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1.  Diminished ICAM-1 Expression and Impaired Pulmonary Clearance of Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae in a Mouse Model of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease/Emphysema▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(11):4959-4967.
The airways of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are continually colonized with bacterial opportunists like nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), and a wealth of evidence indicates that changes in bacterial populations within the lung can influence the severity of COPD. In this study, we used a murine model for COPD/emphysema to test the hypothesis that COPD affects pulmonary clearance. Mice were treated with a pulmonary bolus of elastase, and as reported previously, the lungs of these mice were pathologically similar to those with COPD/emphysema at ∼1 month posttreatment. Pulmonary clearance of NTHi was significantly impaired in elastase-treated versus mock-treated mice. While histopathologic analysis revealed minimal differences in localized lung inflammation between the two groups, lower levels of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) were observed for the airway epithelial surface of elastase-treated mice than for those of control mice. Following infection, elastase-treated mice had lung pathology consistent with pneumonia for as long as 72 h postinfection, whereas at the same time point, mock-treated mice had cleared NTHi and showed little apparent pathology. Large aggregates of bacteria were observed within damaged lung tissue of the elastase-treated mice, whereas sparse individual bacteria were observed in lungs of mock-treated mice at the same time point postinfection. Additional infection studies showed that NTHi mutants with biofilm defects were less persistent in the elastase-treated mice than the parent strain. These findings establish a model for COPD-related infections and support the hypotheses that ICAM-1 promotes clearance of NTHi. Furthermore, the data indicate that NTHi may form biofilms within the context of COPD-related infections.
PMCID: PMC2573371  PMID: 18794286
2.  A unique protein profile of peripheral neutrophils from COPD patients does not reflect cytokine-induced protein profiles of neutrophils in vitro 
Inflammation, both local and systemic, is a hallmark of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Inflammatory mediators such as TNFα and GM-CSF are secreted by lung epithelium, alveolar macrophages and other inflammatory cells and are thought to be important contributors in the pathogenesis of COPD. Indeed, neutrophils are activated by these cytokines and these cells are one of the major inflammatory cell types recruited to the pulmonary compartment of COPD patients. Furthermore, these inflammatory mediators are found in the peripheral blood of COPD patients and, therefore, we hypothesized that TNFα/GM-CSF-induced protein profiles can be found in peripheral neutrophils of COPD patients.
Using fluorescence 2-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis we investigated differentially regulated proteins in peripheral neutrophils from COPD patients and healthy age-matched control subjects. Furthermore, protein profiles from COPD patients were compared with those of neutrophils of healthy age-matched controls that were stimulated with TNFα and/or GM-CSF in vitro. Protein gels were compared using DeCyder 7.0 software.
We identified 7 significantly regulated protein spots between peripheral neutrophils from COPD patients and age-matched healthy control subjects. Stimulation of peripheral neutrophils with TNFα, GM-CSF or TNFα + GM-CSF in vitro resulted in 13, 20 and 22 regulated protein spots, respectively. However, these cytokine-induced protein differences did not correspond with the protein differences found in neutrophils from COPD patients.
These results show that neutrophils from COPD patients have a unique protein profile compared to neutrophils from healthy age-matched controls. Furthermore, the neutrophil profiles of COPD patients do not reflect putative dominant signals induced by TNFα, GM-CSF or their combination. Our results indicate that systemic neutrophil responses in COPD patients are caused by a unique but subtle interplay between multiple inflammatory signals.
PMCID: PMC3176249  PMID: 21896197
3.  Chronic airflow obstruction and markers of systemic inflammation: Results from the BOLD study in Iceland 
Respiratory medicine  2009;103(10):1548-1553.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by an irreversible chronic airflow obstruction and by an accelerated decline in lung function. Elevated circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), both markers of systemic inflammation, have been found in COPD. Their possible associations with chronic airflow obstruction have mostly been evaluated in highly selected patient samples. Our objective was to evaluate the association between postbronchodilator lung function CRP and IL-6 in a randomly selected sample of the Icelandic population, 40 years and older, while adjusting for gender, age, smoking, and body weight.
Serum CRP and IL-6 values were measured among participants in the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study.
