomes
5.  Active synovial matrix metalloproteinase-2 is associated with radiographic erosions in patients with early synovitis 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):145-153.
Serum and synovial tissue expression of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 and their molecular regulators, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 was examined in 28 patients with inflammatory early synovitis and 4 healthy volunteers and correlated with the presence of erosions in the patients. Immunohistological staining of MMP-2, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 localized to corresponding areas in the synovial lining layer and was almost absent in normal synovium. Patients with radiographic erosions had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than patients with no erosions, suggesting that activated MMP-2 levels in synovial tissue may be a marker for a more aggressive synovial lesion.
In cancer the gelatinases [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9] have been shown to be associated with tissue invasion and metastatic disease. In patients with inflammatory arthritis the gelatinases are expressed in the synovial membrane, and have been implicated in synovial tissue invasion into adjacent cartilage and bone. It is hypothesized that an imbalance between the activators and inhibitors of the gelatinases results in higher levels of activity, enhanced local proteolysis, and bone erosion.
To determine whether the expression and activity levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their regulators MMP-14 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP), are associated with early erosion formation in patients with synovitis of recent onset.
Patients and method:
A subset of 66 patients was selected from a larger early synovitis cohort on the basis of tissue availability for the study of synovial tissue and serum gelatinase expression. Patients with peripheral joint synovitis of less than 1 years' duration were evaluated clinically and serologically on four visits over a period of 12 months. At the initial visit, patients underwent a synovial tissue biopsy of one swollen joint, and patients had radiographic evaluation of hands and feet initially and at 1year. Serum MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14, and TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 levels were determined, and synovial tissue was examined by immunohistology for the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their molecular regulators. Gelatinolytic activity for MMP-2 and MMP-9 was quantified using a sensitive, tissue-based gel zymography technique. Four healthy individuals underwent closed synovial biopsy and their synovial tissues were similarly analyzed.
Of the 66 patients studied, 45 fulfilled American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with 32 (71%) being rheumatoid factor positive. Of the 21 non-RA patients, seven had a spondylarthropathy and 14 had undifferentiated arthritis. Radiographically, 12 of the RA patients had erosions at multiple sites by 1 year, whereas none of the non-RA patients had developed erosive disease of this extent. In the tissue, latent MMP-2 was widely expressed in the synovial lining layer and in areas of stromal proliferation in the sublining layer and stroma, whereas MMP-9 was expressed more sparsely and focally. MMP-14, TIMP-2, and MMP-2 were all detected in similar areas of the lining layer on consecutive histologic sections. Tissue expression of MMP-14, the activator for pro-MMP-2, was significantly higher in RA than in non-RA patients (8.4 ± 5 versus 3.7 ± 4 cells/high-power field; P = 0.009). In contrast, the expression of TIMP-2, an inhibitor of MMP-2, was lower in the RA than in the non-RA samples (25 ± 12 versus 39 ± 9 cells/high-power field; P = 0.01). Synovial tissue expressions of MMP-2, MMP-14, and TIMP-2 were virtually undetectable in normal synovial tissue samples. The synovial tissue samples of patients with erosive disease had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than did those of patients without erosions (Fig. 1). Tissue expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, however, did not correlate with the serum levels of these enzymes.
With the exception of serum MMP-2, which was not elevated over normal, serum levels of all of the other MMPs and TIMPs were elevated to varying degrees, and were not predictive of erosive disease. Interestingly, MMP-1 and C-reactive protein, both of which were associated with the presence of erosions, were positively correlated with each other (r = 0.42; P < 0.001).
MMP-2 and MMP-9 are thought to play an important role in the evolution of joint erosions in patients with an inflammatory arthritis. Most studies have concentrated on the contribution of MMP-9 to the synovitis, because synovial fluid and serum MMP-9 levels are markedly increased in inflammatory arthropathies. Previously reported serum levels of MMP-9 have varied widely. In the present sample of patients with synovitis of recent onset, serum MMP-9 levels were elevated in only 21%. Moreover, these elevations were not specific for RA, the tissue expression of MMP-9 was focal, and the levels of MMP-9 activity were not well correlated with early erosions. Although serum MMP-2 levels were not of prognostic value, high synovial tissue levels of MMP-2 activity were significantly correlated with the presence of early erosions. This may reflect augmented activation of MMP-2 by the relatively high levels of MMP-14 and low levels of TIMP-2 seen in these tissues. We were able to localize the components of this trimolecular complex to the synovial lining layer in consecutive tissue sections, a finding that is consistent with their colocalization.
