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1.  Vessel-Associated Transforming Growth Factor-Beta1 (TGF-β1) Is Increased in the Bronchial Reticular Basement Membrane in COPD and Normal Smokers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39736.
Background
Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) is a multipotential cytokine with angiogenic activity. There are only limited data about its role in airway remodeling in COPD. We have previously shown that the reticular basement membrane (Rbm) is hypervascular in the airways of current smokers either with or without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This study evaluated TGF-β1 immunostaining in the Rbm and its relationship to vascularity in smokers with or without COPD.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Bronchial biopsies from 15 smokers with normal lung function, 19 current and 14 ex-smokers with COPD were immunostained for TGF-β1 antibody and compared to 17 healthy controls. The percentage area of tissue and also number and area of vessels staining positively for TGF-β1 were measured and compared between groups. Some bronchial biopsies from current smoking COPD subjects were also stained for phosphorylated (active) Smad2/3. Epithelial TGF- β1 staining was not different between COPD current smokers and normal controls. TGF-β1 stained vessels in the Rbm were increased in smokers with normal lung function, current smoking COPD and ex-smokers with COPD compared to controls [median (range) for number of vessels/mm Rbm 2.5 (0.0–12.7), 3.4 (0.0–8.1) and 1.0 (0.0–6.3) vs. 0.0 (0.0–7.0), p<0.05]. Percentage of vessels stained was also increased in these clinical groups. Preliminary data suggest that in current smoking COPD subjects endothelial cells and cells in the Rbm stain positively for phosphorylated Smad2/3 suggesting TGF-β1 is functionally active in this situation.
Conclusions/Significance
Vessel-associated TGF-β1 activity is increased in the bronchial Rbm in smokers and especially those with COPD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039736
PMCID: PMC3387255  PMID: 22768115
2.  Distinctive characteristics of bronchial reticular basement membrane and vessel remodelling in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and in asthma: they are not the same disease 
Histopathology  2012;60(6):964-970.
Aims
This study compared reticular basement membrane (Rbm) and vascular remodelling within the bronchial mucosa of subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with those from patients with asthma, to test the ‘Dutch hypothesis’ of whether these are essentially the same or different pathological conditions.
Methods and results
Bronchoscopic biopsies were stained with anti-collagen IV antibody; 18 current smoking COPD, 10 symptomatic asthmatics and 13 healthy non-smoking controls were studied. The Rbm in COPD was fragmented, non-homogeneous, variable in thickness and hypervascular, whereas in asthma the Rbm was compact and homogeneous with no evidence of increased vascularity compared to controls. Length of Rbm splitting presented as percentage of Rbm length was used to measure fragmentation; it was greater in COPD than in controls and asthmatics [median (range) 20.7% (0.4–68.5) versus 5.3% (0.0–21.7) versus 1.5% (0.0–15.1), P < 0.001]. The number of Rbm vessels/mm Rbm [median (range) 10.1 (1.6–23.0) versus 4.5 (0.0–26.4) versus 4.4 (0.4–8.1), P < 0.01] and area of Rbm vessels, μm2/mm Rbm [median (range) 953 (115–2456) versus 462 (0–3263) versus 426 (32–2216), P < 0.05] was also increased in COPD compared to normal subjects and asthmatics.
Conclusions
The characteristics of Rbm remodelling are quite different in asthma and COPD.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04147.x
PMCID: PMC3465784  PMID: 22320998
airway remodelling; asthma; bronchial biopsies; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; reticular basement membrane
3.  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.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-8-53
PMCID: PMC1939848  PMID: 17631682
4.  Chronic Bronchitis and Current Smoking Are Associated with More Goblet Cells in Moderate to Severe COPD and Smokers without Airflow Obstruction 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116108.
Background
Goblet cell hyperplasia is a classic but variable pathologic finding in COPD. Current literature shows that smoking is a risk factor for chronic bronchitis but the relationship of these clinical features to the presence and magnitude of large airway goblet cell hyperplasia has not been well described. We hypothesized that current smokers and chronic bronchitics would have more goblet cells than nonsmokers or those without chronic bronchitis (CB), independent of airflow obstruction.
Methods
We recruited 15 subjects with moderate to severe COPD, 12 healthy smokers, and 11 healthy nonsmokers. Six endobronchial mucosal biopsies per subject were obtained by bronchoscopy and stained with periodic acid Schiff-Alcian Blue. Goblet cell density (GCD) was quantified as goblet cell number per millimeter of basement membrane. Mucin volume density (MVD) was quantified as volume of mucin per unit area of basement membrane.
Results
Healthy smokers had a greater GCD and MVD than nonsmokers and COPD subjects. COPD subjects had a greater GCD than nonsmokers. When current smokers (healthy smokers and COPD current smokers, n = 19) were compared with all nonsmokers (nonsmoking controls and COPD ex-smokers, n = 19), current smokers had a greater GCD and MVD. When those with CB (n = 12) were compared to those without CB (n = 26), the CB group had greater GCD. This finding was also seen in those with CB in the COPD group alone. In multivariate analysis, current smoking and CB were significant predictors of GCD using demographics, lung function, and smoking pack years as covariates. All other covariates were not significant predictors of GCD or MVD.
