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1.  Gene-environment interactions in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of death throughout the world and is largely associated with cigarette smoking. Despite the appreciation of the central role of smoking in the development of COPD, only a relatively small number of smokers (15%–20%) develop COPD. Recent studies depicting familial aggregation suggest that some subjects may have a genetic predisposition to developing COPD. In this respect, a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms have been reported in association with different COPD features (subphenotypes), although much of this data remains controversial. Classical genetic studies (including twin and family studies) assume an “equal-environment” scenario, but as gene-environment interactions occur in COPD, this assumption needs revision. Thus, new integrated models are needed to examine the major environmental factors associated with COPD which include smoking as well as air pollution, and respiratory infections, and not only genetic predisposition. Revisiting this area, may help answer the question of what has more bearing in the pathogenesis of COPD—the environment or the genomic sequence of the affected subjects. It is anticipated that an improved understanding of this interaction will both enable improved identification of individuals susceptible to developing this disease, as well as improved future treatments for this disease.
PMCID: PMC2629985  PMID: 18990979
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; environment; genomics; pathogenesis
2.  Wood Smoke Exposure and Gene Promoter Methylation Are Associated with Increased Risk for COPD in Smokers 
Rationale: Wood smoke–associated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is common in women in developing countries but has not been adequately described in developed countries.
Objectives: Our objective was to determine whether wood smoke exposure was a risk factor for COPD in a population of smokers in the United States and whether aberrant gene promoter methylation in sputum may modify this association.
Methods: For this cross-sectional study, 1,827 subjects were drawn from the Lovelace Smokers' Cohort, a predominantly female cohort of smokers. Wood smoke exposure was self-reported. Postbronchodilator spirometry was obtained, and COPD outcomes studied included percent predicted FEV1, airflow obstruction, and chronic bronchitis. Effect modification of wood smoke exposure with current cigarette smoke, ethnicity, sex, and promoter methylation of lung cancer-related genes in sputum on COPD outcomes were separately explored. Multivariable logistic and poisson regression models were used for binary and rate-based outcomes, respectively.
Measurements and Main Results: Self-reported wood smoke exposure was independently associated with a lower percent predicted FEV1 (point estimate [± SE] −0.03 ± 0.01) and a higher prevalence of airflow obstruction and chronic bronchitis (odds ratio, 1.96; 95% confidence interval, 1.52–2.52 and 1.64 (95% confidence interval, 1.31–2.06, respectively). These associations were stronger among current cigarette smokers, non-Hispanic whites, and men. Wood smoke exposure interacted in a multiplicative manner with aberrant promoter methylation of the p16 or GATA4 genes on lower percent predicted FEV1.
Conclusions: These studies identify a novel link between wood smoke exposure and gene promoter methylation that synergistically increases the risk for reduced lung function in cigarette smokers.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201002-0222OC
PMCID: PMC3001253  PMID: 20595226
wood smoke; cigarette smokers; airflow obstruction; gene promoter methylation in sputum DNA
3.  Vascular endothelial growth factor: an angiogenic factor reflecting airway inflammation in healthy smokers and in patients with bronchitis type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):53.
Background
Patients with bronchitis type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have raised vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels in induced sputum. This has been associated with the pathogenesis of COPD through apoptotic and oxidative stress mechanisms. Since, chronic airway inflammation is an important pathological feature of COPD mainly initiated by cigarette smoking, aim of this study was to assess smoking as a potential cause of raised airway VEGF levels in bronchitis type COPD and to test the association between VEGF levels in induced sputum and airway inflammation in these patients.
Methods
14 current smokers with bronchitis type COPD, 17 asymptomatic current smokers with normal spirometry and 16 non-smokers were included in the study. VEGF, IL-8, and TNF-α levels in induced sputum were measured and the correlations between these markers, as well as between VEGF levels and pulmonary function were assessed.