In conclusion, we have provided evidence that active MMP-2 complexes are detectable in the inflamed RA synovium and may be involved in the development of early bony erosions. These results suggest that strategies to inhibit the activation of MMP-2 may have the potential for retarding or preventing early erosions in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC17808  PMID: 11062605
early synovitis; erosion; metalloproteinase; matrix metalloproteinase-2; rheumatoid arthritis
6.  Vascular endothelial growth factor: an angiogenic factor reflecting airway inflammation in healthy smokers and in patients with bronchitis type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):53.
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.
PMCID: PMC1939848  PMID: 17631682
7.  Increased human Ca2+-activated Cl- channel 1 expression and mucus overproduction in airway epithelia of smokers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):55.
The mechanisms underlying the association between smoking and mucus overproduction remain unknown. Because of its involvement in other airway diseases, such as asthma, we hypothesized that Ca2+-activated Cl- channel 1 (CLCA1) was associated with overproduction of mucus in the airways of smokers and COPD patients.
Using real-time quantitative PCR analyses, we compared the CLCA1 mRNA expression levels in induced-sputum cells from COPD patients (n = 20), smokers without COPD (n = 5), and non-smokers (n =13). We also examined the relationship between CLCA1 protein expression and mucus production in lung airway epithelia of COPD patients (n = 6), smokers without COPD (n = 7), and non-smokers (n = 7).
CLCA1 mRNA expression was significantly up-regulated in the induced-sputum cells of COPD patients compared with cells of non-smokers (p = 0.02), but there was no significant difference compared with cells of smokers without COPD. Using immunostaining with an anti-CLCA1 antibody, semi-quantitative image analyses of airway epithelium demonstrated significantly increased CLCA1 expression in smokers without COPD (p = 0.02) and in COPD patients (p = 0.002) compared with non-smokers. There were significant negative correlations between CLCA1 protein expression and FEV1/FVC (r = −0.57, p = 0.01) and %predicted FEV1 (r = −0.56, p = 0.01). PAS staining for mucus showed that there was a significant positive correlation between CLCA1 protein expression and mucus production (r = 0.67, p = 0.001). These markers were significantly increased in smokers without COPD (p = 0.04) and in COPD patients (p = 0.003) compared with non-smokers (non-smokers < smokers ≤ COPD).
CLCA1 expression is significantly related to mucus production in the airway epithelia of smokers and COPD patients, and may contribute to the development and pathogenesis of COPD by inducing mucus production.
PMCID: PMC3489697  PMID: 22731784
Ca2+-activated Cl- channel 1 (CLCA1); Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Smoking; Mucus production; Airway epithelia
8.  Increased oxidative stress in asymptomatic current chronic smokers and GOLD stage 0 COPD 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):69.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with increased oxidative and nitrosative stress. The aim of our study was to assess the importance of these factors in the airways of healthy smokers and symptomatic smokers without airway obstruction, i.e. individuals with GOLD stage 0 COPD.
Exhaled NO (FENO) and induced sputum samples were collected from 22 current smokers (13 healthy smokers without any respiratory symptoms and 9 with symptoms i.e. stage 0 COPD) and 22 healthy age-matched non-smokers (11 never smokers and 11 ex-smokers). Sputum cell differential counts, and expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), myeloperoxidase (MPO), nitrotyrosine and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) were analysed from cytospins by immunocytochemistry. Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and lactoferrin were measured from sputum supernatants by ELISA.
FENO was significantly decreased in smokers, mean (SD) 11.0 (6.7) ppb, compared to non-smokers, 22.9 (10.0), p < 0.0001. Induced sputum showed increased levels of neutrophils (p = 0.01) and elevated numbers of iNOS (p = 0.004), MPO (p = 0.003), nitrotyrosine (p = 0.003), and 4-HNE (p = 0.03) positive cells in smokers when compared to non-smokers. Sputum lactoferrin levels were also higher in smokers than in non-smokers (p = 0.02). Furthermore, we noted four negative correlations between FENO and 1) total neutrophils (r = -0.367, p = 0.02), 2) positive cells for iNOS (r = -0.503, p = 0.005), 3) MPO (r = -0.547, p = 0.008), and 4) nitrotyrosine (r = -0.424, p = 0.03). However, no major differences were found between never smokers and ex-smokers or between healthy smokers and stage 0 COPD patients.