Conclusions
Current smoking is associated with a more goblet cell hyperplasia and number, and CB is associated with more goblet cells, independent of the presence of airflow obstruction. This provides clinical and pathologic correlation for smokers with and without COPD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116108
PMCID: PMC4315442  PMID: 25646735
5.  Evaluation of epithelial mesenchymal transition in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):130.
Background
The reticular basement membrane (Rbm) in smokers and especially smokers with COPD is fragmented with "clefts" containing cells staining for the collagenase matrix-metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and fibroblast protein, S100A4. These cells are also present in the basal epithelium. Such changes are likely hallmarks of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). We aimed to confirm the epithelial origin of these Rbm cells, and to exclude potential confounding by infiltrating inflammatory cells.
Methods
Endobronchial biopsy sections from 17 COPD current smokers, with documented Rbm splitting and cellularity were stained for neutrophil elastase (neutrophil marker), CD68 (macrophage/mature fibroblasts), CD4+/CD8+ T lymphocytes, CD19 (B-cells), CD11c (dendritic cells/inflammatory cells), and S100 (Langerhans cells). The number of cells in the Rbm and epithelium staining for these "inflammatory" cell markers were then compared to numbers staining for S100A4, "a documented EMT epitope". Slides were double stained for S100A4 and cytokeratin(s).
Results
In the basal epithelium significantly more cells stained for S100A4 compared to infiltrating macrophages, fibroblasts or immune cells: median, 26 (21.3 - 37.3) versus 0 (0 - 9.6) per mm, p < 0.003. Markedly more S100A4 staining cells were also observed in the Rbm compared to infiltrating macrophages, neutrophils, fibroblasts or immune cells or any sub-type: 58 (37.3 - 92.6) versus 0 (0 - 4.8) cells/mm Rbm, p < 0.003. Cells in the basal epithelium 26 (21.3 - 37.3) per mm) and Rbm (5.9 (2.3 - 13.8) per mm) frequently double stained for both cytokeratin and S100A4.
Conclusions
These data provide additional support for active EMT in COPD airways.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-130
PMCID: PMC3198934  PMID: 21970519
cytokeratin; clefts; epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT); inflammatory cells and S100A4
6.  Airway Inflammation and Bronchial Bacterial Colonization in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Inflammation is now recognized as an integral part of the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In contrast to the sterile airways of normal lungs, bacterial pathogens are often isolated from the airways in stable COPD. This “colonization” of the tracheobronchial tree, currently believed to be innocuous, could serve as an inflammatory stimulus, independent of current tobacco smoke exposure.
Objective: To test the hypothesis that bacterial colonization is associated with airway inflammation in stable COPD.
Methods: Bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed in three groups of subjects: 26 ex-smokers with stable COPD (COPD), 20 ex-smokers without COPD (ex-smokers), and 15 healthy nonsmokers (nonsmokers). Quantitative bacterial cultures, cell counts, chemokine, cytokine, proteinase/antiproteinase, and endotoxin levels in the BAL fluid were compared.
Results: Potentially pathogenic bacteria were recovered at ⩾ 100 cfu/ml in 34.6% of COPD, 0% of ex-smokers, and in 6.7% of nonsmokers (p = 0.003). All values are expressed as median (interquartile range). Subjects with colonized COPD had significantly greater relative (12.0 [28.4] vs. 3.0 [7.8]%, p = 0.03) and absolute (4.98 [5.26] × 104/ml vs. 3.04 [2.82] × 104/ml, p = 0.02) neutrophil counts, interleukin 8 (33.8 [189.8] vs. 16.9 [20.1] pg/ml, p = 0.005), active matrix metalloproteinase-9 (2.16 [4.30] vs. 0.84 [0.99] U/ml, p = 0.03), and endotoxin (36.0 [72.6] vs. 3.55 [7.17] mEU/ml, p = 0.004) levels in the BAL than the subjects with noncolonized COPD. These inflammatory constituents of BAL were also significantly elevated in subjects with colonized COPD when compared with ex-smokers and nonsmokers.
Conclusions: Bacterial colonization is associated with neutrophilic airway lumen inflammation in ex-smokers with COPD and could contribute to progression of airway disease in COPD.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200509-1525OC
PMCID: PMC2662918  PMID: 16474030
bacterial colonization; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; neutrophilic inflammation
7.  Reticular basement membrane in asthma and COPD: Similar thickness, yet different composition 
Background
Reticular basement membrane (RBM) thickening has been variably associated with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Even if RBM thickness is similar in both diseases, its composition might still differ.
Objective
To assess whether RBM thickness and composition differ between asthma and COPD.
