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1.  Relationship between airway inflammation and remodeling in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
European Journal of Medical Research  2009;14(Suppl 4):90-96.
Despite a number of important differences in the pathogenesis, course and prognosis of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), these two entities also have common features with airway inflammation being one of them. Airway remodeling is a characteristic feature of asthma, but data on the bronchial wall thickening in COPD patients are still scarce.
Aim
To assess the relation between the inflammatory cell count in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and thickness of bronchial walls assessed by high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) in asthma and COPD patients.
Material and methods
The study was conducted in 9 patients with mild-to-moderate asthma (M/F 4/5, mean age 35 ± 10 years) and 11 patients with mild-to-moderate COPD (M/F 7/4, mean age 57 ± 9 years). In all subjects lung function tests and HRCT scanning of the chest were performed. External (D) and internal (L) diameters of the airways were assessed at five selected lung levels. The lumen area (AL), wall area (WA), wall thickness (WT) and bronchial wall thickness (WT/D ratio) were calculated. Eight patients with asthma and 8 patients with COPD underwent fiberoptic bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Total and differential cell counts were assessed in the BAL fluid.
Results
Mean FEV1% pred was 80 ± 19%, and 73 ± 20% in asthma and COPD patients, respectively (NS). No significant differences in the total and differential cell counts in BALF were found in patients with asthma and COPD. There were no significant differences in the airway diameter or airway wall thickness. The mean inner airway diameter was 1.4 ± 0.3 and 1.2 ± 0.3 mm and the mean lumen area was 1.8 ± 0.7 and 1.6 ± 0.7 mm2 in asthma and COPD, respectively (NS). Negative correlations between the eosinophil count in BALF and inner airway diameter (r = -0.7, P < 0.05) and lumen area (r = -0.7, P < 0.05) were found in asthmatics. There was no significant relationship between the BALF cell count and airway wall thickness in COPD patients.
Conclusions
In mild-to-moderate asthma and COPD the airway diameter and thickness are similar. In asthmatics, the airway diameter might be associated with eosinophil count in BAL fluid.
doi:10.1186/2047-783X-14-S4-90
PMCID: PMC3521369  PMID: 20156734
asthma; COPD; BALF; airway remodeling; HRCT
2.  High Mobility Group Protein B1 (HMGB1) in Asthma: Comparison of Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Healthy Controls 
Molecular Medicine  2011;17(7-8):807-815.
High mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1) has been implicated as an important mediator in the pathogenesis of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the expression of HMGB1 in plasma and sputum of patients with asthma and COPD across disease severity needs to be defined. The objective of the study was to examine the induced sputum and plasma concentrations of HMGB1 in COPD and asthmatic patients to determine differences in HMGB1 levels between these diseases and their relationship with airway obstruction and inflammatory patterns. A total of 147 participants were enrolled in this study. The participants included 34 control subjects, 61 patients with persistent asthma (according to the Global Initiative for Asthma [GINA] guidelines) and 47 patients with stable COPD (stratified by Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease [GOLD] status). Spirometry was performed before sputum induction. HMGB1 levels in induced sputum and plasma were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Sputum and plasma concentrations of HMGB1 in patients with asthma and COPD were significantly higher than concentrations in control subjects and were significantly negatively correlated with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), FEV1 (% predicted) in all 147 participants. The levels of HMGB1 in induced sputum of COPD patients were significantly higher than those of asthma patients and healthy controls (P < 0.001). This difference was present even after adjusting for sex, age, smoking status, daily dose of inhaled corticosteroids and disease severity. There were no significant differences in HMGB1 levels between patients with eosinophilic and noneosinophilic asthma. HMGB1 levels in asthmatic and COPD patients were positively correlated with neutrophil counts and percentage of neutrophils. In multivariate analysis, the two diseases (asthma and COPD) and disease severity were independent predictors of sputum HMGB1, but not smoking, age or use of inhaled corticosteroids. In conclusion, these data support a potential role for HMGB1 as a biomarker and diagnostic tool for the differential diagnosis of asthma and COPD. The importance of this observation on asthma and COPD mechanisms and outcomes should be further investigated in large prospective studies.
doi:10.2119/molmed.2010.00173
PMCID: PMC3146613  PMID: 21380479
3.  Role of sputum differential cell count in detecting airway inflammation in patients with chronic bronchial asthma or COPD. 
Thorax  1996;51(10):1000-1004.