Our results clearly indicate that several markers of oxidative/nitrosative stress are increased in current cigarette smokers compared to non-smokers and no major differences can be observed in these biomarkers between non-symptomatic smokers and subjects with GOLD stage 0 COPD.
PMCID: PMC1524947  PMID: 16646959
9.  Markers of nitric oxide metabolism in sputum and exhaled air are not increased in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  1999;54(7):576-580.
BACKGROUND—Nitric 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.
METHODS—Sixteen 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.
RESULTS—No differences 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.
CONCLUSIONS—Our 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.

PMCID: PMC1745531  PMID: 10377200
10.  Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website:
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website:
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Tobacco smoking is the main risk factor for COPD. It is estimated that 50% of older smokers develop COPD and more than 80% of COPD-associated morbidity is attributed to tobacco smoking. According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, 38.5% of Ontarians who smoke have COPD. In patients with a significant history of smoking, COPD is usually present with symptoms of progressive dyspnea (shortness of breath), cough, and sputum production. Patients with COPD who smoke have a particularly high level of nicotine dependence, and about 30.4% to 43% of patients with moderate to severe COPD continue to smoke. Despite the severe symptoms that COPD patients suffer, the majority of patients with COPD are unable to quit smoking on their own; each year only about 1% of smokers succeed in quitting on their own initiative.
Smoking cessation is the process of discontinuing the practice of inhaling a smoked substance. Smoking cessation can help to slow or halt the progression of COPD. Smoking cessation programs mainly target tobacco smoking, but may also encompass other substances that can be difficult to stop smoking due to the development of strong physical addictions or psychological dependencies resulting from their habitual use.
Smoking cessation strategies include both pharmacological and nonpharmacological (behavioural or psychosocial) approaches. The basic components of smoking cessation interventions include simple advice, written self-help materials, individual and group behavioural support, telephone quit lines, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and antidepressants. As nicotine addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that usually requires several attempts to overcome, cessation support is often tailored to individual needs, while recognizing that in general, the more intensive the support, the greater the chance of success. Success at quitting smoking decreases in relation to:
a lack of motivation to quit,
a history of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 10 years,
a lack of social support, such as from family and friends, and
the presence of mental health disorders (such as depression).
Research Question
What are the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions compared with usual care for patients with COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on June 24, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations (1950 to June Week 3 2010), EMBASE (1980 to 2010 Week 24), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination for studies published between 1950 and June 2010. A single reviewer reviewed the abstracts and obtained full-text articles for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Data were extracted using a standardized data abstraction form.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language, full reports from 1950 to week 3 of June, 2010;
either randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, or non-RCTs with controls;
a proven diagnosis of COPD;
adult patients (≥ 18 years);
a smoking cessation intervention that comprised at least one of the treatment arms;
≥ 6 months’ abstinence as an outcome; and
patients followed for ≥ 6 months.
Exclusion Criteria
case reports
case series
Outcomes of Interest
≥ 6 months’ abstinence
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Nine RCTs were identified from the literature search. The sample sizes ranged from 74 to 5,887 participants. A total of 8,291 participants were included in the nine studies. The mean age of the patients in the studies ranged from 54 to 64 years. The majority of studies used the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD staging criteria to stage the disease in study subjects. Studies included patients with mild COPD (2 studies), mild-moderate COPD (3 studies), moderate–severe COPD (1 study) and severe–very severe COPD (1 study). One study included persons at risk of COPD in addition to those with mild, moderate, or severe COPD, and 1 study did not define the stages of COPD. The individual quality of the studies was high. Smoking cessation interventions varied across studies and included counselling or pharmacotherapy or a combination of both. Two studies were delivered in a hospital setting, whereas the remaining 7 studies were delivered in an outpatient setting. All studies reported a usual care group or a placebo-controlled group (for the drug-only trials). The follow-up periods ranged from 6 months to 5 years. Due to excessive clinical heterogeneity in the interventions, studies were first grouped into categories of similar interventions; statistical pooling was subsequently performed, where appropriate. When possible, pooled estimates using relative risks for abstinence rates with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. The remaining studies were reported separately.
