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1.  Association of plasma sRAGE, but not esRAGE with lung function impairment in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):24.
Rationale
Plasma soluble Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Product (sRAGE) is considered as a biomarker in COPD. The contribution of endogenous sRAGE (esRAGE) to the pool of plasma sRAGE and the implication of both markers in COPD pathogenesis is however not clear yet. The aim of the current study was therefore to measure plasma levels of esRAGE comparative to total sRAGE in patients with COPD and a control group. Further, we established the relations of esRAGE and total sRAGE with disease specific characteristics such as lung function and DLCO, and with different circulating AGEs.
Methods
Plasma levels of esRAGE and sRAGE were measured in an 88 patients with COPD and in 55 healthy controls. FEV1 (%predicted) and FEV1/VC (%) were measured in both groups; DLCO (%predicted) was measured in patients only. In this study population we previously reported that the AGE Nϵ-(carboxymethyl) lysine (CML) was decreased, Nϵ-(carboxyethyl) lysine (CEL) increased and pentosidine was not different in plasma of COPD patients compared to controls.
Results
Plasma esRAGE (COPD: 533.9 ± 412.4, Controls: 848.7 ± 690.3 pg/ml; p = 0.000) was decreased in COPD compared to controls. No significant correlations were observed between plasma esRAGE levels and lung function parameters or plasma AGEs. A positive correlation was present between esRAGE and total sRAGE levels in the circulation. Confirming previous findings, total sRAGE (COPD: 512.6 ± 403.8, Controls: 1834 ± 804.2 pg/ml; p < 0.001) was lower in patients compared to controls and was positively correlated FEV1 (r = 0.235, p = 0.032), FEV1/VC (r = 0.218, p = 0.047), and DLCO (r = 0.308, p = 0.006). sRAGE furthermore did show a significant positive association with CML (r = 0.321, p = 0.003).
Conclusion
Although plasma esRAGE is decreased in COPD patients compared to controls, only total sRAGE showed a significant and independent association with FEV1, FEV1/VC and DLCO, indicating that total sRAGE but not esRAGE may serve as marker of COPD disease state and severity.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-15-24
PMCID: PMC3944004  PMID: 24564838
sRAGE; esRAGE; FEV1; COPD
2.  Systemic Biomarkers of Neutrophilic Inflammation, Tissue Injury and Repair in COPD Patients with Differing Levels of Disease Severity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38629.
The identification and validation of biomarkers to support the assessment of novel therapeutics for COPD continues to be an important area of research. The aim of the current study was to identify systemic protein biomarkers correlated with measures of COPD severity, as well as specific protein signatures associated with comorbidities such as metabolic syndrome. 142 protein analytes were measured in serum of 140 patients with stable COPD, 15 smokers without COPD and 30 non-smoking controls. Seven analytes (sRAGE, EN-RAGE, NGAL, Fibrinogen, MPO, TGF-α and HB-EGF) showed significant differences between severe/very severe COPD, mild/moderate COPD, smoking and non-smoking control groups. Within the COPD subjects, univariate and multivariate analyses identified analytes significantly associated with FEV1, FEV1/FVC and DLCO. Most notably, a set of 5 analytes (HB-EGF, Fibrinogen, MCP-4, sRAGE and Sortilin) predicted 21% of the variability in DLCO values. To determine common functions/pathways, analytes were clustered in a correlation network by similarity of expression profile. While analytes related to neutrophil function (EN-RAGE, NGAL, MPO) grouped together to form a cluster associated with FEV1 related parameters, analytes related to the EGFR pathway (HB-EGF, TGF-α) formed another cluster associated with both DLCO and FEV1 related parameters. Associations of Fibrinogen with DLCO and MPO with FEV1/FVC were stronger in patients without metabolic syndrome (r  =  −0.52, p  = 0.005 and r  =  −0.61, p  = 0.023, respectively) compared to patients with coexisting metabolic syndrome (r  =  −0.25, p  = 0.47 and r  =  −0.15, p  = 0.96, respectively), and may be driving overall associations in the general cohort. In summary, our study has identified known and novel serum protein biomarkers and has demonstrated specific associations with COPD disease severity, FEV1, FEV1/FVC and DLCO. These data highlight systemic inflammatory pathways, neutrophil activation and epithelial tissue injury/repair processes as key pathways associated with COPD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038629
PMCID: PMC3373533  PMID: 22701684
3.  Comparison of clinical features between non-smokers with COPD and smokers with COPD: a retrospective observational study 
Background
Smoking is a major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); however, the similarities and differences in clinical presentation between smokers and nonsmokers are not fully described in patients with COPD. This study was designed to address this issue in a general teaching hospital in the People’s Republic of China.
Methods
The medical records of patients hospitalized with a lung mass for further evaluation at Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, from January 2006 to December 2010 were reviewed and the data of interest were collected. The definition of COPD was according to Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) spirometric criteria. Participants who had a previous exacerbation within 4 weeks of admission, airflow limitation due to abnormalities in the large airways, or with other pulmonary diseases were excluded. Included subjects were divided into nonsmokers with COPD and smokers with COPD by a cutoff of a 5 pack-year smoking history.
Results
A total of 605 subjects were included in the final analysis. The average age was 64.8±8.5 years and 62.0% (375/605) were smokers. Eighty percent of the patients had mild to moderate disease (GOLD grade 1–2). Age and years with COPD were comparable between the two groups. Compared with smokers with COPD, nonsmokers with COPD were more likely to be female, reported less chronic cough and sputum, have less emphysema on radiologic examination, and higher measures of forced expiratory volume in the first second percent predicted (FEV1), forced expiratory volume in one second/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC%) percent predicted, maximal voluntary ventilation percent predicted, diffusing capacity of lung (DLCO) percent predicted, and DLCO/alveolar volume percent predicted, with lower levels of residual volume percent predicted and residual volume/total lung capacity percent predicted. There were no significant differences between the two groups with regard to distribution of disease severity, vital capacity percent predicted, total lung capacity percent predicted, PaO2, PaCO2, modified Medical Research Council dyspnea score, wheezing, airway reversibility, and comorbidities. Smoking amount (pack-years) was correlated negatively with FEV1 percent predicted, FEV1/FVC% percent predicted, inspiratory capacity percent predicted, inspiratory capacity/total lung capacity percent predicted, and DLCO percent predicted, and correlated positively with GOLD grade and symptoms.
Conclusion
Non-smokers with COPD had less impairment in airflow limitation and gas exchange, and a lower prevalence of emphysema, chronic cough, and sputum compared with their smoking counterparts. Tobacco cessation is warranted in smokers with COPD.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S52416
PMCID: PMC3890400  PMID: 24426780
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; smokers; non-smokers; lung function; symptoms; emphysema
4.  Soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-products and progression of airway disease 
Background
The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) is highly expressed in the lung, where it is believed to have a homeostatic role. Reduced plasma levels of soluble RAGE (sRAGE) have been reported in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association of plasma sRAGE levels with a longitudinal decline of lung function. We have also measured plasma levels of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a RAGE ligand which has been associated with chronic inflammatory diseases including COPD.
Methods
Baseline plasma concentrations of sRAGE and HMGB1 were measured in non-smokers (n = 32), smokers without COPD (n = 212), and smokers with COPD (n = 51), and the associations of the plasma sRAGE and HMGB1 levels with longitudinal declines of lung function during a 4-year follow-up period were analysed.