Methods
We investigated 24 allergic asthmatics (forced expiratory volume in one second [FEV1] 92% predicted), and 17 nonallergic COPD patients (FEV1 60% predicted), and for each group a control group of similar age and smoking habits (12 and 10 persons, respectively). Snap-frozen sections of bronchial biopsies were stained with hematoxylin/eosin and for collagen I, III, IV, V, laminin and tenascin. RBM thickening was assessed by digital image analysis. Relative staining intensity of each matrix component was determined.
Results
Mean (SD) RBM thickness was not significantly different between asthma and COPD 5.5 (1.3) vs 6.0 (1.8) μm, but significantly larger than in their healthy counterparts, ie, 4.7 (0.9) and 4.8 (1.2) μm, respectively. Collagen I and laminin stained significantly stronger in asthma than in COPD. Tenascin stained stronger in asthma than in healthy controls of similar age, and stronger in COPD controls than in asthma controls (p < 0.05).
Conclusion
RBM thickening occurs both in asthma and COPD. We provide supportive evidence that its composition differs in asthma and COPD.
PMCID: PMC2672795  PMID: 19436691
reticular basement membrane thickness; reticular basement membrane composition; asthma; biopsy; COPD; remodeling
8.  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
9.  The role of small heat-shock protein αB-crystalline (HspB5) in COPD pathogenesis 
Background
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.
Aim
The aim of this study is to determine the role of αB-crystallin in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis and inflammation.
Materials
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S34929
PMCID: PMC3468058  PMID: 23055712
COPD; HspB5; chaperonopathology; pathogenesis
10.  Tenascin-C and alpha-smooth muscle actin positive cells are increased in the large airways in patients with COPD 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):48.
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by inflammation and remodeling of the lungs. This results in alterations in extracellular matrix (ECM) and structural changes leading to airflow obstruction. We studied the expression of tenascin-C (Tn-C) and alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), which act as a marker of myofibroblasts, in large airways from COPD patients. Our aim was to elucidate whether this expression correlated with smoking or with disease development.
Methods
Bronchoscopy was performed on 20 COPD patients (mean age 56 years; range 39-61; FEV1/FVC < 70% and FEV1 median 53% (range 33-69) of predicted). Age and smoking matched smokers (S) without COPD (n = 13) and age matched non-smokers (NS) (n = 14) served as controls. Bronchial mucosal biopsies were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. The distribution of Tn-C expression was assessed and graded in three levels, and the number of spindle shaped cells staining positive for α-SMA were counted.
Results
Biopsies from COPD patients had more (P < 0.001) Tn-C expression than the two control groups. A significantly (P < 0.05) increased number of spindle shaped cells expressing α-SMA was observed in COPD patients compared with the controls. Smokers and nonsmokers did not differ in this respect. The expression of Tn-C correlated positively (P < 0.001) to the number of α-SMA positive cells.
Conclusions
We demonstrate increased expression of Tn-C and α-SMA positive cells in the large airways in COPD. This was not associated to smoking per se, but to the presence of airway obstruction. Our findings add new information regarding remodeling characteristics and highlight the large airways as a potential site for airways obstruction in COPD.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-48
PMCID: PMC3083344  PMID: 21496259
11.  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: 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 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.
Technology
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.
Conclusions
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
12.  Airway epithelial platelet-activating factor receptor expression is markedly upregulated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
We recently published that platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFr) is upregulated on the epithelium of the proximal airways of current smokers and also in bronchial epithelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke extract. These treated cells also showed upregulation of Streptococcus pneumoniae adhesion. Bacterial wall phosphorylcholine specifically binds to PAFr expressed on airway epithelium, thus facilitating adherence and tissue invasion, which may be relevant to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Moreover, the use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in COPD patients is associated with an increased risk of invasive respiratory pneumococcal infections.
Objective
In this study, we have investigated whether PAFr expression is especially upregulated in airway epithelium in COPD patients and whether this expression may be modulated by ICS therapy.
Methods
We cross-sectionally evaluated PAFr expression in bronchial biopsies from 15 COPD patients who were current smokers (COPD-smokers) and 12 COPD-ex-smokers, and we compared these to biopsies from 16 smokers with normal lung function. We assessed immunostaining with anti-PAFr monoclonal antibody. We also used material from a previous double-blinded randomized placebo-controlled 6-month ICS intervention study in COPD patients to explore the effect of ICS on PAFr expression. We employed computer-aided image analysis to quantify the percentage of epithelium stained for PAFr.
Results
Markedly enhanced expression of PAFr was found in both COPD-smokers (P<0.005) and COPD-ex-smokers (P<0.002) compared to smokers with normal lung function. There was little evidence that PAFr expression was affected by ICS therapy over 6 months.