Results
The median concentrations of VEGF, IL-8, and TNF-α were significantly higher in induced sputum of COPD patients (1,070 pg/ml, 5.6 ng/ml and 50 pg/ml, respectively) compared to nonsmokers (260 pg/ml, 0.73 ng/ml, and 15.4 pg/ml, respectively, p < 0.05) and asymptomatic smokers (421 pg/ml, 1.27 ng/ml, p < 0.05, and 18.6 pg/ml, p > 0.05, respectively). Significant correlations were found between VEGF levels and pack years (r = 0.56, p = 0.046), IL-8 (r = 0.64, p = 0.026) and TNF-α (r = 0.62, p = 0.031) levels both in asymptomatic and COPD smokers (r = 0.66, p = 0.027, r = 0.67, p = 0.023, and r = 0.82, p = 0.002, respectively). No correlation was found between VEGF levels in sputum and pulmonary function parameters.
Conclusion
VEGF levels are raised in the airways of both asymptomatic and COPD smokers. The close correlation observed between VEGF levels in the airways and markers of airway inflammation in healthy smokers and in smokers with bronchitis type of COPD is suggestive of VEGF as a marker reflecting the inflammatory process that occurs in smoking subjects without alveolar destruction.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-8-53
PMCID: PMC1939848  PMID: 17631682
4.  Smoking related COPD and facial wrinkling: is there a common susceptibility? 
Thorax  2006;61(7):568-571.
Background
Cigarette smoking causes accelerated facial wrinkling and predisposes to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, it has long been recognised that there is a subgroup of susceptible smokers who are at increased risk of developing airflow obstruction. We have tested the hypothesis that there is a common susceptibility for the development of COPD and facial wrinkling in cigarette smokers.
Methods
One hundred and forty nine current and ex‐smokers were recruited from a family based study of COPD genetics, 68 (45.6%) of whom fulfilled the definition of COPD. 124 (83.2%) had no or minor facial wrinkling (Daniell
Results
Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was significantly lower in those with wrinkles than in those without (mean difference in FEV1 % predicted −13.7%, 95% CI −27.5 to 0.0, p = 0.05) and facial wrinkling was associated with a substantially increased risk of COPD (adjusted OR 5.0, 95% CI 1.3 to 18.5, p<0.02). The Daniell score correlated with the extent of emphysema on the CT scan (p<0.05) and facial wrinkling was also associated with a greater risk of more extensive emphysema (adjusted OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.0 to 9.3, p = 0.05).
Conclusion
Facial wrinkling is associated with COPD in smokers, and both disease processes may share a common susceptibility. Facial wrinkling in smokers may therefore be a biomarker of susceptibility to COPD.
doi:10.1136/thx.2005.053827
PMCID: PMC2104653  PMID: 16774949
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; facial wrinkling; smoking
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):133.
Background
Smoking tobacco is a leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but although the majority of COPD cases can be directly related to smoking, only a quarter of smokers actually develop the disease. A potential reason for the disparity between smoking and COPD may involve an individual's ability to mount a protective adaptive response to cigarette smoke (CS). Glutathione (GSH) is highly concentrated in the lung epithelial lining fluid (ELF) and protects against many inhaled oxidants. The changes in GSH that occur with CS are not well investigated; therefore the GSH adaptive response that occurs with a commonly utilized CS exposure was examined in mice.
Methods
Mice were exposed to CS for 5 h after which they were rested in filtered air for up to 16 h. GSH levels were measured in the ELF, bronchoalveolar lavage cells, plasma, and tissues. GSH synthesis was assessed by measuring γ-glutamylcysteine ligase (GCL) activity in lung and liver tissue.
Results
GSH levels in the ELF, plasma, and liver were decreased by as much as 50% during the 5 h CS exposure period whereas the lung GSH levels were unchanged. Next, the time course of rebound in GSH levels after the CS exposure was examined. CS exposure initially decreased ELF GSH levels by 50% but within 2 h GSH levels rebound to about 3 times basal levels and peaked at 16 h with a 6-fold increase and over repeat exposures were maintained at a 3-fold elevation for up to 2 months. Similar changes were observed in tissue GCL activity which is the rate limiting step in GSH synthesis. Furthermore, elevation in ELF GSH levels was not arbitrary since the CS induced GSH adaptive response after a 3d exposure period prevented GSH levels from dropping below basal levels.