Abstinence Rates
Table ES1 provides a summary of the pooled estimates for abstinence, at longest follow-up, from the trials included in this review. It also shows the respective GRADE qualities of evidence.
Summary of Results*
Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; NRT, nicotine replacement therapy.
Statistically significant (P < 0.05).
One trial used in this comparison had 2 treatment arms each examining a different antidepressant.
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, compared with usual care, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving intensive counselling or a combination of intensive counselling and NRT.
Based on limited and moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving NRT compared with placebo.
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving the antidepressant bupropion compared to placebo.
PMCID: PMC3384371  PMID: 23074432
11.  Glutathione and nitrite levels in induced sputum at COPD patients and healthy smokers 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(6):765-771.
The role of oxidative stress at the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is known. The aim of this study is to investigate the oxidative stress with sputum induction that is a simple method in COPD patients and healthy smokers.
Sputum induction was performed in 21 COPD patients (10 stable, 11 acute exacerbations), nine healthy smokers, and ten healthy non-smokers. Glutathione, NO2– levels, and cell counts at sputum, and plasma NO2– contents were evaluated in all subjects.
Mean sputum glutathione and NO2– levels were significantly higher in acute exacerbations with COPD patients than healthy smokers (P=0.007 and P<0.001 respectively), and non-smokers (P<0.001 and P<0.001 respectively). On the other hand, sputum glutathione and NO2– levels did not show significant differences between stable and acute exacerbations with COPD patients. Although, sputum glutathione levels were higher in stable COPD patients than healthy smokers’, no statistically significant difference was established. In addition, sputum glutathione levels were significantly higher in healthy smokers than non-smokers (P<0.001).
As a result, we can say that oxidative stress increases not only in COPD patients but also in healthy smokers. In addition, sputum induction that is a simple method can be used to demonstrate to show oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC4073373  PMID: 24977001
Glutathione; nitrite; induced sputum; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
12.  Increased leptin/leptin receptor pathway affects systemic and airway inflammation in COPD former smokers 
Leptin, a hormone produced mainly by adipose tissue, regulates food intake and energy expenditure. It is involved in inflammatory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to the infection. The leptin receptor is expressed in the lung and in the neutrophils.
We measured the levels of leptin, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and soluble form of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) in sputum and plasma from 27 smoker and former smoker patients with stable COPD using ELISA methods. Further we analyzed leptin and its receptor expression in sputum cells from 16 COPD patients using immunocytochemistry.
In plasma of COPD patients, leptin was inversely correlated with TNF-α and positively correlated with the patient weight, whereas the levels of sICAM-1 were positively correlated with TNF-α. In sputum of COPD patients leptin levels were correlated with forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vitality capacity. Additionally, increased levels of sputum leptin and TNF-α were observed in COPD former smokers rather than smokers. Further the expression of leptin receptor in sputum neutrophils was significantly higher in COPD former smokers than in smokers, and the expression of leptin and its receptor was positively correlated in neutrophils of COPD former smokers.
Our findings suggest a role of leptin in the local and systemic inflammation of COPD and, taking into account the involvement of neutrophils in this inflammatory disease, describe a novel aspect of the leptin/leptin receptor pathway in the regulation of host defense after smoking cessation.
PMCID: PMC3218742  PMID: 22096369
COPD; smokers; inflammation; leptin; neutrophils
13.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 -1562C/T Promoter Polymorphism Confers Risk for COPD: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60523.
The role of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) gene polymorphisms in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been reported with inconsistent results. This meta-analysis was performed to assess the association of MMP-1 -1607G/GG and MMP-9 -1562C/T promoter polymorphisms with COPD susceptibility.
Published case-control studies from Pubmed and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) databases were retrieved. Data were extracted and pooled odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.