Conclusion
Epithelial PAFr expression is upregulated in smokers, especially in those with COPD, and is not obviously affected by ICS therapy.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S67044
PMCID: PMC4137917  PMID: 25143722
adhesion; airway epithelium; inhaled corticosteroids; pneumococcal infections; Streptococcus pneumoniae
13.  Inhaled Steroids Modulate Extracellular Matrix Composition in Bronchial Biopsies of COPD Patients: A Randomized, Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63430.
Rationale
Smoking and inflammation contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which involves changes in extracellular matrix. This is thought to contribute to airway remodeling and airflow obstruction. We have previously observed that long-term treatment with inhaled corticosteroids can not only reduce bronchial inflammation, but can also attenuate lung function decline in moderate-severe COPD. We hypothesized that inhaled corticosteroids and current smoking modulate bronchial extracellular matrix components in COPD.
Objective
To compare major extracellular matrix components (elastic fibers; proteoglycans [versican, decorin]; collagens type I and III) in bronchial biopsies 1) after 30-months inhaled steroids treatment or placebo; and 2) between current and ex-smokers with COPD.
Methods
We included 64 moderate-severe, steroid-naive COPD patients (24/40 (ex)-smokers, 62±7 years, 46 (31–54) packyears, post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 62±9% predicted) at baseline in this randomized, controlled trial. 19 and 13 patients received 30-months treatment with fluticasone or placebo, respectively. Bronchial biopsies collected at baseline and after 30 months were studied using (immuno)histochemistry to evaluate extracellular matrix content. Percentage and density of stained area were calculated by digital image analysis.
Results
30-Months inhaled steroids increased the percentage stained area of versican (9.6% [CI 0.9 to 18.3%]; p = 0.03) and collagen III (20.6% [CI 3.8 to 37.4%]; p = 0.02) compared to placebo. Increased collagen I staining density correlated with increased post-bronchodilator FEV1 after inhaled steroids treatment (Rs = 0.45, p = 0.04). There were no differences between smokers and ex-smokers with COPD in percentages and densities for all extracellular matrix proteins.
Conclusions
These data show that long-term inhaled corticosteroids treatment partially changes the composition of extracellular matrix in moderate-severe COPD. This is associated with increased lung function, suggesting that long-term inhaled steroids modulate airway remodeling thereby potentially preventing airway collapse in COPD. Smoking status is not associated with bronchial extracellular matrix proteins.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00158847
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063430
PMCID: PMC3646783  PMID: 23667615
14.  Increased number and altered phenotype of lymphatic vessels in peripheral lung compartments of patients with COPD 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):65.
Background
De novo lymphatic vessel formation has recently been observed in lungs of patients with moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the distribution of lymphatic vessel changes among the anatomical compartments of diseased lungs is unknown. Furthermore, information regarding the nature of lymphatic vessel alterations across different stages of COPD is missing. This study performs a detailed morphometric characterization of lymphatic vessels in major peripheral lung compartments of patients with different severities of COPD and investigates the lymphatic expression of molecules involved in immune cell trafficking.
Methods
Peripheral lung resection samples obtained from patients with mild (GOLD stage I), moderate-severe (GOLD stage II-III), and very severe (GOLD stage IV) COPD were investigated for podoplanin-immunopositive lymphatic vessels in distinct peripheral lung compartments: bronchioles, pulmonary blood vessels and alveolar walls. Control subjects with normal lung function were divided into never smokers and smokers. Lymphatics were analysed by multiple morphological parameters, as well as for their expression of CCL21 and the chemokine scavenger receptor D6.
Results
The number of lymphatics increased by 133% in the alveolar parenchyma in patients with advanced COPD compared with never-smoking controls (p < 0.05). In patchy fibrotic lesions the number of alveolar lymphatics increased 20-fold from non-fibrotic parenchyma in the same COPD patients. The absolute number of lymphatics per bronchiole and artery was increased in advanced COPD, but numbers were not different after normalization to tissue area. Increased numbers of CCL21- and D6-positive lymphatics were observed in the alveolar parenchyma in advanced COPD compared with controls (p < 0.01). Lymphatic vessels also displayed increased mean levels of immunoreactivity for CCL21 in the wall of bronchioles (p < 0.01) and bronchiole-associated arteries (p < 0.05), as well as the alveolar parenchyma (p < 0.001) in patients with advanced COPD compared with never-smoking controls. A similar increase in lymphatic D6 immunoreactivity was observed in bronchioles (p < 0.05) and alveolar parenchyma (p < 0.01).
Conclusions
This study shows that severe stages of COPD is associated with increased numbers of alveolar lymphatic vessels and a change in lymphatic vessel phenotype in major peripheral lung compartments. This novel histopathological feature is suggested to have important implications for distal lung immune cell traffic in advanced COPD.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-65
PMCID: PMC3728038  PMID: 23758732
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Alveolar; Lymphatic vessel; CCL21; D6; Immunohistochemistry; Inflammation
15.  Reticular Basement Membrane Vessels Are Increased in COPD Bronchial Mucosa by Both Factor VIII and Collagen IV Immunostaining and Are Hyperpermeable 
Journal of Allergy  2012;2012:958383.
