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1.  Local and systemic neutrophilic inflammation in patients with lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
BMC Immunology  2013;14:36.
Recent investigations suggest that neutrophils play an important role in the immune response to lung cancer as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of this study was to evaluate the amount of neutrophils and markers of their activity in lung cancer and COPD and in coexistence of these two diseases.
In total, 267 persons were included in the study: 139 patients with lung cancer, 55 patients with lung cancer and COPD, 40 patients with COPD, and 33 healthy subjects. Peripheral blood and BAL fluid samples were obtained for cell count analysis and determination of NE, MPO levels and ROS production. NE and MPO levels in the serum and BAL fluid were determined by ELISA. ROS production was analyzed by flow cytometer.
The percentage, cell count of neutrophils and neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio in the peripheral blood were significantly higher in lung cancer patients with or without COPD compared to COPD patients or healthy individuals (P < 0.05). The percentage and cell count of neutrophils in BAL fluid were significantly lower in patients with lung cancer with or without COPD than in patients with COPD (P < 0.05). However, BAL fluid and serum levels of both NE and MPO were significantly higher in patients with lung cancer than COPD patients or healthy individuals (P < 0.05). Neutrophils produced higher amounts of ROS in patients with lung cancer with or without COPD compared with COPD patients or healthy individuals (P < 0.05).
The results from this study demonstrate higher degree of local and systemic neutrophilic inflammation in patients with lung cancer (with or without COPD) than in patients with COPD.
PMCID: PMC3750549  PMID: 23919722
Lung cancer; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Neutrophils; Reactive oxygen species
2.  Adhesion molecules in subjects with COPD and healthy non-smokers: a cross sectional parallel group study 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):47.
The aim of the study was to investigate how the expression of adhesion molecules changes as neutrophils migrate from the circulation to the lung and if these changes differ between non-smoking subjects and smokers with and without COPD.
Non-smoking healthy subjects (n=22), smokers without (n=21) and with COPD (n=18) were included. Neutrophils from peripheral blood, sputum and bronchial biopsies were analysed for cell surface expression of adhesion molecules (CD11b, CD62L, CD162). Serum, sputum supernatant and BAL-fluid were analysed for soluble adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, -3, E-selectin, P-selectin, VCAM-1, PECAM-1).
Expression of CD11b was increased on circulating neutrophils from smokers with COPD. It was also increased on sputum neutrophils in both smokers groups, but not in non-smokers, as compared to circulating neutrophils.
Serum ICAM-1 was higher in the COPD group compared to the other two groups (p<0.05) and PECAM-1 was lower in smokers without COPD than in non-smoking controls and the COPD group (p<0.05). In BAL-fluid ICAM-1 was lower in the COPD group than in the other groups (p<0.05).
Thus, our data strongly support the involvement of a systemic component in COPD and demonstrate that in smokers neutrophils are activated to a greater extent at the point of transition from the circulation into the lungs than in non-smokers.
PMCID: PMC3669051  PMID: 23635004
Adhesion molecules; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Neutrophils; Sputum; Bronchoialveolar lavage fluid
3.  Measurement of C-reactive protein, procalcitonin and neutrophil elastase in saliva of COPD patients and healthy controls: correlation to self-reported wellbeing parameters 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):62.
Saliva is increasingly promoted as an alternative diagnostic bio-sample to blood; however its role in respiratory disease requires elucidation. Our aim was to investigate whether C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT) and neutrophil elastase (NE) could be measured in unstimulated whole saliva, and to explore differences between COPD patients and controls with normal lung function. We also determined the relationship between these salivary biomarkers and self-reported COPD-relevant metrics.
Salivary CRP, PCT and NE levels were measured at each of 3 visits over a 14-day period alongside spirometry and a daily self-assessment dairy in 143 subjects: 20 never-smokers and 25 smokers with normal spirometry; 98 COPD patients [GOLD Stage I, 16; Stage II, 32; Stage III, 39; Stage IV, 11]. Twenty-two randomly selected subjects provided simultaneous blood samples.
Levels of each salivary biomarker could distinguish between the above cohorts. Significant differences remained for salivary CRP and NE (p < 0.05) following adjustment for age, gender, sampling time, gum disease and total co-morbidities; but not for BMI except for salivary NE, which remained higher in smokers compared to non-smokers and stable COPD subjects (p < 0.001). Patients with acute COPD exacerbations had a median increase in all 3 salivary biomarkers (p < 0.001); CRP: median 5.74 ng/ml, [interquartile range (IQR) 2.86–12.25], PCT 0.38 ng/ml, [IQR 0.22–0.94], and NE 539 ng/ml, [IQR 112.25–1264]. In COPD patients, only salivary CRP and PCT levels correlated with breathing scores (r = 0.14, p < 0.02; r = 0.13, p < 0.03 respectively) and sputum features but not with activities of daily living. Salivary CRP and PCT concentrations strongly correlated with serum counterparts [r = 0.82, (95 % CI: 0.72–0.87), p < 0.001 by Spearman’s; and r = 0.53, (95 % CI: 0.33–0.69), p < 0.006 respectively]; salivary NE did not.
CRP, PCT and NE were reliably and reproducibly measured in saliva, providing clinically-relevant information on health status in COPD; additionally NE distinguished smoking status. All 3 salivary biomarkers increased during COPD exacerbations, with CRP and PCT correlating well with patient-derived clinical metrics. These results provide the conceptual basis for further development of saliva as a viable bio-sample in COPD monitoring and exacerbation management.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0219-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4451749  PMID: 26018813
Salivary biomarkers; C-reactive protein; Procalcitonin; Neutrophil elastase; COPD; COPD exacerbation; wellbeing parameters
4.  Determination of inflammatory biomarkers in patients with COPD: a comparison of different assays 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory pulmonary disorder with systemic inflammatory manifestations that are mediated by circulating acute-phase reactants. This study compared an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to a nephelometric technique for the measurement of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) and investigated how the choice of assay influenced the estimation of inflammation in patients with stable COPD.
CRP and SAA concentrations measured by ELISA and nephelometry in 88 patients with COPD and 45 control subjects were used to evaluate the performance of these methods in a clinical setting.
With both assays, the concentrations of CRP and SAA were higher in COPD patients than in controls after adjustment for age and sex. There was a moderate correlation between the values measured by ELISA and those measured by nephelometry (logCRP: r = 0.55, p < 0.001; logSAA: r = 0.40, p < 0.001). However, the concentrations of biomarkers determined by nephelometry were significantly higher than those obtained with ELISA for CRP (mean difference = 2.7 (9.4) mg/L) and SAA (mean difference = 0.31 (14.3) mg/L).