A total of fourteen case-control studies were included in this meta-analysis. Pooled effect size showed an association of MMP-9 -1562 C/T with the risk of COPD (dominant model: TT+CT vs CC; OR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.02–2.08; p = 0.04). However, no correlation with COPD was revealed in MMP-1 -1607G/GG polymorphism. When stratified by ethnicity, results indicated MMP-1 -1607G/GG (recessive model: G/G vs G/GG+GG/GG; OR: 1.20; 95% CI: 1.01–1.44; p = 0.04) and MMP-9 -1562 C/T (dominant model; OR: 1.66; 95% CI: 1.01–2.71; p = 0.04) were correlated with COPD susceptibility among Caucasians and Asians respectively. According to source of controls, signifiant association of MMP-9 -1562 C/T (additive model: T vs C; OR:1.71, 95% CI: 1.42–2.07; p<0.00001, and dominant model; OR: 1.92; 95% CI: 1.34–2.76; p = 0.0004) with COPD susceptibility was revealed in the subgroup with smoker-based controls. However, in the aforementioned risk estimates, only the association of MMP-9 -1562 C/T (additive and dominant models) with the risk of COPD in the subgroup with smoker-based controls persisted significantly after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. Moreover, after excluding the studies without Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium and/or with small sample size, the pooled results were robust and no publication bias was found in this study.
This meta-analysis suggests, when using healthy smokers as controls, MMP-9 -1562 C/T, but not MMP-1 -1607 G/GG polymorphism is associated with the risk of COPD.
PMCID: PMC3610819  PMID: 23555986
14.  Compartment differences of inflammatory activity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):104.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with local and systemic inflammation. The knowledge of interaction and co-variation of the inflammatory responses in different compartments is meagre.
Healthy controls (n = 23), smokers with (n = 28) and without (n = 29) COPD performed spirometry and dental examinations. Saliva, induced sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and serum were collected. Inflammatory markers were assessed in all compartments using ELISA, flow cytometry and RT-PCR.
Negative correlations between lung function and saliva IL-8 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) were found in smokers with COPD. IL-8 and MMP-9 in saliva correlated positively with periodontal disease as assessed by gingival bleeding in non-smokers.
Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in saliva, serum and TNF-α mRNA expression on macrophages in BAL-fluid were lower in smokers than in non-smokers. There were positive correlations between soluble TNF-α receptor 1 (sTNFR1) and soluble TNF-α receptor 2 (sTNFR2) in sputum, BAL-fluid and serum in all groups. Sputum interleukin-8 (IL-8) or interleukin-6 (IL-6) was positively correlated with sTNFR1 or sTNFR2 in non-smokers and with sTNFR2 in COPD.
Saliva which is convenient to collect and analyse, may be suitable for biomarker assessment of disease activity in COPD. An attenuated TNF-α expression was demonstrated by both protein and mRNA analyses in different compartments suggesting that TNF-α response is altered in moderate and severe COPD. Shedding of TNFR1 or TNFR2 is similarly regulated irrespective of airflow limitation.
PMCID: PMC4243731  PMID: 25155252
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Tumor necrosis factor; Biomarkers; Saliva
15.  Acquired defects in CFTR-dependent β-adrenergic sweat secretion in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):25.
Smoking-induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with acquired systemic cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction. Recently, sweat evaporimetry has been shown to efficiently measure β-adrenergic sweat rate and specifically quantify CFTR function in the secretory coil of the sweat gland.
To evaluate the presence and severity of systemic CFTR dysfunction in smoking-related lung disease using sweat evaporimetry to determine CFTR-dependent sweat rate.
We recruited a cohort of patients consisting of healthy never smokers (N = 18), healthy smokers (12), COPD smokers (25), and COPD former smokers (12) and measured β-adrenergic sweat secretion rate with evaporative water loss, sweat chloride, and clinical data (spirometry and symptom questionnaires).
Measurements and main results
β-adrenergic sweat rate was reduced in COPD smokers (41.9 ± 3.4, P < 0.05, ± SEM) and COPD former smokers (39.0 ± 5.4, P < 0.05) compared to healthy controls (53.6 ± 3.4). Similarly, sweat chloride was significantly greater in COPD smokers (32.8 ± 3.3, P < 0.01) and COPD former smokers (37.8 ± 6.0, P < 0.01) vs. healthy controls (19.1 ± 2.5). Univariate analysis revealed a significant association between β-adrenergic sweat rate and female gender (β = 0.26), age (−0.28), FEV1% (0.35), dyspnea (−0.3), and history of smoking (−0.27; each P < 0.05). Stepwise multivariate regression included gender (0.39) and COPD (−0.43) in the final model (R2 = 0.266, P < 0.0001).