Background and Objective. Using Collagen IV staining, we have previously reported that the reticular basement membrane (Rbm) is hypervascular and the lamina propria (LP) is hypovascular in COPD airways. This study compared Collagen IV staining with vessels marked with anti-Factor VIII and examined vessel permeability in bronchial biopsies from COPD and normal subjects using albumin staining. Results. Anti-Collagen IV antibody detected more vessels in the Rbm (P = 0.002) and larger vessels in both Rbm (P < 0.001) and LP (P = 0.003) compared to Factor VIII. COPD airways had more vessels (with greater permeability) in the Rbm (P = 0.01) and fewer vessels (with normal permeability) in the LP compared to controls with both Collagen IV and Factor VIII antibodies (P = 0.04 and P = 0.01). Conclusion. Rbm vessels were increased in number and were hyperpermeable in COPD airways. Anti-Collagen IV and anti-Factor VIII antibodies did not uniformly detect the same vessel populations; the first is likely to reflect larger and older vessels with the latter reflecting smaller, younger vessels.
doi:10.1155/2012/958383
PMCID: PMC3303780  PMID: 22500190
16.  Enhanced bronchial expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and receptors (Flk-1 and Flt-1) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2005;60(2):106-113.
Background: Ongoing inflammatory processes resulting in airway and vascular remodelling characterise chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors VEGFR-1 (Flt-1) and VEGFR-2 (KDR/Flk-1) could play a role in tissue remodelling and angiogenesis in COPD.
Methods: The cellular expression pattern of VEGF, Flt-1, and KDR/Flk-1 was examined by immunohistochemistry in central and peripheral lung tissues obtained from ex-smokers with COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) <75% predicted; n = 14) or without COPD (FEV1 >85% predicted; n = 14). The immunohistochemical staining of each molecule was quantified using a visual scoring method with grades ranging from 0 (no) to 3 (intense).
Results: VEGF, Flt-1, and KDR/Flk-1 immunostaining was localised in vascular and airway smooth muscle (VSM and ASM) cells, bronchial, bronchiolar and alveolar epithelium, and macrophages. Pulmonary endothelial cells expressed Flt-1 and KDR/Flk-1 abundantly but not VEGF. Bronchial VEGF expression was higher in microvascular VSM cells and ASM cells of patients with COPD than in patients without COPD (1.7 and 1.6-fold, p<0.01, respectively). VEGF expression in intimal and medial VSM (1.7 and 1.3-fold, p<0.05) of peripheral pulmonary arteries associated with the bronchiolar airways was more intense in COPD, as was VEGF expression in the small pulmonary vessels in the alveolar region (1.5 and 1.7-fold, p<0.02). In patients with COPD, KDR/Flk-1 expression was enhanced in endothelial cells and in intimal and medial VSM (1.3, 1.9 and 1.5-fold, p<0.02) while endothelial Flt-1 expression was 1.7 times higher (p<0.03). VEGF expression was significantly increased in bronchiolar and alveolar epithelium as well as in bronchiolar macrophages (1.5-fold, p<0.001). The expression of VEGF in bronchial VSM and mucosal microvessels as well as bronchiolar epithelium was inversely correlated with FEV1 (r<–0.45; p<0.01).
Conclusions: VEGF and its receptors Flt-1 and KDR/Flk-1 may be involved in peripheral vascular and airway remodelling processes in an autocrine and/or paracrine manner. This system may also be associated with epithelial cell viability during airway wall remodelling in COPD.
doi:10.1136/thx.2004.023986
PMCID: PMC1747292  PMID: 15681497
17.  Intraflagellar Transport Gene Expression Associated with Short Cilia in Smoking and COPD 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85453.
Smoking and COPD are associated with decreased mucociliary clearance, and healthy smokers have shorter cilia in the large airway than nonsmokers. We hypothesized that changes in cilia length are consistent throughout the airway, and we further hypothesized that smokers with COPD have shorter cilia than healthy smokers. Because intraflagellar transport (IFT) is the process by which cilia of normal length are produced and maintained, and alterations in IFT lead to short cilia in model organisms, we also hypothesized that smoking induces changes in the expression of IFT-related genes in the airway epithelium of smokers and smokers with COPD. To assess these hypotheses, airway epithelium was obtained via bronchoscopic brushing. Cilia length was assessed by measuring 100 cilia (10 cilia on each of 10 cells) per subject and Affymetrix microarrays were used to evaluate IFT gene expression in nonsmokers and healthy smokers in 2 independent data sets from large and small airway as well as in COPD smokers in a data set from the small airway. In the large and small airway epithelium, cilia were significantly shorter in healthy smokers than nonsmokers, and significantly shorter in COPD smokers than in both healthy smokers and nonsmokers. The gene expression data confirmed that a set of 8 IFT genes were down-regulated in smokers in both data sets; however, no differences were seen in COPD smokers compared to healthy smokers. These results support the concept that loss of cilia length contributes to defective mucociliary clearance in COPD, and that smoking-induced changes in expression of IFT genes may be one mechanism of abnormally short cilia in smokers. Strategies to normalize cilia length may be an important avenue for novel COPD therapies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085453
PMCID: PMC3896362  PMID: 24465567
18.  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
19.  Assessment of airway inflammation using sputum, BAL, and endobronchial biopsies in current and ex-smokers with established COPD 
Rationale
Smoking effects on physiological and gross pathology in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are relatively well described. However, there is little known in COPD about the detailed interrelationships between lung function and inflammatory profiles in different airway compartments from the same individual and whether airway inflammation in these different compartments differs in ex- and current smokers with established COPD.