Results
The plasma levels of sRAGE were significantly lower in smokers without COPD and in smokers with COPD, as compared to those of non-smokers. Plasma sRAGE levels positively correlated with FVC and FEV1 and inversely correlated with BMI and pack-years. Lower sRAGE levels were associated with greater declines of FEV1/FVC over 4 years in all participants. Moreover, multivariate regression analysis indicated that the baseline plasma sRAGE concentration was an independent predictor of FEV1/FVC decline in all groups. A subgroup analysis showed that decreased sRAGE levels are significantly associated with a more rapid decline of FEV1/FVC in smokers with COPD. There was no significant correlation between plasma HMGB1 levels and longitudinal decline of lung function.
Conclusions
Lower plasma concentrations of sRAGE were associated with greater progression of airflow limitations over time, especially in smokers with COPD, suggesting that RAGE might have a protective role in the lung.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-68
PMCID: PMC4021457  PMID: 24758342
5.  Budesonide/Formoterol Enhances the Expression of Pro Surfactant Protein-B in Lungs of COPD Patients 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83881.
Rationale & Aim
Pulmonary surfactants are essential components of lung homeostasis. In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), surfactant expression decreases in lungs whereas, there is a paradoxical increase in protein expression in plasma. The latter has been associated with poor health outcomes in COPD. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of surfactants and other pneumoproteins in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and plasma to airflow limitation and the effects of budesonide/formoterol on this relationship.
Methods
We recruited (clinical trials.gov identifier: NCT00569712) 7 smokers without COPD and 30 ex and current smokers with COPD who were free of exacerbations for at least 4 weeks. All subjects were treated with budesonide/formoterol 400/12 µg twice a day for 4 weeks. BAL fluid and plasma samples were obtained at baseline and the end of the 4 weeks. We measured lung-predominant pneumoproteins: pro-Surfactant Protein-B (pro-SFTPB), Surfactant Protein-D (SP-D), Club Cell Secretory Protein-16 (CCSP-16) and Pulmonary and Activation-Regulated Chemokine (PARC/CCL-18) in BAL fluid and plasma.
Results
BAL Pro-SFTPB concentrations had the strongest relationship with airflow limitation as measured by FEV1/FVC (Spearman rho = 0.509; p = 0.001) and FEV1% of predicted (Spearman rho =  0.362; p = 0.028). Plasma CCSP-16 concentrations were also significantly related to airflow limitation (Spearman rho = 0.362; p = 0.028 for FEV1% of predicted). The other biomarkers in BAL fluid or plasma were not significantly associated with airflow limitation. In COPD subjects, budesonide/formoterol significantly increased the BAL concentrations of pro-SFTPB by a median of 62.46 ng/ml (p = 0.022) or 48.7% from baseline median value.
Conclusion
Increased severity of COPD is associated with reduced Pro-SFTPB levels in BAL fluid. Short-term treatment with budesonide/formoterol increases these levels in BAL fluid. Long term studies will be needed to determine the clinical relevance of this observation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083881
PMCID: PMC3873417  PMID: 24386300
6.  Expression of chemokines in the CSF and correlation with clinical disease activity in patients with multiple sclerosis 
Objective: To define the chemokine profile in the CSF of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and compare it with three control groups; patients with benign headache (headache), non-inflammatory neurological diseases (NIND), and other inflammatory neurological diseases (IND). In addition, the correlations of CSF chemokine concentrations with chemokine receptor expression on CSF CD4+ T cells and with clinical disease activity were assessed.
Methods: Forty three patients with MS, 24 with IND, 44 with NIND, and 12 with benign headache undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic lumbar puncture were included. Supernatant fluid from CSF was analysed for four ß (CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL5) and two α (CXCL9, CXCL10)chemokines by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Chemokine receptors CCR3, CCR5, and CXCR3 on CD4+ T cells from eight patients with MS were analysed using directly conjugated fluorescent labelled monoclonal antibodies and flow cytometry.
Results: CXCL10, formerly interferon-γ inducible protein-10 (IP-10), was significantly increased and CCL2, formerly monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), was significantly reduced in the CSF of patients with MS and IND compared with those with benign headache and NIND. Concentrations of CXCL10 were significantly greater in patients with relapsing-remitting compared with secondary progressive MS and correlated significantly with CXCR3 expression on CSF CD4+ T cells from patients with MS. Concentrations of CXCL10 decreased and CCL2 concentrations increased as time from the last relapse increased in patients with MS.
Conclusion: Increased CXCL10 and decreased CCL2 concentrations in the CSF are associated with relapses in MS. Although serial values from individual patients were not available, this study suggests that CXCL10 and CCL2 may return towards baseline concentrations after a relapse. Correlation of CXCL10 with CD4+ T cell expression of CXCR3 was consistent with its chemoattractant role for activated lymphocytes. Thus CXCL10 neutralising agents and CXCR3 receptor antagonists may be therapeutic targets in MS.
doi:10.1136/jnnp.72.4.498
PMCID: PMC1737819  PMID: 11909910
7.  Interferon Inducible Chemokines Correlate with Disease Severity in Systemic Sclerosis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(1):226-235.
Objective
To measure interferon (IFN) inducible chemokines in plasma of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and investigate their correlation with disease severity.
Methods
We examined the correlation of IFN-inducible chemokines, IFNγ-inducible protein-10 (IP-10/CXCL10), IFN-inducible T cell alpha chemoattractant (I-TAC/CXCL11), and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2) with the IFN gene expression signature. We generated an IFN-inducible chemokine score with the correlated chemokines, IP-10 and I-TAC and compared it in 266 SSc patients enrolled in the GENISOS cohort to that of 97 matched controls. Subsequently, the correlation between the baseline IFN-inducible chemokine score and markers of disease severity was assessed. Finally, the course of IFN-inducible chemokine score over time was examined.
Results
The plasma IFN-inducible chemokine score correlated with the IFN gene expression signature and this score was higher in SSc patients. It also was associated with the absence of anti–RNA polymerase III antibodies, presence of anti–U1 ribonucleoprotein antibodies (RNP), but not with disease duration, type, or other autoantibodies. The chemokine scores correlated with concomitantly obtained muscle, skin and lung components of the Medsger Severity Index, as well as, FVC, DLco, creatine kinase. Its association with disease severity was independent of anti-RNP or other potential confounders (age, gender, ethnicity, disease duration, and treatment with immunosuppressive agents). Finally, there was not a significant change in the IFN-inducible chemokine score over time.
Conclusions
The IFN-inducible chemokine score is a stable serological marker of more severe subtype of SSc and may be useful for risk stratification regardless of disease type or duration.
doi:10.1002/art.37742
PMCID: PMC3687352  PMID: 23055137
8.  Basal Gene Expression by Lung CD4+ T Cells in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Identifies Independent Molecular Correlates of Airflow Obstruction and Emphysema Extent 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96421.