Conclusions
CS exposures evoke a powerful GSH adaptive response in the lung and systemically. These data suggests there may be a sensor that sets the ELF GSH adaptive response to prevent GSH levels from dipping below basal levels. Factors that disrupt GSH adaptive responses may contribute to the pathophysiology of COPD.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-133
PMCID: PMC3215650  PMID: 21982222
Although smoking is the major causal factor in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), only 10–20% of chronic heavy cigarette smokers develop symptomatic COPD, which suggests the presence of genetic susceptibility. The human microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EH) is a metabolizing enzyme which involves the process of numerous reactive epoxide intermediates and contains polymorphic alleles which are associated with altered EH activity and may be linked to increased risk for COPD. To determine whether the EH polymorphisms contributed to increased risk for COPD, prevalence of the EH codons 113 and 139 polymorphisms were compared between COPD patients and controls using a PCR-RFLP analysis using genomic DNA isolated from 131 COPD patients and 262 individually matched controls by age (± 5 years) among Caucasians with 1:2 ratio. Significantly increased risk for COPD was observed for subjects with the EH113His/His genotypes (OR =2.4, 95% CI=1.1–5.1). These results were consistent with the fact that a significant trend towards increased risk was observed with predicted less protective EH codon 113 genotypes (p = 0.03, trend test). A similar association was not observed for EH codon139 polymorphism. As expected, a significant correlation between smoking dose and severity of COPD was observed (p<0.001). These results suggest that EH codon 113 polymorphism may modify risk for COPD.
PMCID: PMC3705731  PMID: 15702235
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; epoxide hydrolase; genetic polymorphism; genetic susceptibility
Rationale: Oxidative stress is a key contributor in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis caused by cigarette smoking. NRF2, a redox-sensitive transcription factor, dissociates from its inhibitor, KEAP1, to induce antioxidant expression that inhibits oxidative stress.
Objectives: To determine the link between severity of COPD, oxidative stress, and NRF2-dependent antioxidant levels in the peripheral lung tissue of patients with COPD.
Methods: We assessed the expression of NRF2, NRF2-dependent antioxidants, regulators of NRF2 activity, and oxidative damage in non-COPD (smokers and former smokers) and smoker COPD lungs (mild and advanced). Cigarette smoke–exposed human lung epithelial cells (Beas2B) and mice were used to understand the mechanisms.
Measurements and Main Results: When compared with non-COPD lungs, the COPD patient lungs showed (1) marked decline in NRF2-dependent antioxidants and glutathione levels, (2) increased oxidative stress markers, (3) significant decrease in NRF2 protein with no change in NRF2 mRNA levels, and (4) similar KEAP1 but significantly decreased DJ-1 levels (a protein that stabilizes NRF2 protein by impairing KEAP1-dependent proteasomal degradation of NRF2). Exposure of Bea2B cells to cigarette smoke caused oxidative modification and enhanced proteasomal degradation of DJ-1 protein. Disruption of DJ-1 in mouse lungs, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and Beas2B cells lowered NRF2 protein stability and impaired antioxidant induction in response to cigarette smoke. Interestingly, targeting KEAP1 by siRNA or the small-molecule activator sulforaphane restored induction of NRF2-dependent antioxidants in DJ-1–disrupted cells in response to cigarette smoke.
Conclusions: NRF2-dependent antioxidants and DJ-1 expression was negatively associated with severity of COPD. Therapy directed toward enhancing NRF2-regulated antioxidants may be a novel strategy for attenuating the effects of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of COPD.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200803-380OC
PMCID: PMC2542433  PMID: 18556627
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; NRF2; DJ-1; oxidative stress; antioxidants
BMJ Open  2013;3(2):e002178.
Introduction
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous disease with pulmonary and extra-pulmonary manifestations. Although COPD is a complex disease, diagnosis and staging are still based on simple spirometry measurements. Different COPD phenotypes exist based on clinical, physiological, immunological and radiological observations. Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for COPD, but only 15–20% of smokers develop the disease, suggesting a genetic predisposition. Unfortunately, little is known about the pathogenesis of COPD, and even less on the very first steps that are associated with an aberrant response to smoke exposure. This study aims to investigate the underlying local and systemic inflammation of different clinical COPD phenotypes, and acute effects of cigarette smoke exposure in individuals susceptible and non-susceptible for the development of COPD. Furthermore, we will investigate mechanisms associated with corticosteroid insensitivity. Our study will provide valuable information regarding the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying the natural course of COPD.