BACKGROUND: Sputum may provide an alternative source of bronchial cells to investigate characteristics of airway inflammation and its functional correlates in patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). METHODS: Two groups of clinically stable patients were studied: a group of 43 patients with mild or moderate asthma and a group of 18 patients with COPD. Twenty normal subjects formed a control group. Sputum production was either spontaneous or induced with inhaled hypertonic saline for five minute periods for up to 20 minutes. The concentration of saline was increased at intervals of 10 minutes from 3% to 4%. Plugs from the lower respiratory tract were selected for differential counting in cytocentrifugation preparations. Bronchial provocation tests were performed by inhaling progressive concentrations of histamine from a DeVilbiss 646 nebuliser and the concentration of histamine which caused a 20% fall in the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was calculated (PC20FEV1). RESULTS: Neutrophils predominated in the sputum of subjects with COPD while eosinophils predominated in the sputum of those with chronic asthma. However, in 28% of asthmatic subjects an increased percentage of neutrophils was found. In asthmatic patients the differential count of eosinophils was inversely related to the FEV1, FEV1/VC, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and directly related to clinical scores. CONCLUSIONS: The cellular profile of sputum in normal subjects and in patients with asthma and COPD is different. The concentration of eosinophils in the sputum correlates with the severity of asthma.
Images
PMCID: PMC472648  PMID: 8977600
4.  Clinical characteristics and long-term outcomes related to sputum eosinophilia in Korean asthmatics 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2011;1(1):16-24.
Background
Bronchial asthma is usually associated with high sputum eosinophil levels. However, recent reports have suggested the importance of noneosinophilic asthma (NEA) as a distinct phenotype of asthma.
Objective
The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical significance of sputum eosinophilia and long-term treatment outcomes related to sputum eosinophilia in Korean asthmatics.
Methods
A total of 201 steroid-naive asthmatics who had undergone induced sputum analysis at baseline were selected from the Cohort for Reality and Evolution of Adult Asthma study population. Clinical evaluation, spirometry, a skin-prick test, a methacholine bronchial provocation test, and sputum eosinophil analysis were performed initially, and patients received the treatment recommended by the Global Initiative for Asthma. Lung function was evaluated every 6 months, and 53 patients completed 24 months of regular follow-up visits. Sputum eosinophilia was defined as a sputum eosinophil count of >3%.
Results
Of the 201 steroid-naive asthmatics, 97 patients had NEA and 104 had eosinophilic asthma (EA). Only 52% of steroid-naive asthmatic subjects had elevated baseline sputum eosinophil levels. A higher percentage of sputum eosinophils was associated with a lower PC20 (r = -0.193; p = 0.009, Spearman correlation), but not with forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (r = 0.045; p = 0.525). During the 24-month study period, the percentage change of FEV1 was significantly lower in the NEA group than in the EA group at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months (p < 0.05). The NEA group, unlike the EA group, showed no significant improvement in FEV1 at 6, 12, 18, or 24 months (p > 0.05).
Conclusion
A higher sputum eosinophil percentage was correlated with a higher airway hyperresponsiveness. Compared with EA patients, NEA patients had poor treatment outcomes in the 2-year follow-up of a Korean asthma cohort population.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2011.1.1.16
PMCID: PMC3206232  PMID: 22053292
Asthma; Induced sputum; Eosinophil; Noneosinophilic asthma
5.  Sputum eosinophilia and the short term response to inhaled mometasone in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2005;60(3):193-198.
Background: An association between the sputum eosinophil count and the response to a 2 week course of prednisolone has previously been reported in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Whether the response to inhaled corticosteroids is related to the presence of eosinophilic inflammation is unclear.
Methods: A randomised, double blind, crossover trial of placebo and mometasone furoate (800 µg/day), each given for 6 weeks with a 4 week washout period, was performed in subjects with COPD treated with bronchodilator therapy only. Spirometric tests, symptom scores, chronic respiratory disease questionnaire (CRQ), and induced sputum were performed before and after each treatment phase.
Results: Ninety five patients were recruited of which 60 were randomised. Overall there were no treatment associated changes in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), total CRQ, or sputum characteristics. After stratification into tertiles by baseline eosinophil count, the net improvement in post-bronchodilator FEV1 increased with mometasone compared with placebo progressively from the least to the most eosinophilic tertile. The mean change in post-bronchodilator FEV1 with mometasone compared with placebo in the highest tertile was 0.11 l (95% CI 0.03 to 0.19). This improvement was not associated with a fall in the sputum eosinophil count.