Although the serum CRP and SAA concentrations measured by ELISA and nephelometry correlated well in COPD patients, the ELISA values tended to be lower for CRP and SAA when compared with nephelometric measurements. International standardization of commercial kits is required before the predictive validity of inflammatory markers for patients with COPD can be effectively assessed in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3340310  PMID: 22463705
5.  C-reactive protein as a prognostic marker in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
The present study aimed to evaluate whether circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are a biomarker of systemic inflammation and a significant predictor of future chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) outcome. During the study, 116 patients with stable COPD and 35 age- and gender-matched healthy subjects with normal pulmonary function were observed. Patient follow-up was also performed to evaluate the strength of the associations between CRP levels and future outcomes. The observations from the present study showed that serum CRP levels were significantly higher in stable COPD patients than in control subjects (4.48±0.83 vs. 1.01±0.27 mg/l, respectively; P<0.05). In addition, it was identified that a serum CRP concentration of >3 mg/l is a poor prognostic variable of COPD compared with a CRP concentration of ≤3 mg/l [hazard ratio (HR), 2.71; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05–6.99; P<0.05]. A quantitative synthesis of four studies including 1,750 COPD patients was performed and statistically similar results were obtained (HR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.14–2.07; P<0.01). The present study showed that circulating CRP levels are higher in stable COPD patients and, therefore, may be used as a long-term predictor of future outcomes. These observations highlight the importance of high sensitivity CRP assays in patients with stable COPD.
PMCID: PMC3881036  PMID: 24396422
C-reactive protein; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; survival
6.  Systemic inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a population-based study 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):63.
Elevated circulating levels of several inflammatory biomarkers have been described in selected patient populations with COPD, although less is known about their population-based distribution. The aims of this study were to compare the levels of several systemic biomarkers between stable COPD patients and healthy subjects from a population-based sample, and to assess their distribution according to clinical variables.
This is a cross-sectional study design of participants in the EPI-SCAN study (40-80 years of age). Subjects with any other condition associated with an inflammatory process were excluded. COPD was defined as a post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC < 0.70. The reference group was made of non-COPD subjects without respiratory symptoms, associated diseases or prescription of medication. Subjects were evaluated with quality-of-life questionnaires, spirometry and 6-minute walk tests. Serum C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukins (IL-6 and IL-8), alpha1-antitrypsin, fibrinogen, albumin and nitrites/nitrates (NOx) were measured.
We compared 324 COPD patients and 110 reference subjects. After adjusting for gender, age, BMI and tobacco consumption, COPD patients showed higher levels of CRP (0.477 ± 0.023 vs. 0.376 ± 0.041 log mg/L, p = 0.049), TNF-α (13.12 ± 0.59 vs. 10.47 ± 1.06 pg/mL, p = 0.033), IL-8 (7.56 ± 0.63 vs. 3.57 ± 1.13 pg/ml; p = 0.033) and NOx (1.42 ± 0.01 vs. 1.36 ± 0.02 log nmol/l; p = 0.048) than controls. In COPD patients, serum concentrations of some biomarkers were related to severity and their exercise tolerance was related to serum concentrations of CRP, IL-6, IL-8, fibrinogen and albumin.
Our results provide population-based evidence that COPD is independently associated with low-grade systemic inflammation, with a different inflammatory pattern than that observed in healthy subjects.
PMCID: PMC2891677  PMID: 20500811
7.  Neutrophil adhesion molecules in experimental rhinovirus infection in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):72.
COPD exacerbations are associated with neutrophilic airway inflammation. Adhesion molecules on the surface of neutrophils may play a key role in their movement from blood to the airways. We analysed adhesion molecule expression on blood and sputum neutrophils from COPD subjects and non-obstructed smokers during experimental rhinovirus infections.
Blood and sputum were collected from 9 COPD subjects and 10 smoking and age-matched control subjects at baseline, and neutrophil expression of the adhesion molecules and activation markers measured using flow cytometry. The markers examined were CD62L and CD162 (mediating initial steps of neutrophil rolling and capture), CD11a and CD11b (required for firm neutrophil adhesion), CD31 and CD54 (involved in neutrophil transmigration through the endothelial monolayer) and CD63 and CD66b (neutrophil activation markers). Subjects were then experimentally infected with rhinovirus-16 and repeat samples collected for neutrophil analysis at post-infection time points.
At baseline there were no differences in adhesion molecule expression between the COPD and non-COPD subjects. Expression of CD11a, CD31, CD62L and CD162 was reduced on sputum neutrophils compared to blood neutrophils. Following rhinovirus infection expression of CD11a expression on blood neutrophils was significantly reduced in both subject groups. CD11b, CD62L and CD162 expression was significantly reduced only in the COPD subjects. Blood neutrophil CD11b expression correlated inversely with inflammatory markers and symptom scores in COPD subjects.
Following rhinovirus infection neutrophils with higher surface expression of adhesion molecules are likely preferentially recruited to the lungs. CD11b may be a key molecule involved in neutrophil trafficking in COPD exacerbations.
PMCID: PMC3726453  PMID: 23834268
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Exacerbations; Respiratory viruses; Neutrophils
8.  Lung density on high resolution computer tomography (HRCT) reflects degree of inflammation in smokers 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):23.
Smokers have increased cell concentration in the lower respiratory tract indicating a chronic inflammatory state, which in some individuals may lead to development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Computer tomography (CT) imaging provides means of quantifying pulmonary structure and early signs of disease. We investigated whether lung density on high resolution CT differs between smokers and never-smokers and if this were associated to intensity of inflammation.
Forty smoking volunteers with normal pulmonary function, 40 healthy never-smokers and 40 patients with COPD of GOLD stage I-II, were included. Mean lung attenuation and percentage of pixels in the lung with attenuation between −750 and −900 HU (percentage higher density spectrum (%HDS)) were calculated on inspiratory CT-scans. Markers of systemic inflammation in blood and cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were recorded.
Lung density expressed as %HDS was increased in smokers (44.0 ± 5.8%) compared to both never-smokers (38.3 ± 5.8%) and patients with COPD (39.1 ± 5.8%), (p < 0.001, for both). Females had denser lungs than males, which was dependent on body height. Cell concentration in BAL were correlated to lung density in smokers (r = 0.50, p < 0.001).