β-adrenergic sweat rate was significantly reduced in COPD patients, regardless of smoking status, reflecting acquired CFTR dysfunction and abnormal gland secretion in the skin that can persist despite smoking cessation. β-adrenergic sweat rate and sweat chloride are associated with COPD severity and clinical symptoms, supporting the hypothesis that CFTR decrements have a causative role in COPD pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4015030  PMID: 24568560
16.  The role of small heat-shock protein αB-crystalline (HspB5) in COPD pathogenesis 
αB-crystallin (HspB5) is a chaperone whose role as a marker of innate immunity activation as well as its therapeutic potential have recently been investigated in several inflammatory diseases: multiple sclerosis, myocardial ischemia, and Guillain–Barré syndrome.
The aim of this study is to determine the role of αB-crystallin in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis and inflammation.
Plasma levels of αB-crystallin were studied in 163 patients: 52 healthy non-COPD smokers; 20 COPD smokers in Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stages I–II; 43 COPD smokers in GOLD stages III-IV. Forty-eight patients were diagnosed with acute inflammatory respiratory disease. The plasma levels of αB-crystallin antibodies were determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Calbiochem), and were confirmed with Western blotting. Tissue expression of the protein was compared in three different groups of patients: COPD smokers, COPD nonsmokers, and in patients with age-related emphysema.
The mean level of anti-αB-crystallin antibodies in non-COPD smokers was 0.291nm. In COPD smokers it was 0.352 nm and, in patients with inflammatory lung diseases, 0.433 nm. There was a statistically significant difference between COPD smokers and healthy non-COPD smokers (P = 0.010). The same could be observed comparing the group of patients with acute inflammation and non-COPD healthy smokers (P = 0.007). There was no statistically significant difference between patients with mild/moderate inflammation and those with severe COPD. Tissue detection of the protein showed that it was significantly overexpressed in COPD smokers in comparison to COPD nonsmokers and was only slightly expressed in patients with age-related emphysema.
αB-crystallin is increased in patients with inflammatory lung diseases. Though unspecific, it could be used in a panel of markers discerning COPD smokers from healthy nonsmokers. As αB-crystallin is a regulator of innate immunity and a therapeutic anti-inflammatory agent, its exact role in COPD pathogenesis and therapy should be explored further.
PMCID: PMC3468058  PMID: 23055712
COPD; HspB5; chaperonopathology; pathogenesis
17.  Innate Immune Responses Are Increased in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18426.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by irreversible airflow obstruction, neutrophilic airway inflammation and chronic bacterial colonisation, however the role of the innate immune response in the pathogenesis of COPD remains unclear.
Induced sputum was obtained from adults with COPD (n = 22), and healthy controls (n = 29) and was processed for differential cell counts. The sputum supernatant was assayed for innate immune mediators using ELISA, whilst sputum gene expression was measured using real-time PCR. Peripheral blood neutrophils were isolated and their response to lipopolysaccaride (LPS) stimulation was assessed in a subgroup of participants with COPD (n = 13) and healthy controls (n = 21).
Participants with COPD had significantly higher protein levels of interleukin (IL)-8, and neutrophil elastase (NE) and detection of oncostatin M (OSM) compared to healthy controls. Gene expression for toll-like receptor (TLR) 2, IL-8 and OSM were also significantly higher in COPD participants. The level of IL-1β, surfactant protein (SP)-A, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and TLR4 mRNA was not significantly different between groups. The level of innate immune response markers were highly associated with the presence of sputum neutrophils, each other and the degree of airflow limitation (FEV1/FVC). Peripheral blood neutrophils from participants with COPD had an increased response to stimulation by LPS; with a greater fold increase in the production of IL-8 and MMP-9 protein, and gene expression of IL-8, TLR2 and TLR4.
The innate immune response is increased in the airways and circulating neutrophils in COPD, and may be an important mechanism involved in disease pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3069087  PMID: 21483784
18.  Local and systemic oxidative stress and glucocorticoid receptor levels in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients 
Previous studies have indicated that oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To study local and systemic oxidative stress status in COPD patients, and to clarify the relationship between local and systemic oxidative stress.