Lung CD4+ T cells accumulate as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) progresses, but their role in pathogenesis remains controversial. To address this controversy, we studied lung tissue from 53 subjects undergoing clinically-indicated resections, lung volume reduction, or transplant. Viable single-cell suspensions were analyzed by flow cytometry or underwent CD4+ T cell isolation, followed either by stimulation with anti-CD3 and cytokine/chemokine measurement, or by real-time PCR analysis. In lung CD4+ T cells of most COPD subjects, relative to lung CD4+ T cells in smokers with normal spirometry: (a) stimulation induced minimal IFN-γ or other inflammatory mediators, but many subjects produced more CCL2; (b) the T effector memory subset was less uniformly predominant, without correlation with decreased IFN-γ production. Analysis of unstimulated lung CD4+ T cells of all subjects identified a molecular phenotype, mainly in COPD, characterized by markedly reduced mRNA transcripts for the transcription factors controlling TH1, TH2, TH17 and FOXP3+ T regulatory subsets and their signature cytokines. This mRNA-defined CD4+ T cell phenotype did not result from global inability to elaborate mRNA; increased transcripts for inhibitory CD28 family members or markers of anergy; or reduced telomerase length. As a group, these subjects had significantly worse spirometry, but not DLCO, relative to subjects whose lung CD4+ T cells expressed a variety of transcripts. Analysis of mRNA transcripts of unstimulated lung CD4+ T cell among all subjects identified two distinct molecular correlates of classical COPD clinical phenotypes: basal IL-10 transcripts correlated independently and inversely with emphysema extent (but not spirometry); by contrast, unstimulated IFN-γ transcripts correlated independently and inversely with reduced spirometry (but not reduced DLCO or emphysema extent). Aberrant lung CD4+ T cells polarization appears to be common in advanced COPD, but also exists in some smokers with normal spirometry, and may contribute to development and progression of specific COPD phenotypes.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT00281229
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096421
PMCID: PMC4013040  PMID: 24805101
9.  Contributors to diffusion impairment in HIV-infected persons 
The European respiratory journal  2013;43(1):195-203.
Abnormal diffusing capacity is common in HIV-infected individuals including never smokers. Etiologies for diffusing capacity impairment in HIV are not understood, particularly in those without a history of cigarette smoking.
A cross-sectional analysis of 158 HIV-infected individuals without acute respiratory symptoms or infection to determine associations between a DLCO % predicted and participant demographics, pulmonary spirometric measures (FEV1 and FEV1/FVC), radiographic emphysema (fraction of lung voxels <-950 Hounsfield units), pulmonary vascular/cardiovascular disease (echocardiographic tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity [TRV], N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide), and airway inflammation (induced sputum cell counts), stratified by history of smoking.
Mean DLCO was 65.9% predicted, and 55 (34.8%) participants had a significantly reduced DLCO (<60 % predicted). Lower DLCO % predicted in ever smokers was associated with lower post-bronchodilator FEV1 % predicted (p<0.001) and greater radiographic emphysema (p=0.001). In never smokers, mean (standard deviation) DLCO was 72.7% (13.4%) predicted, and DLCO correlated with post-bronchodilator FEV1 (p=0.02), sputum neutrophils (p=0.03), and sputum lymphocytes (p=0.009), but not radiographic emphysema.
Airway obstruction, emphysema, and inflammation influence DLCO in HIV. Never smokers may have a unique phenotype of diffusing capacity impairment. The interaction of multiple factors may account for the pervasive nature of diffusing capacity impairment in HIV infection.
doi:10.1183/09031936.00157712
PMCID: PMC4023348  PMID: 23429919
HIV; Pulmonary function; Diffusing capacity; AIDS
10.  Lower Corticosteroid Skin Blanching Response Is Associated with Severe COPD 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91788.
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic airflow limitation caused by ongoing inflammatory and remodeling processes of the airways and lung tissue. Inflammation can be targeted by corticosteroids. However, airway inflammation is generally less responsive to steroids in COPD than in asthma. The underlying mechanisms are yet unclear. This study aimed to assess whether skin corticosteroid insensitivity is associated with COPD and COPD severity using the corticosteroid skin blanching test.
Methods
COPD patients GOLD stage I–IV (n = 27, 24, 22, and 16 respectively) and healthy never-smokers and smokers (n = 28 and 56 respectively) were included. Corticosteroid sensitivity was assessed by the corticosteroid skin blanching test. Budesonide was applied in 8 logarithmically increasing concentrations (0–100 μg/ml) on subject's forearm. Assessment of blanching was performed after 7 hours using a 7-point scale (normal skin to intense blanching). All subjects performed spirometry and body plethysmography.
Results
Both GOLD III and GOLD IV COPD patients showed significantly lower skin blanching responses than healthy never-smokers and smokers, GOLD I, and GOLD II patients. Their area under the dose-response curve values of the skin blanching response were 586 and 243 vs. 1560, 1154, 1380, and 1309 respectively, p<0.05. Lower FEV1 levels and higher RV/TLC ratios were significantly associated with lower skin blanching responses (p = 0.001 and p = 0.004 respectively). GOLD stage I, II, III and IV patients had similar age and packyears.
Conclusions
In this study, severe and very severe COPD patients had lower skin corticosteroid sensitivity than mild and moderate COPD patients and non-COPD controls with comparable age and packyears. Our findings together suggest that the reduced skin blanching response fits with a subgroup of COPD patients that has an early-onset COPD phenotype.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091788
PMCID: PMC3951419  PMID: 24622644
11.  Lung Function and Incidence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease after Improved Cooking Fuels and Kitchen Ventilation: A 9-Year Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001621.
Pixin Ran, Nanshan Zhong, and colleagues report that cleaner cooking fuels and improved ventilation were associated with better lung function and reduced COPD among a cohort of villagers in Southern China.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Biomass smoke is associated with the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but few studies have elaborated approaches to reduce the risk of COPD from biomass burning. The purpose of this study was to determine whether improved cooking fuels and ventilation have effects on pulmonary function and the incidence of COPD.
Methods and Findings
A 9-y prospective cohort study was conducted among 996 eligible participants aged at least 40 y from November 1, 2002, through November 30, 2011, in 12 villages in southern China. Interventions were implemented starting in 2002 to improve kitchen ventilation (by providing support and instruction for improving biomass stoves or installing exhaust fans) and to promote the use of clean fuels (i.e., biogas) instead of biomass for cooking (by providing support and instruction for installing household biogas digesters); questionnaire interviews and spirometry tests were performed in 2005, 2008, and 2011. That the interventions improved air quality was confirmed via measurements of indoor air pollutants (i.e., SO2, CO, CO2, NO2, and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 µm or less) in a randomly selected subset of the participants' homes. Annual declines in lung function and COPD incidence were compared between those who took up one, both, or neither of the interventions.
Use of clean fuels and improved ventilation were associated with a reduced decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1): decline in FEV1 was reduced by 12 ml/y (95% CI, 4 to 20 ml/y) and 13 ml/y (95% CI, 4 to 23 ml/y) in those who used clean fuels and improved ventilation, respectively, compared to those who took up neither intervention, after adjustment for confounders. The combined improvements of use of clean fuels and improved ventilation had the greatest favorable effects on the decline in FEV1, with a slowing of 16 ml/y (95% CI, 9 to 23 ml/y). The longer the duration of improved fuel use and ventilation, the greater the benefits in slowing the decline of FEV1 (p<0.05). The reduction in the risk of COPD was unequivocal after the fuel and ventilation improvements, with an odds ratio of 0.28 (95% CI, 0.11 to 0.73) for both improvements.
Conclusions
Replacing biomass with biogas for cooking and improving kitchen ventilation are associated with a reduced decline in FEV1 and risk of COPD.