Lung density on CT is associated with cell concentration in BAL in smokers and may mirror an inflammatory response in the lung. Gender difference in lung density is dependent on height. In COPD with emphysema, loss of lung tissue may counterbalance the expected increase in density due to inflammation. The findings may help to interpret high resolution CT in the context of smoking and gender and highlight the heterogeneity of structural changes in COPD.
PMCID: PMC3944780  PMID: 24564813
Inflammation; Attenuation; Lung density; Smoking; CT; Lung function; Gender; Bronchoalveolar lavage
9.  Enhanced neutrophil response in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2001;56(6):432-437.
BACKGROUND—Neutrophils are likely to play a major role in the inflammatory response seen in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This study sought to address the hypothesis that an enhanced neutrophil response to proinflammatory agents in COPD may contribute to their recruitment and activation in the lungs.
METHODS—Circulating neutrophils were obtained from 10 patients with COPD, eight long term smokers with normal lung function, and eight healthy never smoking controls. The in vitro production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured by the NADPH oxidase method (respiratory burst) and the surface expression of several adhesion molecules (Mac-1, LFA-1 and L-selectin) was measured by flow cytometry. Measurements were obtained under basal conditions and after stimulation with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). mRNA levels of p22-phox (a subunit of NADPH oxidase) and Mac-1 (CD11b) were also determined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS—Patients with COPD showed enhanced respiratory burst compared with smokers with normal lung function, both under basal conditions (mean (SE) fluorescence intensity (MFI) 15.1 (0.5) v 11.6 (0.5); mean difference -3.4 (95% CI of the difference -5.1 to -1.8), p<0.01) and after PMA stimulation (MFI 210 (7) v 133 (10); mean difference -77 (95% CI of the difference -102 to -52), p<0.01). Mac-1 surface expression was also enhanced in patients with COPD, both under basal conditions (MFI 91 (5) v 45 (3); mean difference -46 (95% CI of the difference -61 to -31), p<0.001) and after stimulation with TNFα (MFI 340 (15) v 263 (11); mean difference -77 (95% CI of the difference -119 to -34), p=0.001). These differences were also apparent when patients with COPD were compared with non-smokers (p<0.05). The mRNA levels of p22-phox and Mac-1 (CD11b) were similar in patients with COPD and smokers with normal lung function, suggesting that the observed differences were due to post-transcriptional regulation.
CONCLUSIONS—These results demonstrate an enhanced neutrophil response to proinflammatory agents in patients with COPD which may contribute to their enhanced recruitment and activation in the lungs of these patients. These findings support those of other studies which have indicated that the neutrophil is likely to play a major role in the pathogenesis of this disease.

PMCID: PMC1746080  PMID: 11359957
10.  Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website:
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website:
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Tobacco smoking is the main risk factor for COPD. It is estimated that 50% of older smokers develop COPD and more than 80% of COPD-associated morbidity is attributed to tobacco smoking. According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, 38.5% of Ontarians who smoke have COPD. In patients with a significant history of smoking, COPD is usually present with symptoms of progressive dyspnea (shortness of breath), cough, and sputum production. Patients with COPD who smoke have a particularly high level of nicotine dependence, and about 30.4% to 43% of patients with moderate to severe COPD continue to smoke. Despite the severe symptoms that COPD patients suffer, the majority of patients with COPD are unable to quit smoking on their own; each year only about 1% of smokers succeed in quitting on their own initiative.
Smoking cessation is the process of discontinuing the practice of inhaling a smoked substance. Smoking cessation can help to slow or halt the progression of COPD. Smoking cessation programs mainly target tobacco smoking, but may also encompass other substances that can be difficult to stop smoking due to the development of strong physical addictions or psychological dependencies resulting from their habitual use.
Smoking cessation strategies include both pharmacological and nonpharmacological (behavioural or psychosocial) approaches. The basic components of smoking cessation interventions include simple advice, written self-help materials, individual and group behavioural support, telephone quit lines, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and antidepressants. As nicotine addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that usually requires several attempts to overcome, cessation support is often tailored to individual needs, while recognizing that in general, the more intensive the support, the greater the chance of success. Success at quitting smoking decreases in relation to:
a lack of motivation to quit,
a history of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 10 years,
a lack of social support, such as from family and friends, and
the presence of mental health disorders (such as depression).
Research Question
What are the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions compared with usual care for patients with COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on June 24, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations (1950 to June Week 3 2010), EMBASE (1980 to 2010 Week 24), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination for studies published between 1950 and June 2010. A single reviewer reviewed the abstracts and obtained full-text articles for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Data were extracted using a standardized data abstraction form.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language, full reports from 1950 to week 3 of June, 2010;
either randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, or non-RCTs with controls;
a proven diagnosis of COPD;
adult patients (≥ 18 years);
a smoking cessation intervention that comprised at least one of the treatment arms;
≥ 6 months’ abstinence as an outcome; and
patients followed for ≥ 6 months.
Exclusion Criteria
case reports
case series
Outcomes of Interest
≥ 6 months’ abstinence
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Nine RCTs were identified from the literature search. The sample sizes ranged from 74 to 5,887 participants. A total of 8,291 participants were included in the nine studies. The mean age of the patients in the studies ranged from 54 to 64 years. The majority of studies used the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD staging criteria to stage the disease in study subjects. Studies included patients with mild COPD (2 studies), mild-moderate COPD (3 studies), moderate–severe COPD (1 study) and severe–very severe COPD (1 study). One study included persons at risk of COPD in addition to those with mild, moderate, or severe COPD, and 1 study did not define the stages of COPD. The individual quality of the studies was high. Smoking cessation interventions varied across studies and included counselling or pharmacotherapy or a combination of both. Two studies were delivered in a hospital setting, whereas the remaining 7 studies were delivered in an outpatient setting. All studies reported a usual care group or a placebo-controlled group (for the drug-only trials). The follow-up periods ranged from 6 months to 5 years. Due to excessive clinical heterogeneity in the interventions, studies were first grouped into categories of similar interventions; statistical pooling was subsequently performed, where appropriate. When possible, pooled estimates using relative risks for abstinence rates with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. The remaining studies were reported separately.
Abstinence Rates
Table ES1 provides a summary of the pooled estimates for abstinence, at longest follow-up, from the trials included in this review. It also shows the respective GRADE qualities of evidence.