Lipid peroxide malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and GSH peroxidase (GSH-PX) levels in induced sputum and plasma, as well as glucocorticoid receptor (GR) levels in peripheral blood leukocytes were examined in 43 acute exacerbation of COPD patients (group A), 35 patients with stable COPD (group B) and 28 healthy controls (14 smokers [group C]; 14 nonsmokers [group D]).
MDA levels in induced sputum and plasma decreased progressively in groups A to D, with significant differences between any two groups (P<0.001). GSH, SOD and GSH-PX levels in both induced sputum and plasma increased progressively in groups A to D, with significant differences between any two groups (P<0.001). GR levels in peripheral blood leukocytes decreased progressively in groups D to A (all comparisons P<0.001). Pearson analysis revealed strong correlations between MDA, GSH, SOD and GSH-PX levels in plasma and induced sputum. The activity of SOD in plasma and sputum were both positively correlated with GR levels (partial correlation coefficients 0.522 and 0.574, respectively [P<0.001]).
Oxidative stress levels were elevated in COPD patients. There was a correlation between local and systemic oxidative status in COPD, and between decreased SOD activity and decreased GR levels in COPD patients.
PMCID: PMC3628645  PMID: 23457673
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Oxidants; Plasma; Sputum
19.  Sputum PGP is reduced by azithromycin treatment in patients with COPD and correlates with exacerbations 
BMJ Open  2013;3(12):e004140.
Proline–glycine–proline (PGP), a neutrophil chemoattractant derived from the enzymatic breakdown of collagen, is elevated in sputum of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may contribute to disease progression. Whether sputum levels of PGP respond to therapy for COPD or predict outcomes is unknown.
We conducted a study ancillary to a multicenter trial of the efficacy of azithromycin treatment for 1 year in preventing COPD exacerbations to test whether sputum levels of PGP were altered by treatment or associated with exacerbation frequency.
We collected remnant sputa from trial participants and assayed them in a blinded fashion for PGP, myeloperoxidase and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and for the ability to generate PGP from collagen ex vivo. Once the parent trial was unblinded, the results were correlated with use of azithromycin or placebo and exacerbations in participants.
Azithromycin treatment significantly reduced sputum levels of PGP and myeloperoxidase in patients with COPD, particularly with increased duration of therapy. We found no difference in sputum MMP-9 or PGP generation between participants taking azithromycin or placebo. Sputum PGP levels were highest around the time of an exacerbation and declined with successful treatment.
These data support a role for PGP in the airway and parenchymal neutrophilic inflammation that drives COPD progression and exacerbations, and provide new information on the anti-inflammatory properties of macrolides. PGP may have potential as a target for novel anti-inflammatory therapies in COPD and as a biomarker for clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3884851  PMID: 24366582
20.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-14 Mediates a Phenotypic Shift in the Airways to Increase Mucin Production 
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.
PMCID: PMC2773913  PMID: 19661247
cigarette smoke; acrolein; erlotinib; mucous cell metaplasia; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
21.  Optimization of total protein and activity assays for the detection of MMP-12 in induced human sputum 
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.
PMCID: PMC2921351  PMID: 20678199
22.  Influence of Age, Past Smoking, and Disease Severity on TLR2, Neutrophilic Inflammation, and MMP-9 Levels in COPD 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:462934.
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.
PMCID: PMC3628212  PMID: 23606791
23.  Induction and regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-12in human airway smooth muscle cells 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):148.
The elastolytic enzyme matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-12 has been implicated in the development of airway inflammation and remodeling. We investigated whether human airway smooth muscle cells could express and secrete MMP-12, thereby participating in the pathogenesis of airway inflammatory diseases.
Laser capture microdissection was used to collect smooth muscle cells from human bronchial biopsy sections. MMP-12 mRNA expression was analysed by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. MMP-12 protein expression and secretion from cultured primary airway smooth muscle cells was further analysed by Western blot. MMP-12 protein localization in bronchial tissue sections was detected by immunohistochemistry. MMP-12 activity was determined by zymography. The TransAM AP-1 family kit was used to measure c-Jun activation and nuclear binding. Analysis of variance was used to determine statistical significance.