Conclusions: An increased sputum eosinophil count is related to an improvement in post-bronchodilator FEV1 following treatment with inhaled mometasone in COPD, but the improvement is not associated with a reduction in the sputum eosinophil count.
doi:10.1136/thx.2004.032516
PMCID: PMC1747331  PMID: 15741434
6.  Airway inflammation and mannitol challenge test in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):11.
Background
Eosinophilic airway inflammation has successfully been used to tailor anti-inflammatory therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) by indirect challenges is associated with airway inflammation. We hypothesized that AHR to inhaled mannitol captures eosinophilia in induced sputum in COPD.
Methods
Twenty-eight patients (age 58 ± 7.8 yr, packyears 40 ± 15.5, post-bronchodilator FEV1 77 ± 14.0%predicted, no inhaled steroids ≥4 wks) with mild-moderate COPD (GOLD I-II) completed two randomized visits with hypertonic saline-induced sputum and mannitol challenge (including sputum collection). AHR to mannitol was expressed as response-dose-ratio (RDR) and related to cell counts, ECP, MPO and IL-8 levels in sputum.
Results
There was a positive correlation between RDR to mannitol and eosinophil numbers (r = 0.47, p = 0.03) and level of IL-8 (r = 0.46, p = 0.04) in hypertonic saline-induced sputum. Furthermore, significant correlations were found between RDR and eosinophil numbers (r = 0.71, p = 0.001), level of ECP (r = 0.72, p = 0.001), IL-8 (r = 0.57, p = 0.015) and MPO (r = 0.64, p = 0.007) in sputum collected after mannitol challenge. ROC-curves showed 60% sensitivity and 100% specificity of RDR for >2.5% eosinophils in mannitol-induced sputum.
Conclusions
In mild-moderate COPD mannitol hyperresponsiveness is associated with biomarkers of airway inflammation. The high specificity of mannitol challenge suggests that the test is particularly suitable to exclude eosinophilic airways inflammation, which may facilitate individualized treatment in COPD.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR1283
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-11
PMCID: PMC3036630  PMID: 21241520
7.  Effect of radiological extent and severity of bronchiectasis on pulmonary function 
Background
The aim of this study was to ascertain the effect of the extent and severity of bronchiectasis as determined with high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) on lung function in patients with pure bronchiectasis, bronchiectasis and asthma, and bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods
One hundred nineteen patients (71 with pure bronchiectasis, 25 asthmatic patients with bronchiectasis, and 23 COPD patients with bronchiectasis) underwent HRCT and pulmonary function tests. Computed tomography features were scored by the consensus of 2 radiologists.
Results
There were no statistically significant differences among the 3 patient groups regarding the extent of bronchiectasis, bronchial dilatation degree, bronchial wall thickening, decreased attenuation in the lung parenchyma, or presence of mucus in the large and small airways. In the pure bronchiectasis group, a negative correlation was found between forced vital capacity (FVC) % of predicted, forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1) % of predicted, the FEV1/FVC ratio and the extent of bronchiectasis, bronchial wall thickening, bronchial wall dilatation, and decreased attenuation. At multivariate analysis the main morphologic changes associated with impairment of FVC and FEV1 were the extent of bronchiectasis and a decreased attenuation in the lung parenchyma. The decrease in the FEV1/FVC ratio was associated with bronchial wall dilatation. No correlation was found between morphologic changes and indices of pulmonary function in the asthma and COPD patients.
Conclusions
Morphologic changes associated with bronchiectasis do not influence lung function in patients with asthma and COPD directly, although they do play a role in impairing pulmonary function in patients with bronchiectasis alone.
doi:10.1186/2049-6958-6-5-284
PMCID: PMC3463082  PMID: 22958727
Asthma; bronchiectasis; computed tomography; COPD; lung function tests; X-ray
8.  Inhaled corticosteroid effects both eosinophilic and non-eosinophilic inflammation in asthmatic patients. 
Mediators of Inflammation  2004;13(4):285-291.