Trial Registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Register ChiCTR-OCH-12002398
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Nearly 3 billion people in developing countries heat their homes and cook by burning biomass—wood, crop waste, and animal dung—in open fires and leaky stoves. Burning biomass this way releases pollutants into the home that impair lung function and that are responsible for more than a million deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) every year. COPD is a group of diseases that interfere with breathing. Normally, air is breathed in through the nose or mouth and travels down the windpipe into two bronchial tubes (airways) in the lungs. These tubes branch into smaller tubes (bronchioles) that end in bunches of tiny air sacs (alveoli). Oxygen in the air passes through the thin walls of these sacs into small blood vessels and is taken to the heart for circulation round the body. The two main types of COPD—chronic bronchitis (long-term irritation and swelling of the bronchial tubes) and emphysema (damage to the walls of the alveoli)—make it hard for people to breathe. Most people with COPD have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, both of which are caused by long-term exposure to cigarette smoke, indoor air pollution, and other lung irritants. Symptoms of COPD include breathlessness during exercise and a persistent cough that produces large amounts of phlegm (mucus). There is no cure for COPD, but drugs and oxygen therapy can relieve its symptoms, and avoiding lung irritants can slow disease progression.
Why Was This Study Done?
Exposure to indoor air pollution has been associated with impaired lung function and COPD in several studies. However, few studies have assessed the long-term effects on lung function and on the incidence of COPD (the proportion of a population that develops COPD each year) of replacing biomass with biogas (a clean fuel produced by bacterial digestion of biodegradable materials) for cooking and heating, or of improving kitchen ventilation during cooking. Here, the researchers undertook a nine-year prospective cohort study in rural southern China to investigate whether these interventions are associated with any effects on lung function and on the incidence of COPD. A prospective cohort study enrolls a group of people, determines their characteristics at baseline, and follows them over time to see whether specific characteristic are associated with specific outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers offered nearly 1,000 people living in 12 villages in southern China access to biogas and to improved kitchen ventilation. All the participants, who adopted these interventions according to personal preferences, completed a questionnaire about their smoking habits and occupational exposure to pollutants and had their lung function measured using a spirometry test at the start and end of the study. Some participants also completed a questionnaire and had their lung function measured three and six years into the study. Finally, the researchers measured levels of indoor air pollution in a randomly selected subset of homes at the end of the study to confirm that the interventions had reduced indoor air pollution. Compared with non-use, the use of clean fuels and of improved ventilation were both associated with a reduction in the decline in lung function over time after adjusting for known characteristics that affect lung function, such as smoking. The use of both interventions reduced the decline in lung function more markedly than either intervention alone, and the benefits of using the interventions increased with length of use. Notably, the combined use of both interventions reduced the risk of COPD occurrence among the study participants.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, among people living in rural southern China, the combined interventions of use of biogas instead of biomass and improved kitchen ventilation were associated with a reduced decline in lung function over time and with a reduced risk of COPD. Because participants were not randomly allocated to intervention groups, the people who adopted the interventions may have shared other unknown characteristics (confounders) that affected their lung function (for example, having a healthier lifestyle). Thus, it is not possible to conclude that either intervention actually caused a reduction in the decline in lung function. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the use of biogas as a substitute for biomass for cooking and heating and improvements in kitchen ventilation might lead to a reduction in the global burden of COPD associated with biomass smoke.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001621.
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides detailed information for the public about COPD
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about COPD and links to other resources (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients and carers about COPD, personal stories, and links to other resources
The British Lung Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about COPD in several languages
The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease works to improve prevention and treatment of COPD around the world
The World Health Organization provides information about all aspects of indoor air pollution and health (in English, French, and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to other information about COPD (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001621
PMCID: PMC3965383  PMID: 24667834
12.  Cardiopulmonary function in individuals with HIV infection in the antiretroviral therapy era 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(6):731-740.
Objective
To determine relationship of echocardiographic measures of pulmonary hypertension to lung function and inflammatory biomarkers in HIV-infected individuals.
Design
Cross-sectional study of 116 HIV-infected outpatients.
Methods
Doppler-echocardiography and pulmonary function testing were performed. Induced sputum and plasma cytokines, sputum cell counts and differentials, markers of peripheral T cell activation, and serum N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) were measured. Univariate and multivariate analyses determined relationship of echocardiographic variables to pulmonary function, inflammation, and NT-proBNP.
Results
Mean estimated pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) was 34.3 mmHg (SD 6.9) and mean tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity (TRV) was 2.5 m/sec (SD 0.32). Eighteen participants (15.5%) had PASP of at least 40 mmHg, and 9 (7.8%) had TRV of at least 3.0 m/sec. Elevated TRV was significantly associated with CD4 cell counts below 200 cells/μl and higher log HIV RNA levels. Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) percent predicted, FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC), and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLco) percent predicted were significantly lower in those with elevated PASP or TRV. Sputum interleukin-8, peripheral interleukin-8, peripheral interferon-γ levels, and CD8+ T-cell expression of CD69+ were associated increased with increasing PASP and TRV. Log NT-proBNP was significantly higher with increasing PASP and TRV. Left ventricular function was not associated with PASP or TRV.
Conclusions
Echocardiographic manifestations of pulmonary hypertension are common in HIV and are associated with respiratory symptoms, more advanced HIV disease, airway obstruction, abnormal DLco, and systemic and pulmonary inflammation. Pulmonary hypertension and COPD coexist in HIV and may arise secondary to common inflammatory mechanisms.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835099ae
PMCID: PMC3606053  PMID: 22210636
HIV; pulmonary hypertension; emphysema; COPD; inflammation
13.  Blood fibrinogen as a biomarker of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2012;68(7):670-676.
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a multicomponent condition that is characterised by airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible and is a major global cause of morbidity and mortality. The most widely used marker of disease severity and progression is FEV1. However, FEV1 correlates poorly with both symptoms and other measures of disease progression and thus there is an urgent need for other biological markers to better characterise individuals with COPD. Fibrinogen is an acute phase plasma protein that has emerged as a promising biomarker in COPD. Here we review the current clinical evidence linking fibrinogen with COPD and its associated co-morbidities and discuss its potential utility as a biomarker.
Methods
Searches for appropriate studies were undertaken on PubMed using search terms fibrinogen, COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, FEV1, cardiovascular disease, exacerbation and mortality.
Results
There is strong evidence of an association between fibrinogen and the presence of COPD, the presence and frequency of exacerbations and with mortality. Fibrinogen is associated with disease severity but does not predict lung function decline, a measure used as a surrogate for disease activity. The role of fibrinogen in identifying inflammatory co morbidities, particularly cardiovascular disease, remains unclear. Fibrinogen is reduced by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors in individuals with stable disease and by oral corticosteroids during exacerbations.
Conclusions
Fibrinogen is likely to be a useful biomarker to stratify individuals with COPD into those with a high or low risk of future exacerbations and may identify those with a higher risk of mortality.
doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-201871
PMCID: PMC3711372  PMID: 22744884
Fibrinogen; inflammation; COPD; biomarker
14.  Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Using an Ontario Policy Model 
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: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
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: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
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: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic inflammation throughout the airways, parenchyma, and pulmonary vasculature. The inflammation causes repeated cycles of injury and repair in the airway wall— inflammatory cells release a variety of chemicals and lead to cellular damage. The inflammation process also contributes to the loss of elastic recoil pressure in the lung, thereby reducing the driving pressure for expiratory flow through narrowed and poorly supported airways, in which airflow resistance is significantly increased. Expiratory flow limitation is the pathophysiological hallmark of COPD.
Exacerbations of COPD contribute considerably to morbidity and mortality, and impose a burden on the health care system. They are a leading cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, particularly in the winter. In Canada, the reported average cost for treating a moderate exacerbation is $641; for a major exacerbation, the cost is $10,086.