Methods and analysis
This cross-sectional study will include young and old individuals susceptible or non-susceptible to develop COPD. At a young age (18–40 years) 60 ‘party smokers’ will be included who are called susceptible or non-susceptible based on COPD prevalence in smoking family members. In addition, 30 healthy smokers (age 40–75 years) and 110 COPD patients will be included. Measurements will include questionnaires, pulmonary function, low-dose CT scanning of the lung, body composition, 6 min walking distance and biomarkers in peripheral blood, sputum, urine, exhaled breath condensate, epithelial lining fluid, bronchial brushes and biopsies. Non-biased approaches such as proteomics will be performed in blood and epithelial lining fluid.
Ethics and dissemination
This multicentre study was approved by the medical ethical committees of UMC Groningen and Utrecht, the Netherlands. The study findings will be presented at conferences and will be reported in peer-reviewed journals.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00807469 (study 1) and NCT00850863 (study 2).
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002178
PMCID: PMC3586075  PMID: 23377993
COPD; Inflammation; Susceptibility; Corticosteroid insensitivity; Smoking
Thorax  2006;61(1):86-88.
The epidemiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been dominated by one hypothesis stating that cigarette smoking and chronic bronchitis were the key to pathogenesis and another that asthma, chronic bronchitis, and even emphysema are related to different expressions of a primary airway abnormality. The first hypothesis was rejected in the late 1960s based on a longitudinal study of working men where only a fraction of smokers developed COPD and where development of COPD was independent of the absence or presence of chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis in more advanced COPD was subsequently associated with a more rapid decline in lung function and more frequent exacerbations. The second hypothesis is more difficult to test but longitudinal studies have shown that the presence of bronchial hyperresponsiveness may predict the subjects who go on to develop COPD. This brief review attempts to reconcile these findings with the pathology found in the lung.
doi:10.1136/thx.2005.046227
PMCID: PMC2080699  PMID: 16227325
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pathology; epidemiology; smoking; pathogenesis
Cigarette smoke has been connected to an array of chronic lung diseases and is a major source of morbidity and mortality. Active smoking is responsible for approximately 90% of lung cancer cases. In addition, cigarette smoke is associated with other chronic pulmonary diseases such as pulmonary edema, chronic bronchitis, and pulmonary emphysema, the last two also termed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lung cancer and COPD are developed very frequently in chronic cigarette smokers. It has been known for some time that lung cancer incidence increases in patients with COPD. Even the existence of some low-grade emphysema without noticeable airflow obstruction is associated with significantly elevated risk of lung cancer. These recent clinical insights demand new thinking and exploration of novel mechanistic studies to fully understand these observations. Lung injury and repair involve cell death and hyperplasia of airway epithelial cells and infiltration of inflammatory cells. All of these occur simultaneously. The mechanisms of cell death and hyperplasia in the lung constitute two sides of the coin of lung injury and repair. However, most molecular studies in airway epithelial cells center on the mechanism(s) of either cell growth and proliferation or cell death and the ceramide-generating machinery that drives aberrant induction of apoptotic cell death. Very few address both sides of the coin as an outcome of cigarette smoke exposure, which is the focus of this review.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0220RT
PMCID: PMC2933544  PMID: 20525802
ceramide machinery; EGFR trafficking; cigarette smoke; lung injury; lung cancer
Background
KL-6 is a high-molecular-weight glycoprotein classified as a human MUC1 mucin. It was hypothesized that KL-6 could be detectable in the circulating blood and especially in airway secretions in lung diseases associated with mucus production such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Additional aims of this study were to investigate whether the levels of KL-6 in plasma and sputum are related to ageing and smoking history.
Methods
The concentrations of KL-6 in plasma and induced sputum supernatants from young and/or middle aged/elderly non-smokers, smokers and patients with COPD were assayed by ELISA (n = 201). The subjects were classified into five groups according to age, smoking status and presence of COPD. In addition, KL-6 expression in control and diseased lung i.e. samples from patients with COPD (n = 28), were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and digital image analysis.