AIM: To determine induced sputum cell counts and interleukin-8 (IL-8), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and leukotriene B4 (LTB4) levels as markers of neutrophilic inflammation in moderate persistent asthma, and to evaluate the response to inhaled steroid therapy. METHODS: Forty-five moderate asthmatic patients and 10 non-smoker controls were included in this study. All patients received inhaled corticosteroid (800 microg of budesonide) for 12 weeks. Before and after treatment pulmonary function tests were performed, and symptom scores were determined. Blood was drawn for analysis of serum inflammatory markers, and sputum was induced. RESULTS: Induced sputum cell counts and inflammatory markers were significantly higher in patients with asthma than in the control group. The induced sputum eosinophil counts of 12 patients (26%) were found to be less than 5%, the non-eosinophilic group, and sputum neutrophil counts, IL-8 and TNF-alpha levels were significantly higher than the eosinophilic group (neutrophil, 50+/-14% versus 19+/-10%, p<0.01). In both groups, there was a significant decrease in sputum total cell counts and serum and sputum IL-8, TNF-alpha and LTB4 levels after the treatment. There was no change in sputum neutrophil counts. Although the sputum eosinophil count decreased only in the eosinophilic subjects, there was no significant difference in inflammatory markers between the groups. The symptom scores were significantly improved after treatment, while the improvement did not reach statistical significance on pulmonary function test parameters. CONCLUSION: Notably, in chronic asthma there is a subgroup of patients whose predominant inflammatory cells are not eosinophils. Sputum neutrophil counts and neutrophilic inflammatory markers are significantly higher in these patients. In the non-eosinophilic group, inhaled steroid caused an important decrease in inflammatory markers; however, there was no change in the sputum eosinophil and neutrophil counts.
doi:10.1080/09629350400003118
PMCID: PMC1781566  PMID: 15545060
9.  Exacerbations of asthma without sputum eosinophilia. 
Thorax  1995;50(10):1057-1061.
BACKGROUND--Sputum analysis provides a non-invasive method of examining the airway secretions of subjects with asthma in order to better understand the inflammatory process. Increased proportions of eosinophils are generally seen in the sputum of subjects with asthma, especially when there is an exacerbation. An unexpected observation in the sputum of subjects with mild exacerbations of asthma is reported. METHODS--Thirty four consecutive subjects with symptoms consistent with a mild exacerbation of asthma were recruited for a treatment study. Inclusion criteria required persistent symptoms of chest tightness, dyspnoea, or wheezing for two weeks (without spontaneous improvement or alteration in dose of inhaled corticosteroid) and a forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) that was reversible to more than 75% predicted or known best to ensure the exacerbation was mild. Sputum (spontaneous or induced with hypertonic saline) from all subjects was examined for differential cell counts. Eosinophilic sputum was defined as > or = 4% eosinophils on two occasions or > 10% eosinophils once. Clinical characteristics, sputum differential counts, and measurements of airways obstruction were compared between the subjects with and without sputum eosinophilia. RESULTS--Almost half of the subjects (16 of 34) considered to have mildly uncontrolled asthma had no sputum eosinophilia. In comparison with the subjects who had sputum eosinophilia the non-eosinophilic group had less airways obstruction (FEV1% predicted 88% v 70%) and less severe airways hyperresponsiveness (PC20 methacholine 0.45 mg/ml v 0.13 mg/ml). There was no difference between the groups in the type or prevalence of symptoms, history of recent infections, smoking, relevant allergen exposure, or use of inhaled corticosteroid. CONCLUSIONS--Symptoms of mildly uncontrolled asthma are not always associated with eosinophilic airways inflammation as measured by sputum analysis. The causes and treatment of the non-eosinophilic condition require further investigation.
PMCID: PMC475018  PMID: 7491553
10.  Systemic Inflammation in Older Adults With Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome 
Purpose
The role of systemic inflammation on asthma-COPD overlap syndrome is unknown. This study aimed to examine systemic inflammation in asthma-COPD overlap syndrome, and to identify associations between clinical characteristics and inflammatory mediators in asthma-COPD overlap syndrome.
Methods
In 108 adults older than 55 years comprising healthy controls (n=29), asthma (n=16), COPD (n=21) and asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (n=42), serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein and Interleukin 6 (IL-6) were assayed. Spirometry, induced sputum, quality of life, comorbidities and medications were assessed, and their associations with asthma-COPD overlap syndrome were analyzed using logistic regression. Associations between systemic inflammatory mediators and clinical characteristics were tested in multivariate linear regression models.