Summary of Results*
Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; NRT, nicotine replacement therapy.
Statistically significant (P < 0.05).
One trial used in this comparison had 2 treatment arms each examining a different antidepressant.
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, compared with usual care, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving intensive counselling or a combination of intensive counselling and NRT.
Based on limited and moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving NRT compared with placebo.
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving the antidepressant bupropion compared to placebo.
PMCID: PMC3384371  PMID: 23074432
11.  Ongoing airway inflammation in patients with COPD who do not currently smoke 
Thorax  2000;55(1):12-18.
BACKGROUND—Inflammatory changes in the airways in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are largely attributed to smoking, yet they may be present even if patients do not currently smoke. The differences in inflammatory cells and the factors contributing to these differences were examined in the airways of patients with COPD who do not currently smoke.
METHODS—Eighteen non-atopic subjects with COPD (14 men) of mean (SD) age 62 (8) years and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 59 (13)% predicted and 11 non-atopic healthy subjects (eight men) of mean (SD) age 58 (8) years, FEV1 104 (11)% predicted were studied. Sputum induction and bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and biopsies were performed.
RESULTS—Patients with COPD had more mucosal EG2+ cells (eosinophils) (median (range) 40 (0-190) versus 5 (0-40) cells/mm2, p = 0.049) and CD68+ cells (1115 (330-2920) versus 590 (450-1580) cells/mm2, p = 0.03), and a tendency towards more CD4+ but not CD8+ lymphocytes than healthy controls. Furthermore, patients with COPD had higher percentages of sputum neutrophils (77 (29-94) versus 36 (18-60)%, p = 0.001) and eosinophils (1.2 (0-8.5) versus 0.2 (0-3.1)%, p= 0.008), BAL fluid eosinophils (0.4 (0-1.7) versus 0.2 (0-0.5)%, p = 0.03), and higher concentrations of sputum eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP) (838 (115-23 760) versus 121 (35-218) ng/ml, p<0.001). Concentrations of ECP expressed per eosinophil were not higher. Patients with COPD with high mucosal EG2+ cell numbers also had high mucosal CD4+ cell numbers. Sputum eosinophilia was associated with a decrease in FEV1/VC and BAL fluid eosinophilia with a decrease in mucosal NP57+ cells (neutrophils).
CONCLUSIONS—Subjects with COPD who do not currently smoke have increased numbers of inflammatory cells. Eosinophils are increased in number in the airways in COPD but do not seem to be activated. The increased eosinophil numbers are probably due to recruitment as a result of ongoing inflammation. Macrophages and lymphocytes may play a part in this inflammation.

PMCID: PMC1745599  PMID: 10607796
12.  Inflammatory features of nasal mucosa in smokers with and without COPD 
Thorax  2004;59(4):303-307.
Background: To investigate whether nasal and bronchial inflammation coexists in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), nasal and bronchial biopsy specimens from seven control subjects, seven smokers without COPD, and 14 smokers with COPD were studied.
Methods: Nasal and bronchial biopsy specimens were taken from the same patients during bronchoscopy and squamous cell metaplasia and the thickness of the epithelium and basement membrane were measured. The numbers of eosinophils (EG2), neutrophils (elastase), macrophages (CD68), and CD8 T lymphocytes (CD8/144B) were assessed by immunohistochemistry.
Results: Smokers with and without COPD had squamous metaplasia in the nasal and bronchial epithelium. In all groups the thickness of the nasal epithelium was greater than that of the bronchial epithelium. The thickness of the basement membrane was similar in nasal and bronchial biopsy specimens from smokers with and without COPD, but was greater in the bronchi than in the nasal epithelium of controls. Eosinophil number was higher in the nasal and bronchial mucosa of smokers without COPD than in smokers with COPD or controls. Neutrophil number was higher in the nasal and bronchial mucosa of smokers with COPD than in smokers without COPD or controls. CD8 T lymphocyte numbers were similar in smokers with and without COPD and higher than in controls. There were fewer macrophages in nasal and bronchial biopsy specimens from smokers without COPD than in those with COPD.
Conclusion: Nasal and bronchial inflammation coexists in smokers and is characterised by infiltration of CD8 T lymphocytes. In smokers without COPD this feature is associated with an increased number of eosinophils, while in those with COPD it is linked to an increased number of neutrophils in both nasal and bronchial biopsy specimens.
PMCID: PMC1763801  PMID: 15047949
13.  Peripheral Blood T-Cell Populations in COPD, Asymptomatic Smokers and Healthy Non-Smokers in Indian subpopulation- A Pilot Study 
Background: COPD is a major global health problem affecting 4-10% of Indian adult male population. Immunological processes have been implicated in the pathogenesis of COPD. As compared to healthy smokers, COPD patients have airway inflammation indicated by the presence of CD8+ T cells in the lung. This predominant increase in CD8+ T cells in the lung may be reflected in the peripheral blood. In an attempt to understand why only some smokers develop COPD, we compared the peripheral T-cell markers in COPD patients with that of asymptomatic smokers, and healthy nonsmokers.
Methods: Twenty healthy non-smokers (HNS), 19 asymptomatic smokers (AS) and 21 COPD male patients (age and pack year-matched) were identified after clinical evaluation and spirometry. Blood CD3+, CD4+, CD8+ T-cell populations were measured.
Results: Smokers with COPD had severe airflow limitation (FVC, 69.8+16.7%; FEV1, 47.47+16.9%; FEV1/FVC, 53.1+13.3%). The BMI was found to be significantly lower among patients with COPD (19.1+4.8kg/m2) as compared to AS (23+4.3kg/m2) and HNS (23.7+4.0kg/m2) (p value = 0.003 HS).
The mean CD3+T-cell absolute count in COPD patients (1154.3+582.2), showed a marked decline as compared to that of AS (1251.9+491.6) and HNS (1424.9+352.2). The mean CD4+T-cell counts in COPD patients (652.7+340.5) were also lower when compared to AS (745.7+313.8) and HNS (832.5+220.7). The mean CD8+T-cell counts among COPD patients (424.7+264.3) were, similar to the counts observed among AS (426.9+193.2) and HNS (500.4+191). Though not statistically significant, the absolute counts of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes among COPD patients tended to be lower. No significant difference in the CD4+/CD8+ lymphocyte ratio between the patient groups was observed.