Results
The plasma levels of KL-6 increased with age both in non-smokers and smokers. Among middle aged/elderly subjects, plasma KL-6 levels in all smokers regardless of COPD were significantly higher than in non-smokers, whereas sputum levels of KL-6 were significantly higher in COPD compared not only to non-smokers but also to smokers. KL-6 was more prominently expressed in the bronchiolar/alveolar epithelium in COPD than in the control lungs. Plasma and sputum KL-6 levels correlated inversely with obstruction and positively with smoking history and ageing. The linear multiple regression analysis confirmed that age and cigarette smoking had independent effects on plasma KL-6.
Conclusions
KL-6 increases with ageing and chronic smoking history, but prospective studies will be needed to elucidate the significance of KL-6 in chronic airway diseases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-22
PMCID: PMC3114798  PMID: 21569324
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16021.
Rationale
Little is known about gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Hypothesis
There are differences in serum biomarker levels between women and men with COPD.
Objective
Explore gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with COPD and smokers without COPD.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016021
PMCID: PMC3022655  PMID: 21267454
Thorax  2005;61(3):196-201.
Background
Several matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are involved in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In mice, MMP‐12 plays a crucial role in the development of cigarette smoke induced emphysema. A study was undertaken to investigate the role of MMP‐12 in the development of COPD in human smokers.
Methods
Induced sputum samples were collected from patients with stable COPD (n = 28), healthy smokers (n = 14), never smokers (n = 20), and former smokers (n = 14). MMP‐12 protein levels in induced sputum were determined by ELISA and compared between the four study groups. MMP‐12 enzymatic activity in induced sputum was evaluated by casein zymography and by cleaving of a fluorescence quenched substrate.
Results
Median (IQR) MMP‐12 levels were significantly higher in COPD patients than in healthy smokers, never smokers, and former smokers (17.5 (7.1–42.1) v 6.7 (3.9–10.4) v 4.2 (2.4–11.3) v 6.1 (4.5–7.6) ng/ml, p = 0.0002). MMP‐12 enzymatic activity was significantly higher in patients with COPD than in controls (4.11 (1.4–8.0) v 0.14 (0.1–0.2) μg/μl, p = 0.0002).
Conclusion
MMP‐12 is markedly increased in induced sputum from patients with stable COPD compared with controls, suggesting a role for MMP‐12 in the development of COPD in smokers.
doi:10.1136/thx.2005.042432
PMCID: PMC2080750  PMID: 16308335
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; matrix metalloproteinases; induced sputum; MMP‐12; smoking
Thorax  2000;55(2):121-125.
BACKGROUND—Although smoking is the major causal factor in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), only 10-20% of chronic heavy cigarette smokers develop symptomatic COPD which suggests the presence of genetic susceptibility. This genetic susceptibility to COPD might depend on variations in enzyme activities that detoxify cigarette smoke products such as microsomal epoxide hydrolase (mEPHX) and glutathione-S transferase (GST). As there is increasing evidence that several genes influence the development of COPD, multiple gene polymorphisms should be investigated to find out the genetic susceptibility to COPD.
METHODS—The genotypes of 83 patients with COPD and 76 healthy smoking control subjects were determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) for the mEPHX gene, and multiplex PCR for GST M1 and GST T1 genes. The frequencies of polymorphic genotypes of mEPHX, GST M1, and GST T1 genes were compared both individually and in combination in patients with COPD and healthy smokers.
RESULTS—No differences were observed in the frequency of polymorphic genotypes in exons 3 and 4 of mEPHX, GST M1, and GST T1 genes between patients with COPD and healthy smokers. The frequencies of any combination of these genotypes also showed no differences between the COPD group and the control group.
CONCLUSIONS—Genetic polymorphisms in mEPHX, GST M1, and GST T1 genes are not associated with the development of COPD in Koreans.


doi:10.1136/thorax.55.2.121
PMCID: PMC1745681  PMID: 10639528
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):68.