Objective
The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of the following interventions in moderate to very severe COPD, investigated in the Medical Advisory Secretariat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis Series:
smoking cessation programs in moderate COPD in an outpatient setting:
– intensive counselling (IC) versus usual care (UC)
– nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) versus UC
– IC + NRT versus placebo
– bupropion versus placebo
multidisciplinary care (MDC) teams versus UC in moderate to severe COPD in an outpatient setting
pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) versus UC following acute exacerbations in moderate to severe COPD
long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) versus UC in severe hypoxemia in COPD in an outpatient setting
ventilation:
– noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) + usual medical care versus usual medical care in acute respiratory failure due to an acute exacerbation in severe COPD in an inpatient setting
– weaning with NPPV versus weaning with invasive mechanical ventilation in acute respiratory failure due to an acute exacerbation in very severe COPD in an inpatient setting
Methods
A cost-utility analysis was conducted using a Markov probabilistic model. The model consists of different health states based on the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease COPD severity classification. Patients were assigned different costs and utilities depending on their severity health state during each model cycle. In addition to moving between health states, patients were at risk of acute exacerbations of COPD in each model cycle. During each cycle, patients could have no acute exacerbation, a minor acute exacerbation, or a major exacerbation. For the purposes of the model, a major exacerbation was defined as one that required hospitalization. Patients were assigned different costs and utilities in each model cycle, depending on whether they experienced an exacerbation, and its severity.
Starting cohorts reflected the various patient populations from the trials analyzed. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs)—that is, costs per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY)—were estimated for each intervention using clinical parameters and summary estimates of relative risks of (re)hospitalization, as well as mortality and abstinence rates, from the COPD mega-analysis evidence-based analyses.
A budget impact analysis was also conducted to project incremental costs already being incurred or resources already in use in Ontario. Using provincial data, medical literature, and expert opinion, health system impacts were calculated for the strategies investigated.
All costs are reported in Canadian dollars.
Results
All smoking cessation programs were dominant (i.e., less expensive and more effective overall). Assuming a base case cost of $1,041 and $1,527 per patient for MDC and PR, the ICER was calculated to be $14,123 per QALY and $17,938 per QALY, respectively. When the costs of MDC and PR were varied in a 1-way sensitivity analysis to reflect variation in resource utilization reported in the literature, the ICER increased to $55,322 per QALY and $56,270 per QALY, respectively. Assuming a base case cost of $2,261 per year per patient for LTOT as reported by data from the Ontario provincial program, the ICER was calculated to be $38,993 per QALY. Ventilation strategies were dominant (i.e., cheaper and more effective), as reflected by the clinical evidence of significant in-hospital days avoided in the study group.
Ontario currently pays for IC through physician billing (translating to a current burden of $8 million) and bupropion through the Ontario Drug Benefit program (translating to a current burden of almost $2 million). The burden of NRT was projected to be $10 million, with future expenditures of up to $1 million in Years 1 to 3 for incident cases.
Ontario currently pays for some chronic disease management programs. Based on the most recent Family Health Team data, the costs of MDC programs to manage COPD were estimated at $85 million in fiscal year 2010, with projected future expenditures of up to $51 million for incident cases, assuming the base case cost of the program. However, this estimate does not accurately reflect the current costs to the province because of lack of report by Family Health Teams, lack of capture of programs outside this model of care by any data set in the province, and because the resource utilization and frequency of visits/follow-up phone calls were based on the findings in the literature rather than the actual Family Health Team COPD management programs in place in Ontario. Therefore, MDC resources being utilized in the province are unknown and difficult to measure.
Data on COPD-related hospitalizations were pulled from Ontario administrative data sets and based on consultation with experts. Half of hospitalized patients will access PR resources at least once, and half of these will repeat the therapy, translating to a potential burden of $17 million to $32 million, depending on the cost of the program. These resources are currently being absorbed, but since utilization is not being captured by any data set in the province, it is difficult to quantify and estimate. Provincial programs may be under-resourced, and patients may not be accessing these services effectively.
Data from the LTOT provincial program (based on fiscal year 2006 information) suggested that the burden was $65 million, with potential expenditures of up to $0.2 million in Years 1 to 3 for incident cases.
From the clinical evidence on ventilation (i.e., reduction in length of stay in hospital), there were potential cost savings to the hospitals of $42 million and $12 million for NPPV and weaning with NPPV, respectively, if the study intervention were adopted. Future cost savings were projected to be up to $4 million and $1 million, respectively, for incident cases.
Conclusions
Currently, costs for most of these interventions are being absorbed by provider services, the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, the Assistive Devices Program, and the hospital global budget. The most cost-effective intervention for COPD will depend on decision-makers’ willingness to pay. Lack of provincial data sets capturing resource utilization for the various interventions poses a challenge for estimating current burden and future expenditures.
PMCID: PMC3384363  PMID: 23074422
15.  Changes in Pulmonary Function after Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy, Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, or Proton Beam Therapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Summary
We investigated the effect of modern radiation techniques on pulmonary function in non-small cell lung cancer patients. We found that lung diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) is reduced in the majority of patients after radiation. Moreover, we found that multiple factors, including pretreatment DLCO ≤50% and lung and heart dosimetric data >median were associated with larger posttreatment declines in DLCO.
Purpose
Definitive radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) adversely affects pulmonary function. However, the extent of these effects after radiation delivered with modern techniques is not well known.
Methods and Materials
We analyzed 250 patients who had received ≥60 Gy radio(chemo)therapy, for primary NSCLC in 1998-2010 and had undergone pulmonary function tests (PFTs) before and within one year after treatment. Ninety three patients were treated with 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, 97 with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), and 60 with proton beam therapy (PBT). Post-radiation PFT values were evaluated amongst individual patients compared to the same patient's pre-radiation value at the following time intervals: 0 to 4 (T1), 5 to 8 (T2), and 9 to 12 (T3) months.
Results
Lung diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) is reduced in the majority of patients along the 3 time periods after radiation, whereas the forced expiratory volume in 1 second per unit of vital capacity (FEV1/VC) showed an increase and decrease after radiation in a similar percentage of patients. There were baseline differences (stage, RT dose, concurrent chemotherapy) among the radiation technology groups. On multivariate analysis, the following features were associated with larger posttreatment declines in DLCO: pretreatment DLCO, gross tumor volume (GTV), lung and heart dosimetric data, and total radiation dose. Only pretreatment DLCO was associated with larger posttreatment declines in FEV1/VC.
Conclusions
DLCO is reduced in the majority of the patients after radiotherapy with modern techniques. Multiple factors, including GTV, pre-radiation lung function and dosimetric parameters, are associated with the DLCO decline. Prospective studies are needed to better understand whether new radiation technology such as PBT or IMRT may decrease the pulmonary impairment through greater lung sparing.
doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.01.019
PMCID: PMC3923580  PMID: 22420964
non–small cell lung cancer; radiation therapy; diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide; pulmonary function
16.  Is there any relationship between plasma antioxidant capacity and lung function in smokers and in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? 
Thorax  2000;55(3):189-193.
BACKGROUND—It has been suggested that oxidative stress is an important factor in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We have shown that an oxidant/antioxidant imbalance occurs in the distal air spaces of smokers and in patients with COPD which is reflected systemically in the plasma. A study was undertaken to determine whether plasma antioxidant status correlated with lung function as assessed by forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) in smokers and patients with COPD.