We provide evidence that MMP-12 mRNA and protein are expressed by in-situ human airway smooth muscle cells obtained from bronchial biopsies of normal volunteers, and of patients with asthma, COPD and chronic cough. The pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin (IL)-1β, induced a >100-fold increase in MMP-12 gene expression and a >10-fold enhancement in MMP-12 activity of primary airway smooth muscle cell cultures. Selective inhibitors of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, c-Jun N-terminal kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase reduced the activity of IL-1β on MMP-12, indicating a role for these kinases in IL-1β-induced induction and release of MMP-12. IL-1β-induced MMP-12 activity and gene expression was down-regulated by the corticosteroid dexamethasone but up-regulated by the inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α through enhancing activator protein-1 activation by IL-1β. Transforming growth factor-β had no significant effect on MMP-12 induction.
Our findings indicate that human airway smooth muscle cells express and secrete MMP-12 that is up-regulated by IL-1β and TNF-α. Bronchial smooth muscle cells may be an important source of elastolytic activity, thereby participating in remodeling in airway diseases such as COPD and chronic asthma.
PMCID: PMC1363355  PMID: 16359550
24.  N-α-PGP and PGP, potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for COPD 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):38.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common respiratory disorder for which new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches are required. Hallmarks of COPD are matrix destruction and neutrophilic airway inflammation in the lung. We have previously described two tri-peptides, N-α-PGP and PGP, which are collagen fragments and neutrophil chemoattractants. In this study, we investigate if N-α-PGP and PGP are biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for COPD.
Induced sputum samples from COPD patients, healthy controls and asthmatics were examined for levels of N-α-PGP and PGP using mass spectrometry and for the ability to generate PGP de novo from collagen. Proteases important in PGP generation in the lung were identified by the use of specific inhibitors in the PGP generation assay and by instillation of proteases into mouse lungs. Serum levels of PGP were compared between COPD patients and controls.
N-α-PGP was detected in most COPD sputum samples but in no asthmatics or controls. PGP was detected in a few controls and in all COPD sputum samples, where it correlated with levels of myeloperoxidase. COPD sputum samples had the ability to generate N-α-PGP and PGP de novo from collagen. PGP generation by COPD sputum was blocked by inhibitors of matrix metalloproteases (MMP's) 1 and 9 and prolyl endopeptidase. MMP's 1 and 9 and prolyl endopeptidase acted synergistically to generate PGP in vivo when instilled into mouse lungs. Serum levels of PGP were also significantly higher in COPD patients than in controls
N-α-PGP and PGP may represent novel diagnostic tests and biomarkers for COPD. Inhibition of this pathway may provide novel therapies for COPD directed at the chronic, neutrophilic, airway inflammation which underlies disease progression.
PMCID: PMC2693492  PMID: 19450278
25.  MMP12, Lung Function, and COPD in High-Risk Populations 
The New England journal of medicine  2009;361(27):2599-2608.
Genetic variants influencing lung function in children and adults may ultimately lead to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), particularly in high-risk groups.
We tested for an association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene encoding matrix metalloproteinase 12 (MMP12) and a measure of lung function (prebronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1]) in more than 8300 subjects in seven cohorts that included children and adults. Within the Normative Aging Study (NAS), a cohort of initially healthy adult men, we tested for an association between SNPs that were associated with FEV1 and the time to the onset of COPD. We then examined the relationship between MMP12 SNPs and COPD in two cohorts of adults with COPD or at risk for COPD.
The minor allele (G) of a functional variant in the promoter region of MMP12 (rs2276109 [−82A→G]) was positively associated with FEV1 in a combined analysis of children with asthma and adult former and current smokers in all cohorts (P=2×10−6). This allele was also associated with a reduced risk of the onset of COPD in the NAS cohort (hazard ratio, 0.65; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.46 to 0.92; P = 0.02) and with a reduced risk of COPD in a cohort of smokers (odds ratio, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.45 to 0.88; P = 0.005) and among participants in a family-based study of early-onset COPD (P = 0.006).
The minor allele of a SNP in MMP12 (rs2276109) is associated with a positive effect on lung function in children with asthma and in adults who smoke. This allele is also associated with a reduced risk of COPD in adult smokers.
PMCID: PMC2904064  PMID: 20018959

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