Conclusion: Our study indicates that BMI is related to the severity of COPD, hence proving a systemic component to its pathogenesis. However, we found similar percentages of CD8+Tcells in all the study groups suggesting that predominant CD8+ T cells in the airways may be due to its de novo origin rather than recruitment from blood. However, larger studies are needed to clarify the effect of disease severity, beedi smoking and ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC3708210  PMID: 23905115
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Smokers; Peripheral blood T cells; Autoimmune
14.  Predictors of cardiovascular disease in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a common comorbidity in patients with chronic airway obstruction, and is associated with systemic inflammation and airway obstruction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the predictors of CVD in two different conditions causing chronic airway obstruction, asthma and COPD.
Lung function tests, clinical and echocardiographic data were assessed in 229 consecutive patients, 100 with asthma and 129 with COPD. CVD was classified into: pressure overload (PO) and volume overload (VO). Sub-analysis of patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD) and pulmonary hypertension (PH) was also performed.
CVD was found in 185 patients (81%: 51% COPD and 30% asthmatics) and consisted of PO in 42% and of VO in 38% patients. COPD patients, as compared to asthmatics, had older age, more severe airway obstruction, higher prevalence of males, of smokers, and of CVD (91% vs 68%), either PO (46% vs 38%) or VO (45% vs 30%). CVD was associated with older age and more severe airway obstruction both in asthma and COPD. In the overall patients the predictive factors of CVD were age, COPD, and male sex; those of PO were COPD, BMI, VC, FEV1 and MEF50 and those of VO were age, VC and MEF50. In asthma, the predictors of CVD were VC, FEV1, FEV1 /VC%, and PaO2, those of PO were VC, FEV1 and FEV1 /VC%, while for VO there was no predictor. In COPD the predictors of CVD were age, GOLD class and sex, those of VO age, VC and MEF50, and that of PO was BMI. Sub-analysis showed that IHD was predicted by COPD, age, BMI and FEV1, while PH (found only in 25 COPD patients), was predicted by VO (present in 80% of the patients) and FEV1. In subjects aged 65 years or more the prevalence of CVD, PO and VO was similar in asthmatic and COPD patients, but COPD patients had higher prevalence of males, smokers, IHD, PH, lower FEV1 and higher CRP.
The results of this study indicate that cardiovascular diseases are frequent in patients with chronic obstructive disorders, particularly in COPD patients. The strongest predictors of CVD are age and airway obstruction. COPD patients have higher prevalence of ischemic heart disease and pulmonary hypertension. In the elderly the prevalence of PO and VO in asthma and COPD patients is similar.
PMCID: PMC3844573  PMID: 24004921
Airway obstruction; Asthma; Cardiovascular disease; COPD; Pressure overload; Volume overload
15.  Plasma homocysteine is elevated in COPD patients and is related to COPD severity 
Although recent studies have found that total plasma homocysteine (tHCY) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are both risk factors for cardiac disease, there have been few studies of plasma homocysteine levels in COPD patients. We tested the hypothesis that total plasma homocysteine (tHCY) would be elevated in patients diagnosed with COPD compared with controls.
We studied 29 COPD outpatients and 25 asymptomatic subjects (controls) over age 55 years with measurement of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) score, tHCY and serum C-reactive protein (sCRP).
There was no difference between controls vs. COPD patients in mean age or gender but mean (SD) FEV1 was 2.25 (0.77) vs 1.43 (0.60) L; FEV1% predicted 76.1 (17.2) vs 49.1 (16.3) p < 0.001 in both cases. Median (IQR) tHCY was 8.22 (6.63, 9.55) in controls vs 10.96 (7.56, 13.60) micromol/l for COPD, p = 0.006 and sCRP 0.89 (0.47, 2.55) vs 2.05 (0.86, 6.19) mg/l, p = 0.023. tHCY(log) was also higher in (r, p) smokers (0.448, 0.001), patients with low FEV1% (−0.397, 0.003), males (0.475, <0.001), but high SGRQ Total score (0.289, 0.034), and high sCRP (0.316, 0.038). tHCY(log) was independently related to (regression coefficient, p) sCRP(log) (0.087, 0.024), male gender (0.345, <0.001) and presence of COPD (0.194, 0.031). Median (IQR) tHCY GOLD Stage I and II 8.05 (7.28, 11.04), GOLD Stage III and IV: 11.83(9.30, 18.30); p = 0.023.
Plasma homocysteine is significantly elevated in COPD patients relative to age and sex-matched controls and is related to serum CRP and COPD severity.
PMCID: PMC2695192  PMID: 18229569
COPD; Homocysteine; CRP; SGRQ; FEV1
16.  Prevalence and correlates of osteoporosis in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients in India 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a syndrome of progressive airflow limitation caused by the abnormal inflammatory reaction of the airway and lung parenchyma. Osteoporosis is one of the major extrapulmonary manifestations of COPD. The, prevalence of osteoporosis in COPD patients in Indian population is unknown.
To study the prevalence of osteoporosis in COPD and to define various risk factors associated with reduced bone mineral density (BMD) in COPD.
Materials and Methods:
The study was done in the department of Pulmonary Medicine of a tertiary care hospital. All the diagnosed cases of COPD according to the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines were included in this study. The present study was a prospective study in for a period of 1 year. A brief history of the patients was taken, especially regarding duration of illness, number of exacerbations in the past 3 years, smoking in pack years, and history of steroid use (both systemic and inhaled steroids) after which cumulative dose of steroids was calculated. Spirometry was done in all these patients to stage the severity of COPD according to GOLD criteria. DEXA scan of the lumbar spine was done using bone densitometer to determine osteoporosis. A world Health Organization (WHO) criterion for definition of osteoporosis was applied and patients with T-score of > –2.5 standard deviation (SD) were diagnosed to have osteoporosis, –1 SD to –2.5 SD were diagnosed to have osteopenia and < –1 SD as normal. Statistical analysis for association of COPD with osteoporosis was done using chi-square test. Risk factors for osteoporosis were identified by univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis.