METHODS—Plasma antioxidant capacity, assessed by the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) as an index of overall systemic oxidative stress, and protein thiol levels were measured in 95patients with stable COPD, in 82 healthy smokers, and in 37 healthy non-smokers.
RESULTS—Mean (SE) plasma TEAC levels were significantly decreased in patients with COPD (0.81 (0.03) mmol/l, p<0.001) and in healthy smokers (0.87 (0.04) mmol/l, p<0.001) compared with healthy non-smokers (1.31 (0.11) mmol/l). The mean differences in plasma antioxidant capacity (mM) were (0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.22 to 1.48), (0.87, 95% CI 0.2 to 1.46), and (1.31, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.58) in patients with COPD, healthy smokers, and healthy non-smokers, respectively. This reduction was associated with a 29% (95% CI 18 to 38) and a 30% (95% CI 19 to 40) decrease in plasma protein thiol levels in COPD patients and smokers, respectively. Current smoking was not the main contributor to the reduction in antioxidant capacity in patients with COPD as those patients who were still smokers had similar TEAC levels (mean (SE) 0.78 (0.05); n = 25) to those who had stopped smoking (0.84 (0.02); n = 70). No significant correlations were found between spirometric data measured as FEV1 % predicted or FEV1/FVC % predicted and the plasma levels of TEAC in patients with COPD, healthy smokers, or healthy non-smokers. Similarly, there was no significant correlation between FEV1 %predicted or FEV1/FVC % predicted and the levels of plasma protein thiols in the three groups.
CONCLUSIONS—These data confirm decreased antioxidant capacity in smokers and patients with COPD, indicating the presence of systemic oxidative stress. However, no relationship was found between protein thiols or TEAC levels and measurements of airflow limitation in either smokers or in patients with COPD.


doi:10.1136/thorax.55.3.189
PMCID: PMC1745692  PMID: 10679536
17.  Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: New insights to functional characteristics at diagnosis 
Although idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is the most severe of the idiopathic lung diseases, it has not been characterized in detail. This retrospective study analyzed lung function data collected from 93 patients at a tertiary care centre in Kingston, Ontario, in an attempt to more clearly delineate the physiological abnormalities present in the condition.
BACKGROUND:
The lung function of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has not been characterized in detail.
OBJECTIVE:
To characterize the heterogeneous physiological abnormalities that exist in patients with IPF during their initial clinical evaluation.
METHODS:
Lung function tests from 93 patients, performed within six months of the initial diagnosis of IPF, were obtained from a referral pulmonary function laboratory at a tertiary care hospital in Canada. A restrictive pattern was defined as total lung capacity (TLC) <95th percentile of predicted value. Patients with obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, emphysema and other restrictive lung diseases were excluded.
RESULTS:
On diagnosis, 73% of patients with IPF had a restrictive pattern, with a mean TLC of 72% of predicted. Mean forced vital capacity (FVC) was 71% and 44% of patients had an FVC <95th percentile. Mean diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLco) was 60% and DLco/alveolar volume (VA) 92% of predicted. Increased severity of restriction – based on TLC – was associated with lower DLco (74% of predicted in mild restriction and 39% of predicted in severe restriction) and higher forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1)/FVC ratio (82% of predicted in mild restriction and 90% of predicted in severe restriction) but not with age (76 years in mild restriction and 69 years in severe restriction). Regardless of severity of restriction, the average DLco/VA (≥86% of predicted) remained within normal limits.
CONCLUSIONS:
One in four patients with IPF had normal TLC and more than one-half had a normal FVC during initial evaluation. As the severity of the restriction increased, FEV1/FVC increased, DLco decreased but DLco/VA remained normal.
PMCID: PMC4128468  PMID: 24712014
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; Lung function; Restrictive disease
18.  CCR2 and CXCR3 agonistic chemokines are differently expressed and regulated in human alveolar epithelial cells type II 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):75.
The attraction of leukocytes from circulation to inflamed lungs depends on the activation of both the leukocytes and the resident cells within the lung. In this study we determined gene expression and secretion patterns for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2) and T-cell specific CXCR3 agonistic chemokines (Mig/CXCL9, IP-10/CXCL10, and I-TAC/CXCL11) in TNF-α-, IFN-γ-, and IL-1β-stimulated human alveolar epithelial cells type II (AEC-II). AEC-II constitutively expressed high level of CCL2 mRNA in vitro and in situ , and released CCL2 protein in vitro . Treatment of AEC-II with proinflammatory cytokines up-regulated both CCL2 mRNA expression and release of immunoreactive CCL2, whereas IFN-γ had no effect on CCL2 release. In contrast, CXCR3 agonistic chemokines were not detected in freshly isolated AEC-II or in non-stimulated epithelial like cell line A549. IFN-γ, alone or in combination with IL-1β and TNF-α resulted in an increase in CXCL10, CXCL11, and CXCL9 mRNA expression and generation of CXCL10 protein by AEC-II or A549 cells. CXCL10 gene expression and secretion were induced in dose-dependent manner after cytokine-stimulation of AEC-II with an order of potency IFN-γ>>IL-1β ≥ TNF-α. Additionally, we localized the CCL2 and CXCL10 mRNAs in human lung tissue explants by in situ hybridization, and demonstrated the selective effects of cytokines and dexamethasone on CCL2 and CXCL10 expression. These data suggest that the regulation of the CCL2 and CXCL10 expression exhibit significant differences in their mechanisms, and also demonstrate that the alveolar epithelium contributes to the cytokine milieu of the lung, with the ability to respond to locally generated cytokines and to produce potent mediators of the local inflammatory response.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-75
PMCID: PMC1185567  PMID: 16033640
19.  High Mobility Group Protein B1 (HMGB1) in Asthma: Comparison of Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Healthy Controls 
Molecular Medicine  2011;17(7-8):807-815.
High mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1) has been implicated as an important mediator in the pathogenesis of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the expression of HMGB1 in plasma and sputum of patients with asthma and COPD across disease severity needs to be defined. The objective of the study was to examine the induced sputum and plasma concentrations of HMGB1 in COPD and asthmatic patients to determine differences in HMGB1 levels between these diseases and their relationship with airway obstruction and inflammatory patterns. A total of 147 participants were enrolled in this study. The participants included 34 control subjects, 61 patients with persistent asthma (according to the Global Initiative for Asthma [GINA] guidelines) and 47 patients with stable COPD (stratified by Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease [GOLD] status). Spirometry was performed before sputum induction. HMGB1 levels in induced sputum and plasma were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Sputum and plasma concentrations of HMGB1 in patients with asthma and COPD were significantly higher than concentrations in control subjects and were significantly negatively correlated with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), FEV1 (% predicted) in all 147 participants. The levels of HMGB1 in induced sputum of COPD patients were significantly higher than those of asthma patients and healthy controls (P < 0.001). This difference was present even after adjusting for sex, age, smoking status, daily dose of inhaled corticosteroids and disease severity. There were no significant differences in HMGB1 levels between patients with eosinophilic and noneosinophilic asthma. HMGB1 levels in asthmatic and COPD patients were positively correlated with neutrophil counts and percentage of neutrophils. In multivariate analysis, the two diseases (asthma and COPD) and disease severity were independent predictors of sputum HMGB1, but not smoking, age or use of inhaled corticosteroids. In conclusion, these data support a potential role for HMGB1 as a biomarker and diagnostic tool for the differential diagnosis of asthma and COPD. The importance of this observation on asthma and COPD mechanisms and outcomes should be further investigated in large prospective studies.
doi:10.2119/molmed.2010.00173
PMCID: PMC3146613  PMID: 21380479
20.  Body Composition in Patients with Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Comparison with Malnutrition in Healthy Smokers 
The Eurasian Journal of Medicine  2014;46(3):169-175.