Of the 938 subjects invited a total of 403 men and 355 women participated (response rate 81%) in the study. Their mean age (±SD) was 57.7 (±12.7) years. Both CRP and IL-6 were independently related to lower FEV1 and FVC values. Individuals in the highest quartiles of CRP and IL-6 had a 7.5% and 3.9%, respectively, lower FEV1% than predicted after adjustment for smoking, age, and body weight. High CRP levels were more strongly related to lower FEV1 levels in men (−11.4%) than in women ( −0.4%).
In a random population-based sample both CRP and IL-6 were significantly related to lower spirometric values. The association with CRP was stronger in men than in women. This finding underscores the possible importance of systemic inflammation in irreversible airflow limitation.
PMCID: PMC3334275  PMID: 19427181
Airflow obstruction; Systemic inflammation; Cytokines; C-reactive protein; IL-6
4.  Association between markers of emphysema and more severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2006;61(12):1037-1042.
The predominant emphysema phenotype is associated with more severe airflow limitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A study was undertaken to investigate whether COPD patients, with or without emphysema quantitatively confirmed by high resolution computed tomography (HRCT), have different COPD severity as assessed by the BODE index (body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnoea, exercise performance) and inspiratory capacity to total lung capacity ratio (IC/TLC), and by different biological markers of lung parenchymal destruction.
Twenty six outpatients with COPD and eight healthy non‐smokers were examined. Each subject underwent HRCT scanning, pulmonary function tests, cell counts, and measurements of neutrophil elastase, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)‐9 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)‐1 in induced sputum, as well as measurement of desmosine, a marker of elastin degradation in urine, plasma and sputum.
Patients with HRCT confirmed emphysema had a higher BODE index and lower IC/TLC ratio than subjects without HRCT confirmed emphysema and controls. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity ratio, and carbon monoxide transfer coefficient were lower, whereas the number of eosinophils, MMP‐9, and the MMP‐9/TIMP‐1 ratio in sputum were higher in patients with emphysema. In COPD patients the number of sputum eosinophils was the biological variable that correlated positively with the HRCT score of emphysema (p = 0.04).
These results suggest that COPD associated with HRCT confirmed emphysema is characterised by more severe lung function impairment, more intense airway inflammation and, possibly, more serious systemic dysfunction than COPD not associated with HRCT confirmed emphysema.
PMCID: PMC2117071  PMID: 16769715
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; biological markers; outcomes
5.  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Does gender really matter? 
Limited data is available on the clinical expression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from India. The impact of gender on expression of COPD has received even less attention. Apart from tobacco smoke, indoor air pollution, especially from biomass fuel may play an important role in development of COPD in women.
Materials and Methods:
Seven hundred and two patients of COPD were studied regarding the etiological and risk factors leading to COPD, gender-related differences in clinical presentation, radiological expression of COPD and the co-morbidities in COPD.
Tobacco smoke in the form of beedi smoking was the predominant smoke exposure in males, whereas smoke from biofuel burning was the predominant exposure in females. As compared to males, females were younger, reported more dyspnea, more severe bronchial obstruction, more exacerbations, and exhibited higher prevalence of systemic features. Also, females smoked less and had lesser incidence of productive cough, lower body mass index, lesser co-morbidities and less number of hospital admissions as compared to males. Males were more likely than females to have an emphysema-predominant phenotype, while airway-predominant disease was more common among females.
The current study shows that gender-related differences do exist in COPD patients. Understanding these differences in etiological agent and clinical picture will help early diagnosis of COPD in females.
PMCID: PMC3213711  PMID: 22084538
Biomass fuel; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; gender; indoor pollution; smoking
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  Relationship between airway inflammation and the frequency of exacerbations in patients with smoking related COPD 
Thorax  2001;56(1):36-41.
BACKGROUND—Patients with more frequent exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have increased bronchial inflammation. Airway inflammation was measured in patients who had been thoroughly investigated with full pulmonary function testing, thoracic HRCT scanning, and sputum microbiology to examine further the relationship between exacerbation frequency and bronchial inflammation.