A total of 102 COPD patients were included in the study. Among these, 68 patients (66.6%) had osteoporosis and 20 patients (19.6%) had osteopenia. Majority (64.7%) of the patients who had osteoporosis had stage III and stage IV COPD disease. It was observed that as the severity grade of COPD increased, the risk of osteoporosis also increased. The bone mineral density (BMD) showed a significant difference among different stages of COPD. As the severity of the stage of COPD increased, BMD decreased. It was also observed that patients with lower body mass index (BMI) had higher prevalence of osteoporosis (37.3%) as compared to overweight patients. On univariate analysis, it was observed that risk factors for osteoporosis were female sex, higher number of exacerbations, BMI, and severity of COPD. After using multivariate logistic regression analysis, stage IV COPD (odds ratio (OR): 34.48, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.59–1,000, P < 0.02), number of acute exacerbations >3 (OR: 30.3, 95% CI: 4.74–200, P < 0.01), and steroid cumulative dose >1,000 mg (OR: 7.35, 95% CI: 0.92–58.5, P < 0.04) were observed to be significant risk factors for osteoporosis in COPD patients.
In the present study, the prevalence of osteoporosis was 66.6% and another 19.6% had osteopenia. As the severity of COPD increased, the risk of osteoporosis increased. GOLD stage III and stage IV patient had significantly lower BMD as compared to stage I and stage II of COPD disease. Stage IV COPD disease, use of oral or parenteral glucocorticoids, and repeated number of exacerbations were found to be independent risk factors for osteoporosis in COPD patients. Thus, high clinical suspicion and early diagnosis and treatment is required in the evaluation of osteoporosis in COPD patients so that the quality of life can be improved in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4129592  PMID: 25125807
COPD; correlates; DEXA scan; osteoporosis; repeated exacerbations; risk factors
17.  Neutrophilic inflammation and IL‐8 levels in induced sputum of alpha‐1‐antitrypsin PiMZ subjects 
Thorax  2005;61(2):129-133.
Severe alpha‐1‐antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), due to homozygosity for the protease inhibitor (Pi) Z allele, is a genetic risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a previous study the sputum of severe AATD subjects with airflow obstruction showed a pattern of cellular inflammation similar to COPD patients. It is uncertain whether heterozygotes for the Z allele or intermediate deficiency (PiMZ) have an increased risk of developing COPD.
Sputum cell counts and the supernatant level of the neutrophil chemoattractant interleukin (IL)‐8 were investigated by sputum induction in 10 non‐smoker asymptomatic PiMZ subjects with normal pulmonary function, 10 patients with stable COPD, and 10 age matched normal subjects. Data are expressed as mean (SD).
The mean (SD) number of neutrophils was significantly higher (p<0.01) in the sputum of PiMZ subjects (84.5 (22.2) ×104/ml) and patients with COPD (126.9 (18.8) ×104/ml) than in matched normal subjects (55.0 (8.7) ×104/ml). IL‐8 levels were increased in PiMZ subjects (828.5 (490.6) ng/ml; median 1003.0 ng/ml; range 1260–100 ng/ml) and in COPD patients (882.5 (524.3) ng/ml; median 934.9 ng/ml; range 1506–258 mg/ml) compared with normal subjects (3.5 (0.5) ng/ml; median 3.5 ng/ml; range 4.5–2.5 ng/ml). There was a significant positive correlation between IL‐8 supernatant concentration and neutrophil count in PiMZ subjects (p = 0.036; r = 0.66). An inverse correlation was observed between the percentage of neutrophils and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (% predicted) in patients with COPD (p = 0.04; r = −0.43).
These findings indicate that PiMZ subjects without airflow obstruction may have an IL‐8 related neutrophilic inflammation in the airways, similar to stable COPD patients, suggesting an increased risk of developing pulmonary changes.
PMCID: PMC2104580  PMID: 16284217
α1‐antitrypsin deficiency; induced sputum; airway inflammation; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
18.  A new inflammation marker of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–adiponectin 
This study was undertaken to measure the concentration of adiponectin (APN) in serum and induced sputum in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD during acute exacerbation (AECOPD) and at stable stage and to determine the role of APN as a marker of inflammation in the pathogenesis of COPD.
All the patients in this prospective study were enrolled from October 2008 to October 2009, including 30 male AECOPD patients from the emergency department, 30 male stable COPD patients from the department of respiratory diseases, and 30 healthy non-smoking male controls from the department of medical examination. The serum and induced sputum were collected from each patient. All of the patients had normal weight (BMI range 18.5-24.9 kg/m2). Patients with severe bronchial asthma, bronchiectasis or autoimmune disease were excluded. Cell count and classification was performed for the induced sputum. The concentrations of APN, IL-8, IL-6 and TNF-α were measured by ELISA. Pulmonary function was tested among the three groups. Comparisons between the groups were conducted by Student’s t test, ANOVA analysis or nonparametric test. Correlation analysis was carried out by Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient test or Spearman’s rank-order correlation coefficient test.
The concentrations of APN in the serum or induced sputum in AECOPD patients were significantly higher than those in stable COPD patients or healthy non-smoking controls (P<0.01). The concentration of APN in stable COPD patients was significantly higher than that in healthy non-smoking controls (P<0.01). For the AECOPD patients, APN was positively correlated with IL-8 and TNF-α in the serum and induced sputum (r=0.739, 0.734, 0.852, 0.857 respectively, P<0.05). For the stable COPD patients, APN was also positively correlated with IL-8 and TNF-α in the serum and induced sputum (r=0.751, 0.659, 0.707, 0.867 respectively, P<0.05). In addition, for the AECOPD patients, APN was positively correlated with the percentage of neutrophils in the induced sputum (r=0.439, P<0.05).
APN is involved in the process of systematic and airway inflammation of COPD. This process is related to neutrophils in the airway, IL-8 and TNF-α. APN could be used as a new marker for inflammation of COPD.
PMCID: PMC4129679  PMID: 25214966
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Serum; Induced sputum; Adiponectin; Neutrophil; Interleukin-8; Tumor necrosis factor-a; Interleukin-6
19.  Sputum chemotactic activity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: effect of α1–antitrypsin deficiency and the role of leukotriene B4 and interleukin 8 
Thorax  2002;57(8):709-714.
Background: Neutrophil recruitment to the airway is thought to be an important component of continuing inflammation and progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), particularly in the presence of severe α1–antitrypsin (α1–AT) deficiency. However, the chemoattractant nature of secretions from these patients has yet to be clarified.
Methods: The chemotactic activity of spontaneous sputum from patients with stable COPD, with (n=11) and without (n=11) α1–AT deficiency (PiZ), was assessed using the under-agarose assay. The contribution of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and interleukin 8 (IL-8) to the chemotactic activity was examined using an LTB4 receptor antagonist (BIIL 315 ZW) and an IL-8 monoclonal antibody, respectively.