Results
Patients with asthma-COPD overlap syndrome had significantly elevated IL-6 levels compared with healthy controls and asthmatics. Age, comorbidity index and IL-6 level were independently associated with asthma-COPD overlap syndrome. FEV1% predicted was inversely associated with IL-6 level, and cardiovascular disease was associated with an increased IL-6 level. Systemic markers were not associated with airway inflammation.
Conclusions
Systemic inflammation is commonly present in asthma-COPD overlap syndrome, and asthma-COPD overlap syndrome resembled COPD in terms of systemic inflammation. IL-6 is a pivotal inflammatory mediator that may be involved in airflow obstruction and cardiovascular disease and may be an independent treatment target.
doi:10.4168/aair.2014.6.4.316
PMCID: PMC4077958  PMID: 24991455
Ageing; C-reactive protein; interleukin-6; asthma; obstructive airway disease; comorbidity
11.  Effects of formoterol-budesonide on airway remodeling in patients with moderate asthma 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2010;32(1):126-132.
Aim:
To evaluate the effect of inhaled formoterol-budesonide on airway remodeling in adult patients with moderate asthma.
Methods:
Thirty asthmatic patients and thirty control subjects were enrolled. Asthmatic subjects used inhaled Symbicort 4.5/160 μg twice daily for one year. The effect of formoterol-budesonide on airway remodeling was assessed with comparing high-resolution computer tomography (HRCT) images of asthmatic patients and controls, as well as expression levels of cytokines and growth factors, inflammatory cell count in induced sputum, and airway hyper-responsiveness.
Results:
The differences in age and gender between the two groups were not significant. However, differences in FVC %pred, FEV1 %pred, and PC20 between the two groups were significant. After treatment with formoterol-budesonide, the asthma patients' symptoms were relieved, and their lung function was improved. The WT and WA% of HRCT images in patients with asthma was increased, whereas treatment with formoterol-budesonide caused these values to decrease. The expression of MMP-9, TIMP-1, and TGF-β1 in induced sputum samples increased in patients with asthma and decreased dramatically after treatment with formoterol-budesonide. The WT and WA% are correlated with the expression levels of cytokines and growth factors, inflammatory cell count in induced sputum, and airway hyper-responsiveness, while these same values are correlated negatively with FEV1/FVC and FEV1%.
Conclusion:
Formoterol-budesonide might interfere in chronic inflammation and airway remodeling in asthmatic patients. HRCT can be used to effectively evaluate airway remodeling in asthmatic patients.
doi:10.1038/aps.2010.170
PMCID: PMC4003310  PMID: 21170080
asthma; hyper-responsiveness; airway remodeling; high-resolution computer tomography; formoterol-budesonide; induced sputum; single-center, open-label study
12.  Failure of sputum eosinophilia after eotaxin inhalation in asthma 
Thorax  2004;59(5):372-375.
Background: Eotaxin is a chemokine specific for eosinophils and may play an important role in eosinophil recruitment in asthma. The effects of eotaxin inhalation on sputum and blood eosinophils, exhaled nitric oxide (NO), and bronchial responsiveness were determined.
Methods: Eotaxin was administered by nebulisation to asthma patients in three studies: (1) an open dose finding study with eotaxin (5, 10 and 20 µg) to two asthmatic subjects; (2) a randomised placebo controlled study with 20 µg eotaxin to five asthmatic subjects and five normal volunteers; and (3) a randomised placebo controlled study with 40 µg eotaxin to nine asthmatics. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), exhaled NO, and blood eosinophils were measured before and hourly for 5 hours after nebulisation and at 24 and 72 hours. Methacholine bronchial challenge and sputum induction were performed before and at 5, 24, and 72 hours after nebulisation.
Results: In the two placebo controlled studies there was no change in sputum eosinophil count and sputum eosinophilic cationic protein concentration after eotaxin inhalation compared with placebo. FEV1, exhaled NO, and methacholine PC20 did not change. However, high dose eotaxin (40 µg) induced an increase in sputum neutrophil count compared with placebo (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Inhaled eotaxin up to 40 µg induced no changes in sputum eosinophil count but at 40 µg it increased the sputum neutrophil count. The significance of this finding is unknown.
doi:10.1136/thx.2003.010199
PMCID: PMC1746988  PMID: 15115860
13.  Association between markers of emphysema and more severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2006;61(12):1037-1042.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/thx.2006.058321
PMCID: PMC2117071  PMID: 16769715
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; biological markers; outcomes
14.  Heterogeneity of bronchitis in airway diseases in tertiary care clinical practice 
BACKGROUND:
Sputum cell counts have identified inflammatory subtypes of bronchitis in relatively small numbers of subjects with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic cough in research studies. The prevalence of different subtypes of bronchitis in routine clinical practice, however, has not been reported.