Objective:
Although malnutrition (body mass index (BMI)<18.5kg/ m2) has been associated with impaired health status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the effects of body composition (body fat and protein percentage) in patients with COPD have not been clearly demonstrated.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 180 stable patients with COPD at the stages of moderate, severe, very severe, and 50 healthy subjects were included in this prospective study. All subjects underwent a clinical evaluation, spirometry tests, anthropometric measurements and blood analysis.
Results:
Frequency of underweight was higher in COPD (11.7%) patients than the control group (8%). The frequency of underweight increased as the severity of COPD worsens. There was body decomposition (protein or fat depletion) in not only all underweight patients but also some normal/overweight COPD patients, as well as in the healthy subjects. Deterioration in FEV1 (L), and FEV1/FVC was more evident in underweight patients with protein and fat depletion compared to normal/overweight patients (p=0.004, and p=0.005). Inspiratory and expiratory respiratory muscle power was lower in under-weight patients with depletion than in normal/overweight patients (p=0.02, and p=0.01). DLCO and DLCO/VA were significantly lower in underweight patients than in normal/overweight patients (p=0.003, and p=0.004), they were also lower in normal/overweight patients with depletion than in normal/overweight patients with no depletion (p=0.01, and p=0.07). Normal/overweight patients with protein depletion had the most frequent number of exacerbations than others (p=0.04).
Conclusion:
These results show that the body decomposition is important in patients with COPD. Assessment of body composition should be a part of nutritional assessment besides BMI in patients with COPD.
doi:10.5152/eajm.2014.46
PMCID: PMC4299843  PMID: 25610320
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); malnutrition; anthropometry; measurement
21.  Abnormal Pulmonary Function in Adults with Sickle Cell Anemia 
Rationale: Pulmonary complications of sickle cell anemia (Hb-SS) commonly cause morbidity, yet few large studies of pulmonary function tests (PFTs) in this population have been reported.
Objectives: PFTs (spirometry, lung volumes, and diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide [DLCO]) from 310 adults with Hb-SS were analyzed to determine the pattern of pulmonary dysfunction and their association with other systemic complications of sickle cell disease.
Methods: Raw PFT data were compared with predicted values. Each subject was subclassified into one of five groups: obstructive physiology, restrictive physiology, mixed obstructive/restrictive physiology, isolated low DLCO, or normal. The association between laboratory data of patients with decreased DLCO or restrictive physiology and those of normal subjects was assessed by multivariate linear regression.
Measurements and Main Results: Normal PFTs were present in only 31 of 310 (10%) patients. Overall, adults with Hb-SS were characterized by decreased total lung capacities (70.2 ± 14.7% predicted) and DlCO (64.5 ± 19.9%). The most common PFT patterns were restrictive physiology (74%) and isolated low DlCO (13%). Decreased DLCO was associated with thrombocytosis (p = 0.05), with hepatic dysfunction (elevated alanine aminotransferase; p = 0.07), and a trend toward renal dysfunction (elevated blood urea nitrogen and creatinine; p = 0.05 and 0.07, respectively).
Conclusions: Pulmonary function is abnormal in 90% of adult patients with Hb-SS. Common abnormalities include restrictive physiology and decreased DLCO. Decreased DLCO may indicate more severe sickle vasculopathy characterized by impaired hepatic and renal function.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200601-125OC
PMCID: PMC2662970  PMID: 16556694
airway obstruction; dyspnea; restrictive disease
22.  The association of plasma biomarkers with computed tomography-assessed emphysema phenotypes 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):127.
Rationale
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a phenotypically heterogeneous disease. In COPD, the presence of emphysema is associated with increased mortality and risk of lung cancer. High resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans are useful in quantifying emphysema but are associated with radiation exposure and high incidence of false positive findings (i.e., nodules). Using a comprehensive biomarker panel, we sought to determine if there was a peripheral blood biomarker signature of emphysema.
Methods
114 plasma biomarkers were measured using a custom assay in 588 individuals enrolled in the COPDGene study. Quantitative emphysema measurements included percent low lung attenuation (%LAA) ≤ −950 HU, ≤ − 910 HU and mean lung attenuation at the 15th percentile on lung attenuation curve (LP15A). Multiple regression analysis was performed to determine plasma biomarkers associated with emphysema independent of covariates age, gender, smoking status, body mass index and FEV1. The findings were subsequently validated using baseline blood samples from a separate cohort of 388 subjects enrolled in the Treatment of Emphysema with a Selective Retinoid Agonist (TESRA) study.
Results
Regression analysis identified multiple biomarkers associated with CT-assessed emphysema in COPDGene, including advanced glycosylation end-products receptor (AGER or RAGE, p < 0.001), intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM, p < 0.001), and chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20, p < 0.001). Validation in the TESRA cohort revealed significant associations with RAGE, ICAM1, and CCL20 with radiologic emphysema (p < 0.001 after meta-analysis). Other biomarkers that were associated with emphysema include CDH1, CDH 13 and SERPINA7, but were not available for validation in the TESRA study. Receiver operating characteristics analysis demonstrated a benefit of adding a biomarker panel to clinical covariates for detecting emphysema, especially in those without severe airflow limitation (AUC 0.85).
Conclusions
Our findings, suggest that a panel of blood biomarkers including sRAGE, ICAM1 and CCL20 may serve as a useful surrogate measure of emphysema, and when combined with clinical covariates, may be useful clinically in predicting the presence of emphysema compared to just using covariates alone, especially in those with less severe COPD. Ultimately biomarkers may shed light on disease pathogenesis, providing targets for new treatments.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0127-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0127-9
PMCID: PMC4198701  PMID: 25306249
COPD; Biomarkers; RAGE; ICAM1; CCL20; Emphysema
23.  Long-Term Oxygen Therapy 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: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
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: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
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: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this health technology assessment was to determine the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Oxygen therapy is used in patients with COPD with hypoxemia, or very low blood oxygen levels, because they may have difficulty obtaining sufficient oxygen from inspired air.
Technology
Long-term oxygen therapy is extended use of oxygen. Oxygen therapy is delivered as a gas from an oxygen source. Different oxygen sources are: 1) oxygen concentrators, electrical units delivering oxygen converted from room air; 2) liquid oxygen systems, which deliver gaseous oxygen stored as liquid in a tank; and 3) oxygen cylinders, which contain compressed gaseous oxygen. All are available in portable versions. Oxygen is breathed in through a nasal cannula or through a mask covering the mouth and nose. The treating clinician determines the flow rate, duration of use, method of administration, and oxygen source according to individual patient needs. Two landmark randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of patients with COPD established the role of LTOT in COPD. Questions regarding the use of LTOT, however, still remain.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of LTOT compared with no LTOT in patients with COPD, who are stratified by severity of hypoxemia?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on September 8, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, and INAHTA for studies published from January 1, 2007 to September 8, 2010.
A single clinical epidemiologist reviewed the abstracts, obtained full-text articles for studies meeting the eligibility criteria, and examined reference lists for additional relevant studies not identified through the literature search. A second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists reviewed articles with an unknown eligibility until consensus was established.