Backround
Cigarette smoke exposure including biologically active lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the particulate phase of cigarette smoke induces activation of alveolar macrophages (AM) and alveolar epithelial cells leading to production of inflammatory mediators. This represents a crucial mechanism in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Respiratory pathogens are a major cause of exacerbations leading to recurrent cycles of injury and repair. The interaction between pathogen-associated molecular patterns and the host is mediated by pattern recognition receptors (PRR's). In the present study we characterized the expression of Toll-like receptor (TLR)- 2, TLR4 and CD14 on human AM compared to autologous monocytes obtained from patients with COPD, healthy smokers and non-smokers.
Methods
The study population consisted of 14 COPD patients without evidence for acute exacerbation, 10 healthy smokers and 17 healthy non-smokers stratified according to age. The expression of TLR2, TLR4 and CD14 surface molecules on human AM compared to autologous monocytes was assessed ex vivo using FACS analysis. In situ hybridization was performed on bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells by application of the new developed HOPE-fixative.
Results
The expression of TLR2, TLR4 and CD14 on AM from COPD patients, smokers and non-smokers was reduced as compared to autologous monocytes. Comparing AM we detected a reduced expression of TLR2 in COPD patients and smokers. In addition TLR2 mRNA and protein expression was increased after LPS stimulation on non-smokers AM in contrast to smokers and COPD patients.
Conclusion
Our data suggest a smoke related change in the phenotype of AM's and the cellular response to microbial stimulation which may be associated with impairment of host defenses in the lower respiratory tract.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-68
PMCID: PMC1187924  PMID: 16004610
Human genetics  2013;132(4):431-441.
Cigarette smoking is the major environmental risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Genome-wide association studies have provided compelling associations for three loci with COPD. In this study, we aimed to estimate direct, i.e., independent from smoking, and indirect effects of those loci on COPD development using mediation analysis. We included a total of 3,424 COPD cases and 1,872 unaffected controls with data on two smoking-related phenotypes: lifetime average smoking intensity and cumulative exposure to tobacco smoke (pack years). Our analysis revealed that effects of two linked variants (rs1051730 and rs8034191) in the AGPHD1/CHRNA3 cluster on COPD development are significantly, yet not entirely, mediated by the smoking-related phenotypes. Approximately 30 % of the total effect of variants in the AGPHD1/CHRNA3 cluster on COPD development was mediated by pack years. Simultaneous analysis of modestly (r2 = 0.21) linked markers in CHRNA3 and IREB2 revealed that an even larger (~42 %) proportion of the total effect of the CHRNA3 locus on COPD was mediated by pack years after adjustment for an IREB2 single nucleotide polymorphism. This study confirms the existence of direct effects of the AGPHD1/CHRNA3, IREB2, FAM13A and HHIP loci on COPD development. While the association of the AGPHD1/CHRNA3 locus with COPD is significantly mediated by smoking-related phenotypes, IREB2 appears to affect COPD independently of smoking.
doi:10.1007/s00439-012-1262-3
PMCID: PMC3600068  PMID: 23299987
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:23.
Background
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that common genetic variation in CRP and IL6 genes may contribute to heterogeneity of COPD population associated with systemic inflammation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-10-23
PMCID: PMC2660301  PMID: 19272152
Although cigarette smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), only a subset of smokers develops this disease. There is significant clinical, radiographic, and pathologic heterogeneity within smokers who develop COPD that likely reflects multiple molecular mechanisms of disease. It is possible that variations in the individual response to cigarette smoking form the basis for the distinct clinical and molecular phenotypes and variable natural history associated with COPD. Using the biologic premise of a molecular field of airway injury created by cigarette smoking, this response to tobacco exposure can be measured by molecular profiling of the airway epithelium. Noninvasive study of this field effect by profiling airway gene expression in patients with COPD holds important implications for our understanding of disease heterogeneity, early disease detection, and identification of novel disease-modifying therapies.