METHODS—Airway inflammation (spontaneous sputum sol phase myeloperoxidase (MPO), elastase, leukotriene (LT)B4, interleukin (IL)-8, secretory leukoprotenase inhibitor (SLPI), protein leakage) and serum levels of C reactive protein (CRP) were compared in 40 patients with stable, smoking related COPD, divided into those with frequent (⩾3/year) or infrequent (⩽2/year) exacerbations according to the number of primary care consultations during the preceding year. The comparisons were repeated after excluding eight otherwise clinically indistinguishable patients who had tubular bronchiectasis on the HRCT scan.
RESULTS—Patients with frequent (n=12) and infrequent (n=28) exacerbations were indistinguishable in terms of their clinical, pulmonary function, and sputum characteristics, CRP concentrations, and all of their bronchial inflammatory parameters (p>0.05). The patients without evidence of tubular bronchiectasis (n=32) were equally well matched but the sputum concentrations of SLPI were significantly lower in the frequent exacerbators (n=8) in this subset analysis (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS—There are several clinical features that directly influence bronchial inflammation in COPD. When these were carefully controlled for, patients with more frequent reported exacerbations had lower sputum concentrations of SLPI. This important antiproteinase is also known to possess antibacterial and antiviral activity. Further studies are required into the nature of recurrent exacerbations and, in particular, the regulation and role of SLPI in affected individuals.

PMCID: PMC1745913  PMID: 11120902
11.  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
12.  Correlation of Plasma Protein Carbonyls and C-Reactive Protein with GOLD Stage Progression in COPD Patients 
Oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To investigate the correlation between the progression of COPD and plasma biomarkers of chronic inflammation and oxidative injury, blood samples were obtained from healthy volunteers (HV, n = 14) and stabilized COPD patients. The patients were divided into three groups according to their GOLD stage (II, n = 34; III, n = 18; IV, n = 20). C-reactive protein (CRP), protein carbonyls (PC), malondialdehyde (MDA), susceptible lipoperoxidation of plasma substrates (SLPS), and myeloperoxidase activity (MPO) were measured. The plasma concentration of SLPS was measured as the amount of MDA generated by a metal ion-catalyzed reaction in vitro. PC, SLPS, and CPR were increased significantly (p < 0.001) in COPD patients when compared to HV. MDA concentrations and MPO activities were not significantly different from those of the HV group. In conclusion, increased oxidation of lipids and proteins resulting in a progressive increase in the amount of total plasma carbonyls and oxidative stress the presence of oxidative stress during COPD progression, concomitant with an increased oxidation of lipids and proteins resulting in a progressive and significant increase in the amount of total carbonyls formed from lipid-derived aldehydes and direct amino acid side chain oxidation in plasma, may serve as a biomarker and independent monitor of COPD progression and oxidative stress injury.
PMCID: PMC2684712  PMID: 19461898
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); oxidative stress; protein carbonyls; reactive oxygen species (ROS); lipoperoxidation of plasma substrates (SLPS).
13.  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
14.  Candidate Genes for Respiratory Disease Associated with Markers of Inflammation and Endothelial Dysfunction in Elderly Men 
Atherosclerosis  2009;206(2):480-485.
Inflammation and endothelial dysfunction are important risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). We hypothesized that candidate genes selected for a study of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) are associated with markers of systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in an aging population.
Plasma levels of circulating C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) were obtained from 679 elderly male participants in the Normative Aging Study. Blood samples were analyzed for 202 SNPs in 25 candidate genes and included both haplotype tagSNPs and functional SNPs based on literature review. Data were stratified into discovery and replication cohorts for 2-stage analysis. In the discovery cohort, the relationship between biomarker level and genotype was analyzed using linear mixed effects with random intercepts for each subject and models were adjusted for age and BMI. A positive outcome in the discovery cohort was defined as a p-value <0.1 for the SNP. SNPs that met this criterion were analyzed in the replication cohort and confirmed for those which met a criterion of significance (p<0.025).
In our analyses, SNPs in the CRHR1, ITPR2, and VDR genes met criteria of significant effects.