OBJECTIVE:
To examine the heterogeneity of bronchitis and its relationship to the severity of airflow obstruction.
METHODS:
A retrospective cross-sectional survey based on a computerized database of spontaneous or induced sputum cell counts examined in a large university tertiary respiratory outpatient clinic.
RESULTS:
The database contained 4232 consecutive sputum records from 2443 patients with chronic cough (39%), asthma (37%), asthma with COPD (9%), COPD (13%) and bronchiectasis (3%). Total and differential cell counts were obtained from 86% of successful sputum samples. Induced sputum provided more viable samples than spontaneous expectorate. Approximately one-third of patients with asthma and one-fifth of patients with COPD experience eosinophilic bronchitis. Asthmatic patients with moderate to severe airflow obstruction had a greater number of sputum eosinophils. There was a significantly higher number of total cell counts and percentage of neutrophils in the sputum of COPD patients with moderate and severe airflow obstruction than in those with mild airflow obstruction.
CONCLUSION:
There is heterogeneity in the cellularity of sputum in various airway diseases. Patients with clinically stable airway diseases may have high sputum cell counts. During exacerbations, more patients may experience neutrophilic bronchitis. Severity of airflow obstruction is associated with eosinophilic bronchitis in patients with asthma, and neutrophilic bronchitis in patients with nonasthmatic COPD.
PMCID: PMC3328881  PMID: 21766077
Asthma; Bronchitis heterogeneity; Clinical practice; COPD; Sputum cell counts
15.  Sputum IL-5 Concentration Is Associated with a Sputum Eosinophilia and Attenuated by Corticosteroid Therapy in COPD 
Background
Airway inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is predominately neutrophilic, but some subjects demonstrate eosinophilic airway inflammation. Whether these inflammatory phenotypes have differential cytokine and chemokine expression is unknown.
Objectives
To assess the sputum concentrations of cytokines and chemokines and their response to oral corticosteroid therapy in COPD subjects with or without a sputum eosinophilia.
Methods
Cytokine and chemokine concentrations were measured using the meso-scale device platform. To assess validity, recovery of exogenous spikes was examined. The concentrations of the validated mediators were measured in COPD sputum from subjects with or without a sputum eosinophilia. In a subgroup with a sputum eosinophilia, the response to oral prednisolone 10 mg for 1 month was examined.
Results
The recovery in sputum of exogenous spiked mediators was >80% in 11/26 cytokines and chemokines. In supernatants from eosinophilic (n = 39) versus non-eosinophilic (n = 59) sputa, the geometric mean (95% CI) concentration was increased for IL-5 [9.0 (4.5-18) pg/ml vs. 3.6 (2.7-6.3) pg/ml, p = 0.03]. IL-5 alone was correlated with sputum eosinophil counts (r = 0.33, p = 0.001), and was attenuated following treatment with prednisolone [n = 9; mean difference 2.3 pg/ml (0.2-4.3), p = 0.032].
Conclusion
We have validated the use of the meso-scale device platform for cytokine and chemokine measurements in the sputum supernatants in COPD. Sputum IL-5 was associated with a sputum eosinophilia and was attenuated following oral corticosteroid therapy. Whether this cytokine is important in the pathogenesis of COPD in a subgroup of patients warrants further investigation.
doi:10.1159/000221902
PMCID: PMC2754944  PMID: 19478474
Airway inflammation; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Cytokines; Eosinophil; Interleukin-5
16.  Eosinophilic airway inflammation in COPD 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a common condition and a major cause of mortality. COPD is characterized by irreversible airflow obstruction. The physiological abnormalities observed in COPD are due to a combination of emphysema and obliteration of the small airways in association with airway inflammation. The predominant cells involved in this inflammatory response are CD8+ lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages. Although eosinophilic airway inflammation is usually considered a feature of asthma, it has been demonstrated in large and small airway tissue samples and in 20%–40% of induced sputum samples from patients with stable COPD. This airway eosinophilia is increased in exacerbations. Thus, modifying eosinophilic inflammation may be a potential therapeutic target in COPD. Eosinophilic airway inflammation is resistant to inhaled corticosteroid therapy, but does respond to systemic corticosteroid therapy, and the degree of response is related to the intensity of the eosinophilic inflammation. In COPD, targeting treatment to normalize the sputum eosinophilia reduced the number of hospital admissions. Whether controlling eosinophilic inflammation in COPD patients with an airway eosinophilia will modify disease progression and possibly alter mortality is unknown, but warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2706606  PMID: 18046901
COPD; sputum eosinophilia; corticosteroids
17.  Lung Function and Incidence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease after Improved Cooking Fuels and Kitchen Ventilation: A 9-Year Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001621.