Results: Sputum neutrophil chemotactic activity (expressed as % n-formylmethionyl leucylphenylalanine (fMLP) control) was significantly higher in patients with α1–AT deficiency (mean (SE) 63.4 (8.9)% v 36.7 (5.5)%; mean difference 26.7% (95% CI 4.9 to 48.4), p<0.05). The mean (SE) contribution of both LTB4 and IL-8 (expressed as % fMLP control) was also significantly higher in α1–AT deficient patients than in patients with COPD with normal levels of α1–AT (LTB4: 31.9 (6.3)% v 18.0 (3.7)%; mean difference 13.9% (95% CI –1.4 to 29.1), p<0.05; IL-8: 24.1 (5.2)% v 8.1 (1.2)%; mean difference 15.9% (95% CI 4.7 to 27.2), p<0.05). When all the subjects were considered together the mean (SE) contribution of LTB4 (expressed as % total chemotactic activity) was significantly higher than IL-8 (46.8 (3.5)% v 30.8 (4.6)%; mean difference 16.0% (95% CI 2.9 to 29.2), p<0.05). This difference was not significantly influenced by α1–AT phenotype (p=0.606).
Conclusions: These results suggest that the bronchial secretions of COPD patients with α1–AT deficiency have increased neutrophil chemotactic activity. This relates to the increased levels of IL-8 and, in particular LTB4, which accounted most of the sputum chemotactic activity in the patients with COPD as a whole. Increased chemotactic activity, together with inhibitor deficiency, may contribute to the more rapid disease progression seen in α1–AT deficiency via increased neutrophil recruitment and release of neutrophil elastase.
PMCID: PMC1746407  PMID: 12149532
20.  A cross-sectional study of the prevalence and associations of iron deficiency in a cohort of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
BMJ Open  2015;5(7):e007911.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Iron deficiency, with or without anaemia, is associated with other chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, where it predicts a worse outcome. However, the prevalence of iron deficiency in COPD is unknown. This observational study aimed to determine the prevalence of iron deficiency in COPD and associations with differences in clinical phenotype.
University hospital outpatient clinic.
113 adult patients (65% male) with COPD diagnosed according to GOLD criteria (forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1): forced vital capacity (FVC) ratio <0·70 and FEV1 <80% predicted); with age-matched and sex-matched control group consisting of 57 healthy individuals.
Main outcome measures
Prevalence of iron deficiency, defined as: any one or more of (1) soluble transferrin receptor >28.1 nmol/L; (2) transferrin saturation <16% and (3) ferritin <12 µg/L. Severity of hypoxaemia, including resting peripheral arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) and nocturnal oximetry; C reactive protein (CRP); FEV1; self-reported exacerbation rate and Shuttle Walk Test performance.
Iron deficiency was more common in patients with COPD (18%) compared with controls (5%). In the COPD cohort, CRP was higher in patients with iron deficiency (median 10.5 vs 4.0 mg/L, p<0.001), who were also more hypoxaemic than their iron-replete counterparts (median resting SpO2 92% vs 95%, p<0.001), but haemoglobin concentration did not differ. Patients with iron deficiency had more self-reported exacerbations and a trend towards worse exercise tolerance.
Non-anaemic iron deficiency is common in COPD and appears to be driven by inflammation. Iron deficiency associates with hypoxaemia, an excess of exacerbations and, possibly, worse exercise tolerance, all markers of poor prognosis. Given that it has been shown to be beneficial in other chronic diseases, intravenous iron therapy should be explored as a novel therapeutic option in COPD.
PMCID: PMC4499677  PMID: 26150144
21.  Association between markers of emphysema and more severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2006;61(12):1037-1042.
The predominant emphysema phenotype is associated with more severe airflow limitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A study was undertaken to investigate whether COPD patients, with or without emphysema quantitatively confirmed by high resolution computed tomography (HRCT), have different COPD severity as assessed by the BODE index (body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnoea, exercise performance) and inspiratory capacity to total lung capacity ratio (IC/TLC), and by different biological markers of lung parenchymal destruction.
Twenty six outpatients with COPD and eight healthy non‐smokers were examined. Each subject underwent HRCT scanning, pulmonary function tests, cell counts, and measurements of neutrophil elastase, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)‐9 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)‐1 in induced sputum, as well as measurement of desmosine, a marker of elastin degradation in urine, plasma and sputum.
Patients with HRCT confirmed emphysema had a higher BODE index and lower IC/TLC ratio than subjects without HRCT confirmed emphysema and controls. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity ratio, and carbon monoxide transfer coefficient were lower, whereas the number of eosinophils, MMP‐9, and the MMP‐9/TIMP‐1 ratio in sputum were higher in patients with emphysema. In COPD patients the number of sputum eosinophils was the biological variable that correlated positively with the HRCT score of emphysema (p = 0.04).
These results suggest that COPD associated with HRCT confirmed emphysema is characterised by more severe lung function impairment, more intense airway inflammation and, possibly, more serious systemic dysfunction than COPD not associated with HRCT confirmed emphysema.
PMCID: PMC2117071  PMID: 16769715
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; biological markers; outcomes
22.  IL6 and CRP haplotypes are associated with COPD risk and systemic inflammation: a case-control study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:23.
Elevated circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6 and fibrinogen (FG) have been repeatedly associated with many adverse outcomes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To date, it remains unclear whether and to what extent systemic inflammation is primary or secondary in the pathogenesis of COPD.
The aim of this study was to examine the association between haplotypes of CRP, IL6 and FGB genes, systemic inflammation, COPD risk and COPD-related phenotypes (respiratory impairment, exercise capacity and body composition).
Eighteen SNPs in three genes, representing optimal haplotype-tagging sets, were genotyped in 355 COPD patients and 195 healthy smokers. Plasma levels of CRP, IL-6 and FG were measured in the total study group. Differences in haplotype distributions were tested using the global and haplotype-specific statistics.
Raised plasma levels of CRP, IL-6 and fibrinogen were demonstrated in COPD patients. However, COPD population was very heterogeneous: about 40% of patients had no evidence of systemic inflammation (CRP < 3 mg/uL or no inflammatory markers in their top quartile). Global test for haplotype effect indicated association of CRP gene and CRP plasma levels (P = 0.0004) and IL6 gene and COPD (P = 0.003). Subsequent analysis has shown that IL6 haplotype H2, associated with an increased COPD risk (p = 0.004, OR = 4.82; 1.64 to 4.18), was also associated with very low CRP levels (p = 0.0005). None of the genes were associated with COPD-related phenotypes.