Our results suggest that genes thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of asthma and COPD may influence levels of serum markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction via novel SNP associations which have not previously been associated with cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2882878  PMID: 19409562
biomarkers; cardiovascular disease; SNPs; inflammation; endothelial dysfunction
15.  The importance of C-reactive protein and other inflammatory markers in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease  
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition associated with inflammation in lungs and airways. The impacts of inflammatory process is not limited to respiratory system but extend to extrapulmonary organs with resultant complications involving endocrine, metabolic and cardiovascular systems. The extent and severity of inflammation may be partly estimated by serum measurement of several markers including serum CRP. Assessment of these markers can be useful not only for diagnostic or prognostic purpose but also for treatment evaluation of COPD patients. However, due to inconsistent results of published studies, at present the diagnostic or prognostic importance of inflammatory markers as well as their values in the evaluation of treatment outcome has not been accepted by all investigators. and so their routine applications require further studies. This review presents data in regard to the status of inflammatory markers at different stages of COPD patients and evaluates their predictive ability as well as their values in differential diagnosis or treatment evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3861908  PMID: 24358439
COPD; CRP; ESR; Inflammation; Markers of inflammation
16.  Gender Differences in Symptoms and Care Delivery for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Journal of Women's Health  2012;21(12):1267-1274.
Morbidity and mortality for women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are increasing, and little is known about gender differences in perception of COPD care.
Surveys were administered to a convenience sample of COPD patients to evaluate perceptions about symptoms, barriers to care, and sources of information about COPD.
Data on 295 female and 273 male participants were analyzed. With similar frequencies, women and men reported dyspnea and rated their health as poor/very poor. Although more women than men reported annual household income <$30,000, no significant gender differences in frequency of health insurance, physician visits, or ever having had spirometry were detected. In adjusted models (1) women were more likely to report COPD diagnostic delay (odds ratio [OR] 1.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-2.45, p=0.01), although anxiety (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.10-3.06, p=0.02) and history of exacerbations (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.08-2.37, p=0.01) were also significant predictors, (2) female gender was associated with difficulty reaching one's physician (OR 2.54, 95% CI 1.33-4.86, p=0.004), as was prior history of exacerbations (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.21-4.20, p=0.01), and (3) female gender (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.10-4.21, p=0.02) was the only significant predictor for finding time spent with their physician as insufficient.
Significant gender-related differences in the perception of COPD healthcare delivery exist, revealing an opportunity to better understand what influences these attitudes and to improve care for both men and women.
PMCID: PMC3518541  PMID: 23210491
17.  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
18.  Bronchial inflammation in chronic bronchitis assessed by measurement of cell products in bronchial lavage fluid. 
Thorax  1995;50(4):360-365.
BACKGROUND--Bronchial inflammation in chronic bronchitis has not been characterised as well as in asthma. The present study was undertaken to assess whether a characteristic pattern of bronchial inflammatory markers could be found in patients with chronic bronchitis. METHODS--Bronchoscopy with bronchial lavage was performed in 42 patients with chronic bronchitis and in 13 healthy controls. Twenty three of the patients had non-obstructive chronic bronchitis and 19 had chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Eighteen of the patients with bronchitis had recurrent infective exacerbations and 24 did not. Intrabronchial bacterial cultures were taken with a protected specimen brush. RESULTS--Increased activity of neutrophils, fibroblasts, and eosinophils was found in the patients with chronic bronchitis as assessed by the levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO) and interleukin-8 (IL-8), hyaluronan, and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), respectively. The levels of tryptase did not differ from the controls. High correlations were found between the levels of MPO and IL-8, as well as ECP and IL-8. No differences were found between the patients with COPD and those with non-obstructive chronic bronchitis. CONCLUSIONS--Recruitment and activation of both neutrophils and eosinophils seem to be a characteristic of chronic bronchitis. This activation is associated with IL-8. The patients with intrabronchial cultures of Streptococcus pneumoniae had the highest individual levels of MPO, ECP, and IL-8 of all subjects in the study, indicating that colonisation with S pneumoniae could promote bronchial inflammation.
PMCID: PMC474276  PMID: 7785007
19.  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
20.  Gender Differences in Plasma Biomarker Levels in a Cohort of COPD Patients: A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16021.
Little is known about gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
There are differences in serum biomarker levels between women and men with COPD.
Explore gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with COPD and smokers without COPD.