Pixin Ran, Nanshan Zhong, and colleagues report that cleaner cooking fuels and improved ventilation were associated with better lung function and reduced COPD among a cohort of villagers in Southern China.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Biomass smoke is associated with the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but few studies have elaborated approaches to reduce the risk of COPD from biomass burning. The purpose of this study was to determine whether improved cooking fuels and ventilation have effects on pulmonary function and the incidence of COPD.
Methods and Findings
A 9-y prospective cohort study was conducted among 996 eligible participants aged at least 40 y from November 1, 2002, through November 30, 2011, in 12 villages in southern China. Interventions were implemented starting in 2002 to improve kitchen ventilation (by providing support and instruction for improving biomass stoves or installing exhaust fans) and to promote the use of clean fuels (i.e., biogas) instead of biomass for cooking (by providing support and instruction for installing household biogas digesters); questionnaire interviews and spirometry tests were performed in 2005, 2008, and 2011. That the interventions improved air quality was confirmed via measurements of indoor air pollutants (i.e., SO2, CO, CO2, NO2, and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 µm or less) in a randomly selected subset of the participants' homes. Annual declines in lung function and COPD incidence were compared between those who took up one, both, or neither of the interventions.
Use of clean fuels and improved ventilation were associated with a reduced decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1): decline in FEV1 was reduced by 12 ml/y (95% CI, 4 to 20 ml/y) and 13 ml/y (95% CI, 4 to 23 ml/y) in those who used clean fuels and improved ventilation, respectively, compared to those who took up neither intervention, after adjustment for confounders. The combined improvements of use of clean fuels and improved ventilation had the greatest favorable effects on the decline in FEV1, with a slowing of 16 ml/y (95% CI, 9 to 23 ml/y). The longer the duration of improved fuel use and ventilation, the greater the benefits in slowing the decline of FEV1 (p<0.05). The reduction in the risk of COPD was unequivocal after the fuel and ventilation improvements, with an odds ratio of 0.28 (95% CI, 0.11 to 0.73) for both improvements.
Conclusions
Replacing biomass with biogas for cooking and improving kitchen ventilation are associated with a reduced decline in FEV1 and risk of COPD.
Trial Registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Register ChiCTR-OCH-12002398
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Nearly 3 billion people in developing countries heat their homes and cook by burning biomass—wood, crop waste, and animal dung—in open fires and leaky stoves. Burning biomass this way releases pollutants into the home that impair lung function and that are responsible for more than a million deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) every year. COPD is a group of diseases that interfere with breathing. Normally, air is breathed in through the nose or mouth and travels down the windpipe into two bronchial tubes (airways) in the lungs. These tubes branch into smaller tubes (bronchioles) that end in bunches of tiny air sacs (alveoli). Oxygen in the air passes through the thin walls of these sacs into small blood vessels and is taken to the heart for circulation round the body. The two main types of COPD—chronic bronchitis (long-term irritation and swelling of the bronchial tubes) and emphysema (damage to the walls of the alveoli)—make it hard for people to breathe. Most people with COPD have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, both of which are caused by long-term exposure to cigarette smoke, indoor air pollution, and other lung irritants. Symptoms of COPD include breathlessness during exercise and a persistent cough that produces large amounts of phlegm (mucus). There is no cure for COPD, but drugs and oxygen therapy can relieve its symptoms, and avoiding lung irritants can slow disease progression.
Why Was This Study Done?