Objectives
We compared sputum, bronchoalveolar (BAL), and airway wall inflammatory profiles in current versus ex-smokers and related this to smoking intensity and lung function in 17 current and 17 ex-smokers with mild to moderate COPD.
Results
Current smokers had more sputum mast cells (% differential and absolute numbers), whereas ex-smokers had increased sputum neutrophils. In BAL, there was a significant increase in eosinophils in current smokers, but ex-smokers had significantly increased neutrophils, lymphocytes, and epithelial cells. There were no cell profile differences observed in airway biopsies between current and ex-smokers and there were no correlations between the individual inflammatory cell populations in any of the airway compartments. In current smokers only, smoking intensity was negatively correlated with lung function, and associated with a reduction in overall cellularity of both sputum and BAL.
Conclusion
Airway inflammation persists in ex-smokers with COPD, but differs from COPD current smokers. The impact of smoking appears to vary in different airway compartments and any direct relationships between cellularity and lung function tended to be negative, ie, worse lung function indicated the presence of fewer cells.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S11343
PMCID: PMC2962298  PMID: 21037956
current smokers; ex-smokers; airway cellularity; sputum; BAL; endobronchial biopsies
20.  Airway Epithelial Expression of Toll-like Receptor 5 is Down-regulated in Healthy Smokers and Smokers with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
The toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important components of the respiratory epithelium host innate defense, enabling the airway surface to recognize and respond to a variety of insults in inhaled air. Based on the knowledge that smokers are more susceptible to pulmonary infection and that the airway epithelium of smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by bacterial colonization and acute exacerbation of airway infections, we assessed whether smoking alters expression of TLRs in human small airway epithelium, the primary site of smoking-induced disease. Microarrays were used to survey the TLR family gene expression in small airway (10th–12th order) epithelium from healthy nonsmokers (n=60), healthy smokers (n=73) and smokers with COPD (n=36). Using the criteria of detection call of present in ≥50%, 6 of 10 TLRs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8) were expressed. Compared to nonsmokers, the most striking change was for TLR5, which was down-regulated in healthy smokers (1.4-fold, p<10−10) and smokers with COPD (1.6-fold, p<10−11). TaqMan RT-PCR confirmed these observations. Bronchial biopsy immunofluorescence studies showed that TLR5 was expressed mainly on the apical side of the epithelium and was decreased in healthy smokers and smokers with COPD. In vitro, the level of TLR5 downstream genes, IL-6 and IL-8, were highly induced by flagellin in TLR5 high-expressing cells compared to TLR5 low-expressing cells. In the context that TLR5 functions to recognize pathogens and activate innate immune responses, the smoking-induced down-regulation of TLR5 may contribute to smoking-related susceptibility to airway infection, at least for flagellated bacteria.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1101895
PMCID: PMC3579667  PMID: 22855713
21.  Increased exhaled nitric oxide in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  1999;54(7):572-575.
BACKGROUND—Nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role as an inflammatory mediator in the airways. Since chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by airway inflammation, a study was undertaken to determine NO levels in the exhaled air of patients with COPD.
METHODS—Two groups of patients with clinically stable COPD were studied, 10 current smokers and 10 ex-smokers. Two control groups of healthy subjects consisting of 10 current smokers and 20 non-smokers were also studied. Exhaled NO levels were measured by the collection bag technique and NO chemiluminescence analyser.
RESULTS—Mean (SE) levels of exhaled NO in ex-smokers and current smokers with COPD (25.7 (3.0) ppb and 10.2 (1.4) ppb, respectively) were significantly higher than in non-smoker and current smoker control subjects (9.4 (0.8) ppb and 4.6 (0.4) ppb, respectively). In current smokers with COPD exhaled levels of NO were significantly lower than in ex-smokers. In this latter group of patients there was a significant negative correlation between smoking history (pack years) and levels of exhaled NO (r = -0.8, p = 0.002). A positive correlation was seen between forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and levels of exhaled NO (r = 0.65, p = 0.001) in patients with COPD.
CONCLUSIONS—These data show that exhaled NO is increased in patients with stable COPD, both current and ex-smokers, compared with healthy control subjects.