We measured plasma levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-16, MCP-1, MMP-9, PARC and VEGF in 80 smokers without COPD (40 males, 40 females) and 152 stable COPD patients (76 males, 76 females) with similar airflow obstruction. We determined anthropometrics, smoking history, lung function, exercise tolerance, body composition, BODE index, co-morbidities and quality of life. We then explored associations between plasma biomarkers levels and the clinical characteristics of the patients and also with the clinical and physiological variables known to predict outcome in COPD.
The plasma biomarkers level explored were similar in men and women without COPD. In contrast, in patients with COPD the median value in pg/mL of IL-6 (6.26 vs 8.0, p = 0.03), IL-16 (390 vs 321, p = 0.009) and VEGF (50 vs 87, p = 0.02) differed between women and men. Adjusted for smoking history, gender was independently associated with IL-16, PARC and VEGF levels. There were also gender differences in the associations between IL-6, IL-16 and VEGF and physiologic variables that predict outcomes.
In stable COPD patients with similar airflow obstruction, there are gender differences in plasma biomarker levels and in the association between biomarker levels and important clinical or physiological variables. Further studies should confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC3022655  PMID: 21267454
21.  Association between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and systemic inflammation: a systematic review and a meta-analysis 
Thorax  2004;59(7):574-580.
Background: Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and muscle wasting. Systemic inflammation may be involved in the pathogenesis of these disorders. A study was undertaken to determine whether systemic inflammation is present in stable COPD.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted of studies which reported on the relationship between COPD, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) or forced vital capacity (FVC), and levels of various systemic inflammatory markers: C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, leucocytes, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukins 6 and 8. Where possible the results were pooled together to produce a summary estimate using a random or fixed effects model.
Results: Fourteen original studies were identified. Overall, the standardised mean difference in the CRP level between COPD and control subjects was 0.53 units (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34 to 0.72). The standardised mean difference in the fibrinogen level was 0.47 units (95% CI 0.29 to 0.65). Circulating leucocytes were also higher in COPD than in control subjects (standardised mean difference 0.44 units (95% CI 0.20 to 0.67)), as were serum TNF-α levels (standardised mean difference 0.59 units (95% CI 0.29 to 0.89)).
Conclusions: Reduced lung function is associated with increased levels of systemic inflammatory markers which may have important pathophysiological and therapeutic implications for subjects with stable COPD.
PMCID: PMC1747070  PMID: 15223864
22.  Echocardiography, Spirometry, and Systemic Acute-Phase Inflammatory Proteins in Smokers with COPD or CHF: An Observational Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80166.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic heart failure (CHF) may coexist in elderly patients with a history of smoking. Low-grade systemic inflammation induced by smoking may represent the link between these 2 conditions. In this study, we investigated left ventricular dysfunction in patients primarily diagnosed with COPD, and nonreversible airflow limitation in patients primarily diagnosed with CHF. The levels of circulating high-sensitive C-reactive protein (Hs-CRP), pentraxin 3 (PTX3), interleukin-1β (IL-1 β), and soluble type II receptor of IL-1 (sIL-1RII) were also measured as markers of systemic inflammation in these 2 cohorts. Patients aged ≥50 years and with ≥10 pack years of cigarette smoking who presented with a diagnosis of stable COPD (n=70) or stable CHF (n=124) were recruited. All patients underwent echocardiography, N-terminal pro-hormone of brain natriuretic peptide measurements, and post-bronchodilator spirometry. Plasma levels of Hs-CRP, PTX3, IL-1 β, and sIL-1RII were determined by using a sandwich enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay in all patients and in 24 healthy smokers (control subjects). Although we were unable to find a single COPD patient with left ventricular dysfunction, we found nonreversible airflow limitation in 34% of patients with CHF. On the other hand, COPD patients had higher plasma levels of Hs-CRP, IL1 β, and sIL-1RII compared with CHF patients and control subjects (p < 0.05). None of the inflammatory biomarkers was different between CHF patients and control subjects. In conclusion, although the COPD patients had no evidence of CHF, up to one third of patients with CHF had airflow limitation, suggesting that routine spirometry is warranted in patients with CHF, whereas echocardiography is not required in well characterized patients with COPD. Only smokers with COPD seem to have evidence of systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3823838  PMID: 24244639
23.  Effects of peripheral neuropathy on exercise capacity and quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) have some systemic effects including systemic inflammation, nutritional abnormalities, skeletal muscle dysfunction, and cardiovascular, skeletal and neurological disorders. Some studies have reported the presence of peripheral neuropathy (PNP) at an incidence of 28-94% in patients with COPD. Our study aimed to identify whether PNP affects exercise performance and quality of life in COPD patients.