Our findings suggest that common genetic variation in CRP and IL6 genes may contribute to heterogeneity of COPD population associated with systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2660301  PMID: 19272152
23.  Increased serum levels of lipocalin-1 and -2 in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Despite a number of studies on biomarkers in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), only a few disease-related markers have been identified, yet we still have no satisfactory markers specific to innate immune system and neutrophil activation, which is essential in airway inflammation in COPD. Recent biological studies indicated that lipocalins (LCNs) might be involved in airway inflammation and innate immunity; however, results from available studies on the association of LCNs with COPD are not consistent. We carried out a multicenter prospective observational cohort study to investigate the differences in serum levels of LCN1 and LCN2 between subjects with COPD (n=58) and healthy controls (n=29). Several validated inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, and interleukin-8, were measured. The correlation of LCN1 and LCN2 with clinical features such as smoking habits, lung function, symptoms, and disease category was also analyzed. When comparing with healthy controls, serum levels of LCN1 (66.35±20.26 ng/mL versus 41.16±24.19 ng/mL, P<0.001) and LCN2 (11.29±3.92 ng/mL versus 6.09±5.13 ng/mL, P<0.001) were both elevated in subjects with COPD after adjusting for age, sex, smoking habits, and inflammatory biomarkers. Smoking history and tobacco exposure, as quantified by pack-year, had no impact on systemic expressions of LCN1 and LCN2 in our study. Blood levels of LCN1 and LCN2, respectively, were negatively correlated to COPD Assessment Test and Modified Medical British Research Council score (P<0.001). Disease category by Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease grade 1–4 or group A–D was not associated with levels of LCNs. Patient-reported exacerbations and body mass index were also tested, but no relationship with LCNs was found. In summary, serum concentrations of LCN1 and LCN2 were both elevated in patients with COPD, with their levels correlating to COPD Assessment Test and Modified Medical British Research Council score. These findings warrant large-scale and longitudinal studies to validate LCNs as circulating biomarkers for COPD.
PMCID: PMC4043430  PMID: 24920892
lipocalin-1; lipocalin-2; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; biomarkers
24.  Inflammatory cytokine response to exercise in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficient COPD patients ‘on’ or ‘off’ augmentation therapy 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:106.
There is still limited information on systemic inflammation in alpha-1-antitrypsin-deficient (AATD) COPD patients and what effect alpha-1-antitrypsin augmentation therapy and/or exercise might have on circulating inflammatory cytokines. We hypothesized that AATD COPD patients on augmentation therapy (AATD + AUG) would have lower circulating and skeletal muscle inflammatory cytokines compared to AATD COPD patients not receiving augmentation therapy (AATD-AUG) and/or the typical non-AATD (COPD) patient. We also hypothesized that cytokine response to exercise would be lower in AATD + AUG compared to AATD-AUG or COPD subjects.
Arterial and femoral venous concentration and skeletal muscle expression of TNFα, IL-6, IL-1β and CRP were measured at rest, during and up to 4-hours after 50% maximal 1-hour knee extensor exercise in all COPD patient groups, including 2 additional groups (i.e. AATD with normal lung function, and healthy age-/activity-matched controls).
Circulating CRP was higher in AATD + AUG (4.7 ± 1.6 mg/dL) and AATD-AUG (3.3 ± 1.2 mg/dL) compared to healthy controls (1.5 ± 0.3 mg/dL, p < 0.05), but lower in AATD compared to non-AATD-COPD patients (6.1 ± 2.6 mg/dL, p < 0.05). TNFα, IL-6 and IL-1β were significantly increased by 1.7-, 1.7-, and 4.7-fold, respectively, in non-AATD COPD compared to AATD COPD (p < 0.05), and 1.3-, 1.7-, and 2.2-fold, respectively, compared to healthy subjects (p < 0.05). Skeletal muscle TNFα was on average 3–4 fold greater in AATD-AUG compared to the other groups (p < 0.05). Exercise showed no effect on these cytokines in any of our patient groups.
These data show that AATD COPD patients do not experience the same chronic systemic inflammation and exhibit reduced inflammation compared to non-AATD COPD patients. Augmentation therapy may help to improve muscle efflux of TNFα and reduce muscle TNFα concentration, but showed no effect on IL-6, IL-1β or CRP.
PMCID: PMC4091645  PMID: 24975928
Tumor necrosis factor-α; C-reactive protein; Skeletal muscle; Emphysema; Inflammation
25.  Increased oxidative stress in asymptomatic current chronic smokers and GOLD stage 0 COPD 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):69.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with increased oxidative and nitrosative stress. The aim of our study was to assess the importance of these factors in the airways of healthy smokers and symptomatic smokers without airway obstruction, i.e. individuals with GOLD stage 0 COPD.
Exhaled NO (FENO) and induced sputum samples were collected from 22 current smokers (13 healthy smokers without any respiratory symptoms and 9 with symptoms i.e. stage 0 COPD) and 22 healthy age-matched non-smokers (11 never smokers and 11 ex-smokers). Sputum cell differential counts, and expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), myeloperoxidase (MPO), nitrotyrosine and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) were analysed from cytospins by immunocytochemistry. Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and lactoferrin were measured from sputum supernatants by ELISA.
FENO was significantly decreased in smokers, mean (SD) 11.0 (6.7) ppb, compared to non-smokers, 22.9 (10.0), p < 0.0001. Induced sputum showed increased levels of neutrophils (p = 0.01) and elevated numbers of iNOS (p = 0.004), MPO (p = 0.003), nitrotyrosine (p = 0.003), and 4-HNE (p = 0.03) positive cells in smokers when compared to non-smokers. Sputum lactoferrin levels were also higher in smokers than in non-smokers (p = 0.02). Furthermore, we noted four negative correlations between FENO and 1) total neutrophils (r = -0.367, p = 0.02), 2) positive cells for iNOS (r = -0.503, p = 0.005), 3) MPO (r = -0.547, p = 0.008), and 4) nitrotyrosine (r = -0.424, p = 0.03). However, no major differences were found between never smokers and ex-smokers or between healthy smokers and stage 0 COPD patients.
Our results clearly indicate that several markers of oxidative/nitrosative stress are increased in current cigarette smokers compared to non-smokers and no major differences can be observed in these biomarkers between non-symptomatic smokers and subjects with GOLD stage 0 COPD.
PMCID: PMC1524947  PMID: 16646959

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