Inclusion Criteria
patients with mild, moderate, or severe hypoxemia;
English-language articles published between January 1, 2007 and September 8, 2010;
journal articles reporting on effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, or safety for the comparison of interest;
clearly described study design and methods;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, RCTs, or prospective cohort observational studies;
any type of observational study for the evaluation of safety.
Exclusion Criteria
no hypoxemia
non-English papers
animal or in vitro studies
case reports, case series, or case-case studies
studies comparing different oxygen therapy regimens
studies on nocturnal oxygen therapy
studies on short-burst, palliative, or ambulatory oxygen (supplemental oxygen during exercise or activities of daily living)
Outcomes of Interest
mortality/survival
hospitalizations
readmissions
forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)
forced vital capacity (FVC)
FEV1/FVC
pulmonary hypertension
arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2)
arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2)
end-exercise dyspnea score
endurance time
health-related quality of life
Note: Outcomes of interest were formulated according to existing studies, with arterial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide as surrogate outcomes.
Summary of Findings
Conclusions
Based on low quality of evidence, LTOT (~ 15 hours/day) decreases all-cause mortality in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia (PaO2 ~ 50 mm Hg) and heart failure.
The effect for all-cause mortality had borderline statistical significance when the control group was no LTOT: one study.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is no beneficial effect of LTOT on all-cause mortality at 3 and 7 years in patients with COPD who have mild-to-moderate hypoxemia (PaO2 ~ 59-65 mm Hg)1
Based on very low quality of evidence, there is some suggestion that LTOT may have a beneficial effect over time on FEV1 and PaCO2 in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia and heart failure: improved methods are needed.
Based on very low quality of evidence, there is no beneficial effect of LTOT on lung function or exercise factors in patients with COPD who have mild-to-moderate hypoxemia, whether survivors or nonsurvivors are assessed.
Based on low to very low quality of evidence, LTOT does not prevent readmissions in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia. Limited data suggest LTOT increases the risk of hospitalizations.
Limited work has been performed evaluating the safety of LTOT by severity of hypoxemia.
Based on low to very low quality of evidence, LTOT may have a beneficial effect over time on health-related quality of life in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia. Limited work using disease-specific instruments has been performed.
Ethical constraints of not providing LTOT to eligible patients with COPD prohibit future studies from examining LTOT outcomes in an ideal way.
PMCID: PMC3384376  PMID: 23074435
24.  COPD 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1502.
Introduction
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease state characterised by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. The airflow limitation is usually progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. Classically, it is thought to be a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis, although only one of these may be present in some people with COPD. The main risk factor for the development and deterioration of COPD is smoking.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of maintenance drug treatment in stable COPD? What are the effects of smoking cessation interventions in people with stable COPD? What are the effects of non-drug interventions in people with stable COPD? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 119 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: alpha1 antitrypsin, antibiotics (prophylactic), anticholinergics (inhaled), beta2 agonists (inhaled), corticosteroids (oral and inhaled), general physical activity enhancement, inspiratory muscle training, nutritional supplementation, mucolytics, oxygen treatment (long-term domiciliary treatment), peripheral muscle strength training, psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for smoking cessation, pulmonary rehabilitation, and theophylline.
Key Points
The main risk factor for the development and deterioration of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is smoking.
Inhaled anticholinergics and beta2 agonists improve lung function and symptoms and reduce exacerbations in stable COPD compared with placebo. It is unclear whether inhaled anticholinergics or inhaled beta2 agonists are the more consistently effective drug class in the treatment of COPD.Short-acting anticholinergics seem to be associated with a small improvement in quality of life compared with beta2 agonists. Long-acting inhaled anticholinergics may improve lung function compared with long-acting beta2 agonists.Combined treatment with inhaled anticholinergics plus beta2 agonists may improve symptoms and lung function and reduce exacerbations compared with either treatment alone, although long-term effects are unknown.
Inhaled corticosteroids reduce exacerbations in COPD and reduce decline in FEV1, but the beneficial effects are small. Oral corticosteroids may improve short-term lung function, but have serious adverse effects. Combined inhaled corticosteroids plus long-acting beta2 agonists improve lung function, symptoms, and health-related quality of life, and reduce exacerbations compared with placebo, and may be more effective than either treatment alone.
Long-term domiciliary oxygen treatment may improve survival in people with severe daytime hypoxaemia.
Theophylline may improve lung function compared with placebo, but adverse effects limit its usefulness in stable COPD.
We don't know whether mucolytic drugs, prophylactic antibiotics, or alpha1 antitrypsin improve outcomes in people with COPD compared with placebo.
Combined psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for smoking cessation can slow the deterioration of lung function, but have not been shown to reduce long-term mortality compared with usual care.
Multi-modality pulmonary rehabilitation can improve exercise capacity, dyspnoea, and health-related quality of life in people with stable COPD; general physical exercises and peripheral muscle training can improve exercise capacity; inspiratory muscle training may improve lung function and exercise capacity; but nutritional supplementation has not been shown to be beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3275305  PMID: 21639960
25.  Combination of roflumilast with a beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonist inhibits proinflammatory and profibrotic mediator release from human lung fibroblasts 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):28.
Background
Small airway narrowing is an important pathology which impacts lung function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The accumulation of fibroblasts and myofibroblasts contribute to inflammation, remodeling and fibrosis by production and release of mediators such as cytokines, profibrotic factors and extracellular matrix proteins. This study investigated the effects of the phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor roflumilast, combined with the long acting β2 adrenergic agonist indacaterol, both approved therapeutics for COPD, on fibroblast functions that contribute to inflammation and airway fibrosis.
Methods
The effects of roflumilast and indacaterol treatment were characterized on transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1)-treated normal human lung fibroblasts (NHLF). NHLF were evaluated for expression of the profibrotic mediators endothelin-1 (ET-1) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), expression of the myofibroblast marker alpha smooth muscle actin, and fibronectin (FN) secretion. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) was used to induce secretion of chemokine C-X-C motif ligand 10 (CXCL10), chemokine C-C motif ligand 5 (CCL5) and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) from NHLF and drug inhibition was assessed.
Results
Evaluation of roflumilast (1-10 μM) showed no significant inhibition alone on TGFβ1-induced ET-1 and CTGF mRNA transcripts, ET-1 and FN protein production, alpha smooth muscle expression, or TNF-α-induced secretion of CXCL10, CCL5 and GM-CSF. A concentration-dependent inhibition of ET-1 and CTGF was shown with indacaterol treatment, and a submaximal concentration was chosen for combination studies. When indacaterol (0.1 nM) was added to roflumilast, significant inhibition was seen on all inflammatory and fibrotic mediators evaluated, which was superior to the inhibition seen with either drug alone. Roflumilast plus indacaterol combination treatment resulted in significantly elevated phosphorylation of the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), an effect that was protein kinase A-dependent. Inhibition of protein kinase A was also found to reverse the inhibition of indacaterol and roflumilast on CTGF.
Conclusions
These results demonstrate that addition of roflumilast to a LABA inhibits primary fibroblast/myofibroblast function and therapeutically this may impact lung fibroblast proinflammatory and profibrotic mediator release which contributes to small airway remodeling and airway obstruction in COPD.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-13-28
PMCID: PMC3342220  PMID: 22452977
Roflumilast; PDE4; Beta-2 agonist; Indacaterol; Lung fibroblasts; Anti-inflammatory; Fibrosis

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