Material and methods
Thirty mild-very severe patients with COPD (male/female = 29/1, mean age = 64 ±10 years) and 14 normal subjects (male/female = 11/5, mean age = 61 ±8 years) were included in the present study. All subjects underwent pulmonary function testing (PFT), cardiopulmonary exercise testing, electroneuromyography and short form 36 (SF-36).
Peak oxygen uptake (PeakVO2) was lower in COPD patients (1.15 ±0.53 l/min) than healthy subjects (2.02 ±0.46 l/min) (p = 0.0001). There was no PNP in healthy subjects while 16 (53%) of the COPD patients had PNP. Forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and PeakVO2 were significantly different between patients with PNP and those without (p = 0.009, p = 0.03 respectively). Quality of life of patients with PNP was lower than that of patients without PNP (p < 0.05).
The present study demonstrates the exercise limitation in COPD patients with PNP. Thus, presence of PNP has a poor effect on exercise capacity and quality of life in patients with COPD. Furthermore, treatment modalities for PNP can be recommended to these patients in order to improve exercise capacity and quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3361042  PMID: 22662003
chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases; peripheral neuropathy; exercise capacity; quality of life
24.  Leukocytes Are Recruited through the Bronchial Circulation to the Lung in a Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat Model of COPD 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33304.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) kills approximately 2.8 million people each year, and more than 80% of COPD cases can be attributed to smoking. Leukocytes recruited to the lung contribute to COPD pathology by releasing reactive oxygen metabolites and proteolytic enzymes. In this work, we investigated where leukocytes enter the lung in the early stages of COPD in order to better understand their effect as a contributor to the development of COPD. We simultaneously evaluated the parenchyma and airways for neutrophil accumulation, as well as increases in the adhesion molecules and chemokines that cause leukocyte recruitment in the early stages of tobacco smoke induced lung disease. We found neutrophil accumulation and increased expression of adhesion molecules and chemokines in the bronchial blood vessels that correlated with the accumulation of leukocytes recovered from the lung. The expression of adhesion molecules and chemokines in other vascular beds did not correlate with leukocytes recovered in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). These data strongly suggest leukocytes are recruited in large measure through the bronchial circulation in response to tobacco smoke. Our findings have important implications for understanding the etiology of COPD and suggest that pharmaceuticals designed to reduce leukocyte recruitment through the bronchial circulation may be a potential therapy to treat COPD.
PMCID: PMC3310053  PMID: 22457750
25.  Systemic inflammation after inspiratory loading in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) present systemic inflammation. Strenuous resistive breathing induces systemic inflammation in healthy subjects. We hypothesized that the increased respiratory load that characterizes COPD can contribute to systemic inflammation in these patients.
Patients and methods
To test this hypothesis, we compared leukocyte numbers and levels of circulating cytokines (tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNFα], interleukin-1β [IL-1β], IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10), before and 1 hour after maximal incremental inspiratory loading in 13 patients with stable COPD (forced expiratory volume in one second [FEV1] 29 ± 2.5% ref) and in 8 healthy sedentary subjects (FEV1 98 ± 5% ref).
We found that: (1) at baseline, patients with COPD showed higher leukocyte counts and IL-8 levels than controls (p < 0.01); and, (2) one hour after maximal inspiratory loading these values were unchanged, except for IL-10, which increased in controls (p < 0.05) but not in patients with COPD.
This study confirms the presence of systemic inflammation in COPD, shows that maximal inspiratory loading does not increase the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-8) in COPD patients or controls, but suggests that the former may be unable to mount an appropriate systemic anti-inflammatory response to exercise.
PMCID: PMC2528210  PMID: 18488438
COPD; endurance; exercise; IL-10; respiratory muscles; systemic inflammation

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