doi:10.1513/pats.200907-076DP
PMCID: PMC2797071  PMID: 20008878
airway gene expression; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; bioinformatics
We examined the association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and/or lung function with COPD and COPD-related phenotypes in a novel cohort of patients with severe to very severe COPD. We examined 315 cases of COPD and 330 Caucasian control smokers from Poland. We included three SNPs previously associated with COPD: rs7671167 (FAM13A), rs13180 (IREB2), and rs8034191 (CHRNA 3/5), and four SNPs associated with lung function in a genome-wide association study of general population samples: rs2070600 (AGER), rs11134242 (ADCY2), rs4316710 (THSD4), and rs17096090 (INTS12). We tested for associations with severe COPD and COPD-related phenotypes, including lung function, smoking behavior, and body mass index. Subjects with COPD were older (average age 62 versus 58 years, P < 0.01), with more pack-years of smoking (45 versus 33 pack-years, P < 0.01). CHRNA3/5 (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5–2.4; P = 7.4 × 10−7), IREB2 (OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.5–0.9; P = 3.4 × 10−3), and ADCY2 (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.1–1.7; P = 0.01) demonstrated significant associations with COPD. FAM13A (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.7–1.0; P = 0.11) approached statistical significance. FAM13A and ADCY2 also demonstrated a significant association with lung function. Thus, in severe to very severe COPD, we demonstrate a replication of association between two SNPs previously associated with COPD (CHRNA3/5 and IREB2), as well as an association with COPD of one locus initially associated with lung function (ADCY2).
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2012-0011OC
PMCID: PMC3423462  PMID: 22461431
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; genetic association analysis; lung function; smoking; nicotine addiction
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is predicted to become the third leading cause of death in the world by 2020. It is characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. The airflow limitation is usually progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles and gases, most commonly cigarette smoke. Among smokers with COPD, even following withdrawal of cigarette smoke, inflammation persists and lung function continues to deteriorate. One possible explanation is that bacterial colonization of smoke-damaged airways, most commonly with nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), perpetuates airway injury and inflammation. Furthermore, COPD has also been identified as an independent risk factor for lung cancer irrespective of concomitant cigarette smoke exposure. In this article, we review the role of NTHi in airway inflammation that may lead to COPD progression and lung cancer promotion.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S15417
PMCID: PMC3048087  PMID: 21407824
COPD; NTHi; inflammation
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4946.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic airway inflammation. Cigarette smoke has been considered a major player in the pathogenesis of COPD. The inflamed airways of COPD patients contain several inflammatory cells including neutrophils, macrophages,T lymphocytes, and dendritic cells (DCs). The relative contributions of these various inflammatory cells to airway injury and remodeling are not well documented. In particular, the potential role of DCs as mediators of inflammation in the smoker's airways and COPD patients is poorly understood. In the current study we analyzed the effects of cigarette smoke extract on mouse bone marrow derived DC and the production of chemokines and cytokines were studied. In addition, we assessed CSE-induced changes in cDC function in the mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) examining CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation. Cigarette smoke extract induces the release of the chemokines CCL3 and CXCL2 (but not cytokines), via the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In a mixed-leukocyte reaction assay, cigarette smoke-primed DCs potentiate CD8+T cell proliferation via CCL3. In contrast, proliferation of CD4+T cells is suppressed via an unknown mechanism. The cigarette smoke-induced release of CCL3 and CXCL2 by DCs may contribute to the influx of CD8+T cells and neutrophils into the airways, respectively.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004946
PMCID: PMC2655711  PMID: 19293939
Background: Tobacco smoking in India has been increasing alarmingly. Smoking is a known risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, especially, the lung cancer. The percentage prevalence of cigarette smoking (18.5%) and cigar smoking (4%) in males is high in Andhra Pradesh compared to other southern states. There is not enough scientific literature to correlate about intensity of cigarette and cigar smoking and their impact on lung function though high prevalence is reported in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine whether PEFR differs between cigarette and cigar smokers compared to non-smokers and also to estimate the intensity of cigarette and cigar smoking on PEFR.
Methods: PEFR was recorded in cigarette smokers (n=49) and cigar smokers (n=10) as well as in non-smokers (n=64) using Wright’s mini Peak Flow Meter.
Results: PEFR is decreased in both cigarette as well in cigar smokers compared to non-smokers and the magnitude of decline was higher in cigar smoking elderly individuals.