PMCID: PMC1745512  PMID: 10377199
22.  Biologic Phenotyping of the Human Small Airway Epithelial Response to Cigarette Smoking 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22798.
Background
The first changes associated with smoking are in the small airway epithelium (SAE). Given that smoking alters SAE gene expression, but only a fraction of smokers develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we hypothesized that assessment of SAE genome-wide gene expression would permit biologic phenotyping of the smoking response, and that a subset of healthy smokers would have a “COPD-like” SAE transcriptome.
Methodology/Principal Findings
SAE (10th–12th generation) was obtained via bronchoscopy of healthy nonsmokers, healthy smokers and COPD smokers and microarray analysis was used to identify differentially expressed genes. Individual responsiveness to smoking was quantified with an index representing the % of smoking-responsive genes abnormally expressed (ISAE), with healthy smokers grouped into “high” and “low” responders based on the proportion of smoking-responsive genes up- or down-regulated in each smoker. Smokers demonstrated significant variability in SAE transcriptome with ISAE ranging from 2.9 to 51.5%. While the SAE transcriptome of “low” responder healthy smokers differed from both “high” responders and smokers with COPD, the transcriptome of the “high” responder healthy smokers was indistinguishable from COPD smokers.
Conclusion/Significance
The SAE transcriptome can be used to classify clinically healthy smokers into subgroups with lesser and greater responses to cigarette smoking, even though these subgroups are indistinguishable by clinical criteria. This identifies a group of smokers with a “COPD-like” SAE transcriptome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022798
PMCID: PMC3145669  PMID: 21829517
23.  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
24.  Smoking reduces surfactant protein D and phospholipids in patients with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Pulmonary surfactant D (SP-D) has important regulatory functions for innate immunity and has been implicated as a biomarker for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We hypothesized that COPD patients would have reduced bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid SP-D levels compared to healthy smoking and non-smoking controls.
Methods
BAL SP-D and phospholipids were quantified and corrected for dilution in 110 subjects (65 healthy never smokers, 23 smokers with normal spirometry, and 22 smokers with COPD).
Results
BAL SP-D was highest in never smokers (mean 51.9 μg/mL ± 7.1 μg/mL standard error) compared to both smokers with normal spirometry (16.0 μg/mL ± 11.8 μg/mL) and subjects with COPD (19.1 μg/mL ± 12.9 μg/mL; P < 0.0001). Among smokers with COPD, BAL SP-D correlated significantly with FEV1% predicted (R = 0.43; P < 0.05); however, the strongest predictor of BAL SP-D was smoking status. BAL SP-D levels were lowest in current smokers (12.8 μg/mL ± 11.0 μg/mL), intermediate in former smokers (25.2 μg/mL ± 14.2 μg/mL; P < 0.008), and highest in never smokers. BAL phospholipids were also lowest in current smokers (6.5 nmol ± 1.5 nmol), intermediate in former smokers (13.1 nmol ± 2.1 nmol), and highest in never smokers (14.8 nmol ± 1.1 nmol; P < 0.0001).
Conclusions
These data suggest that smokers, and especially current smokers, exhibit significantly reduced BAL SP-D and phospholipids compared to nonsmokers. Our findings may help better explain the mechanism that leads to the rapid progression of disease and increased incidence of infection in smokers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-10-53
PMCID: PMC2987951  PMID: 20973980
25.  Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of 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 analysis was to compare hospital-at-home care with inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who present to the emergency department (ED).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. This airflow limitation is usually both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. The natural history of COPD involves periods of acute-onset worsening of symptoms, particularly increased breathlessness, cough, and/or sputum, that go beyond normal day-to-day variations; these are known as acute exacerbations.
Two-thirds of COPD exacerbations are caused by an infection of the tracheobronchial tree or by air pollution; the cause in the remaining cases is unknown. On average, patients with moderate to severe COPD experience 2 or 3 exacerbations each year.
Exacerbations have an important impact on patients and on the health care system. For the patient, exacerbations result in decreased quality of life, potentially permanent losses of lung function, and an increased risk of mortality. For the health care system, exacerbations of COPD are a leading cause of ED visits and hospitalizations, particularly in winter.
Technology
Hospital-at-home programs offer an alternative for patients who present to the ED with an exacerbation of COPD and require hospital admission for their treatment. Hospital-at-home programs provide patients with visits in their home by medical professionals (typically specialist nurses) who monitor the patients, alter patients’ treatment plans if needed, and in some programs, provide additional care such as pulmonary rehabilitation, patient and caregiver education, and smoking cessation counselling.
There are 2 types of hospital-at-home programs: admission avoidance and early discharge hospital-at-home. In the former, admission avoidance hospital-at-home, after patients are assessed in the ED, they are prescribed the necessary medications and additional care needed (e.g., oxygen therapy) and then sent home where they receive regular visits from a medical professional. In early discharge hospital-at-home, after being assessed in the ED, patients are admitted to the hospital where they receive the initial phase of their treatment. These patients are discharged into a hospital-at-home program before the exacerbation has resolved. In both cases, once the exacerbation has resolved, the patient is discharged from the hospital-at-home program and no longer receives visits in his/her home.
In the models that exist to date, hospital-at-home programs differ from other home care programs because they deal with higher acuity patients who require higher acuity care, and because hospitals retain the medical and legal responsibility for patients. Furthermore, patients requiring home care services may require such services for long periods of time or indefinitely, whereas patients in hospital-at-home programs require and receive the services for a short period of time only.
Hospital-at-home care is not appropriate for all patients with acute exacerbations of COPD. Ineligible patients include: those with mild exacerbations that can be managed without admission to hospital; those who require admission to hospital; and those who cannot be safely treated in a hospital-at-home program either for medical reasons and/or because of a lack of, or poor, social support at home.
The proposed possible benefits of hospital-at-home for treatment of exacerbations of COPD include: decreased utilization of health care resources by avoiding hospital admission and/or reducing length of stay in hospital; decreased costs; increased health-related quality of life for patients and caregivers when treated at home; and reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections in this susceptible patient population.
Ontario Context
No hospital-at-home programs for the treatment of acute exacerbations of COPD were identified in Ontario. Patients requiring acute care for their exacerbations are treated in hospitals.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of hospital-at-home care compared with inpatient hospital care of acute exacerbations of COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on August 5, 2010, using OVID MEDLINE, OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Wiley Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database for studies published from January 1, 1990, to August 5, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists and health technology assessment websites were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the systematic search.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-text reports;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs);
studies performed exclusively in patients with a diagnosis of COPD or studies including patients with COPD as well as patients with other conditions, if results are reported for COPD patients separately;
studies performed in patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED;
studies published between January 1, 1990, and August 5, 2010;
studies comparing hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of COPD;
studies that include at least 1 of the outcomes of interest (listed below).
Cochrane Collaboration reviews have defined hospital-at-home programs as those that provide patients with active treatment for their acute exacerbation in their home by medical professionals for a limited period of time (in this case, until the resolution of the exacerbation). If a hospital-at-home program had not been available, these patients would have been admitted to hospital for their treatment.
Exclusion Criteria
< 18 years of age
animal studies
duplicate publications
grey literature
Outcomes of Interest
Patient/clinical outcomes
mortality
lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second)
health-related quality of life
patient or caregiver preference
patient or caregiver satisfaction with care
complications
Health system outcomes
hospital readmissions
length of stay in hospital and hospital-at-home
ED visits
transfer to long-term care
days to readmission
eligibility for hospital-at-home
Statistical Methods
When possible, results were pooled using Review Manager 5 Version 5.1; otherwise, results were summarized descriptively. Data from RCTs were analyzed using intention-to-treat protocols. In addition, a sensitivity analysis was done assigning all missing data/withdrawals to the event. P values less than 0.05 were considered significant. A priori subgroup analyses were planned for the acuity of hospital-at-home program, type of hospital-at-home program (early discharge or admission avoidance), and severity of the patients’ COPD. Additional subgroup analyses were conducted as needed based on the identified literature. Post hoc sample size calculations were performed using STATA 10.1.
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
Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review: 1 health technology assessment, 5 systematic reviews, and 7 RCTs.
The following conclusions are based on low to very low quality of evidence. The reviewed evidence was based on RCTs that were inadequately powered to observe differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for most outcomes, so there is a strong possibility of type II error. Given the low to very low quality of evidence, these conclusions must be considered with caution.
Approximately 21% to 37% of patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED may be eligible for hospital-at-home care.
Of the patients who are eligible for care, some may refuse to participate in hospital-at-home care.
Eligibility for hospital-at-home care may be increased depending on the design of the hospital-at-home program, such as the size of the geographical service area for hospital-at-home and the hours of operation for patient assessment and entry into hospital-at-home.
Hospital-at-home care for acute exacerbations of COPD was associated with a nonsignificant reduction in the risk of mortality and hospital readmissions compared with inpatient hospital care during 2- to 6-month follow-up.
Limited, very low quality evidence suggests that hospital readmissions are delayed in patients who received hospital-at-home care compared with those who received inpatient hospital care (mean additional days before readmission comparing hospital-at-home to inpatient hospital care ranged from 4 to 38 days).
There is insufficient evidence to determine whether hospital-at-home care, compared with inpatient hospital care, is associated with improved lung function.
The majority of studies did not find significant differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for a variety of health-related quality of life measures at follow-up. However, follow-up may have been too late to observe an impact of hospital-at-home care on quality of life.
A conclusion about the impact of hospital-at-home care on length of stay for the initial exacerbation (defined as days in hospital or days in hospital plus hospital-at-home care for inpatient hospital and hospital-at-home, respectively) could not be determined because of limited and inconsistent evidence.
Patient and caregiver satisfaction with care is high for both hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care.
PMCID: PMC3384361  PMID: 23074420

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