Conclusion: The intensity of cigarette and cigar smoking (pack-years) emerged as the main variable to influence airway obstruction in smokers that caused greater reduction in PEFR.
doi:10.7860/JCDR/2013/6726.3342
PMCID: PMC3809628  PMID: 24179889
Cigarette smoking; Cigar smoking; PEFR
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is currently the third leading cause of death in the world. Although smoking is the main risk factor for this disease, only a minority of smokers develop COPD. Why this happens is largely unknown. Recent discoveries by the human microbiome project have shed new light on the importance and richness of the bacterial microbiota at different body sites in human beings. The microbiota plays a particularly important role in the development and functional integrity of the immune system. Shifts or perturbations in the microbiota can lead to disease. COPD is in part mediated by dysregulated immune responses to cigarette smoke and other environmental insults. Although traditionally the lung has been viewed as a sterile organ, by using highly sensitive genomic techniques, recent reports have identified diverse bacterial communities in the human lung that may change in COPD. This review summarizes the current knowledge concerning the lung microbiota in COPD and its potential implications for pathogenesis of the disease.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S38932
PMCID: PMC3937108  PMID: 24591822
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; bacterial microbiome; lungs
Rationale: The epidemiology of cigarette smoking–related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not well characterized in Hispanics in the United States. Understanding how ethnicity influences COPD is important for a number of reasons, from informing public health policies to dissecting the genetic and environmental effects that contribute to disease.
Objectives: The present study assessed differences in risk between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites for longitudinal and cross-sectional COPD phenotypes. Genetic ancestry was used to verify findings based on self-reported ethnicity. Hispanics in New Mexico are primarily differentiated from non-Hispanic whites by their proportion of Native American ancestry.
Methods: The study was performed in a New Mexican cohort of current and former smokers. Self-reported Hispanic and non-Hispanic white ethnicity was validated by defining genetic ancestry proportions at the individual level using 48 single-nucleotide polymorphism markers. Self-reported ethnicity and genetic ancestry were independently used to assess associations with cross-sectional and longitudinal measures of lung function. Multivariable models were adjusted for indicators of smoking behavior.
Measurements and Main Results: Self-reported Hispanic ethnicity was significantly associated with lower odds of COPD (odds ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval, 0.35–0.71; P = 0.007), and this protection was validated by the observation that Hispanic smokers have reduced risk of rapid decline in lung function (odds ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.30–0.78; P = 0.003). Similar findings were noted when Native American genetic ancestry proportions were used as predictors instead of self-report of Hispanic ethnicity.
Conclusions: Hispanic ethnicity is inversely associated with cross-sectional and longitudinal spirometric COPD phenotypes even after adjustment for smoking. Native American genetic ancestry may account for this “Hispanic protection.”
doi:10.1164/rccm.201103-0568OC
PMCID: PMC3262041  PMID: 21908412
Background:
Tobacco smoking is the most important risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) development. Inhaled cigarette smoke can induce tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) production by alveolar macrophages, which in turn may enhance the production of metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs have been involved in mediating airway inflammation and lung destruction.
Objectives:
We aimed to measure the TNF-α serum levels in healthy heavy smokers and healthy nonsmokers to determine the dose-response relationship based on the cigarette smoke exposure.
Subjects and methods:
We included in our study 43 healthy heavy smokers and 19 healthy nonsmokers (the control group). The smokers group was classified as less than one pack, one pack, and more than one pack per day. A clinical and paraclinical evaluation was performed in both groups, without any evidence of infection or COPD. The serum levels of TNF-α were assessed by ELISA.
Results:
The TNF-α serum levels were significantly higher for the group of smokers compared to the group of nonsmokers (P < 0.004). We also noticed an increased TNF-α concentration in the serum of smokers with more than one pack per day compared with those with less than one pack per day (P < 0.03). There was a positive correlation between the serum level of TNF-α and tobacco smoke exposure.
Conclusions:
The high levels of TNF-α in the serum of smokers suggest an imbalance between the proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory factors as a result of tobacco smoke exposure. The concentration of TNF-α is elevated in the serum of healthy heavy smokers in a cigarette dose-dependent manner. We speculate that the serum level of TNF-α might be a useful biomarker for the selection of heavy smokers with a high risk of developing smoke induced pulmonary diseases.
PMCID: PMC2921689  PMID: 20714375
tobacco smoking; inflammation; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; metalloproteinases

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