Exposure to indoor air pollution has been associated with impaired lung function and COPD in several studies. However, few studies have assessed the long-term effects on lung function and on the incidence of COPD (the proportion of a population that develops COPD each year) of replacing biomass with biogas (a clean fuel produced by bacterial digestion of biodegradable materials) for cooking and heating, or of improving kitchen ventilation during cooking. Here, the researchers undertook a nine-year prospective cohort study in rural southern China to investigate whether these interventions are associated with any effects on lung function and on the incidence of COPD. A prospective cohort study enrolls a group of people, determines their characteristics at baseline, and follows them over time to see whether specific characteristic are associated with specific outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers offered nearly 1,000 people living in 12 villages in southern China access to biogas and to improved kitchen ventilation. All the participants, who adopted these interventions according to personal preferences, completed a questionnaire about their smoking habits and occupational exposure to pollutants and had their lung function measured using a spirometry test at the start and end of the study. Some participants also completed a questionnaire and had their lung function measured three and six years into the study. Finally, the researchers measured levels of indoor air pollution in a randomly selected subset of homes at the end of the study to confirm that the interventions had reduced indoor air pollution. Compared with non-use, the use of clean fuels and of improved ventilation were both associated with a reduction in the decline in lung function over time after adjusting for known characteristics that affect lung function, such as smoking. The use of both interventions reduced the decline in lung function more markedly than either intervention alone, and the benefits of using the interventions increased with length of use. Notably, the combined use of both interventions reduced the risk of COPD occurrence among the study participants.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, among people living in rural southern China, the combined interventions of use of biogas instead of biomass and improved kitchen ventilation were associated with a reduced decline in lung function over time and with a reduced risk of COPD. Because participants were not randomly allocated to intervention groups, the people who adopted the interventions may have shared other unknown characteristics (confounders) that affected their lung function (for example, having a healthier lifestyle). Thus, it is not possible to conclude that either intervention actually caused a reduction in the decline in lung function. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the use of biogas as a substitute for biomass for cooking and heating and improvements in kitchen ventilation might lead to a reduction in the global burden of COPD associated with biomass smoke.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001621.
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides detailed information for the public about COPD
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about COPD and links to other resources (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients and carers about COPD, personal stories, and links to other resources
The British Lung Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about COPD in several languages
The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease works to improve prevention and treatment of COPD around the world
The World Health Organization provides information about all aspects of indoor air pollution and health (in English, French, and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to other information about COPD (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001621
PMCID: PMC3965383  PMID: 24667834
18.  Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Tobacco smoking is the main risk factor for COPD. It is estimated that 50% of older smokers develop COPD and more than 80% of COPD-associated morbidity is attributed to tobacco smoking. According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, 38.5% of Ontarians who smoke have COPD. In patients with a significant history of smoking, COPD is usually present with symptoms of progressive dyspnea (shortness of breath), cough, and sputum production. Patients with COPD who smoke have a particularly high level of nicotine dependence, and about 30.4% to 43% of patients with moderate to severe COPD continue to smoke. Despite the severe symptoms that COPD patients suffer, the majority of patients with COPD are unable to quit smoking on their own; each year only about 1% of smokers succeed in quitting on their own initiative.
Technology
Smoking cessation is the process of discontinuing the practice of inhaling a smoked substance. Smoking cessation can help to slow or halt the progression of COPD. Smoking cessation programs mainly target tobacco smoking, but may also encompass other substances that can be difficult to stop smoking due to the development of strong physical addictions or psychological dependencies resulting from their habitual use.
Smoking cessation strategies include both pharmacological and nonpharmacological (behavioural or psychosocial) approaches. The basic components of smoking cessation interventions include simple advice, written self-help materials, individual and group behavioural support, telephone quit lines, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and antidepressants. As nicotine addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that usually requires several attempts to overcome, cessation support is often tailored to individual needs, while recognizing that in general, the more intensive the support, the greater the chance of success. Success at quitting smoking decreases in relation to:
a lack of motivation to quit,
a history of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 10 years,
a lack of social support, such as from family and friends, and
the presence of mental health disorders (such as depression).
Research Question
What are the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions compared with usual care for patients with COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on June 24, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations (1950 to June Week 3 2010), EMBASE (1980 to 2010 Week 24), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination for studies published between 1950 and June 2010. A single reviewer reviewed the abstracts and obtained full-text articles for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Data were extracted using a standardized data abstraction form.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language, full reports from 1950 to week 3 of June, 2010;
either randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, or non-RCTs with controls;
a proven diagnosis of COPD;
adult patients (≥ 18 years);
a smoking cessation intervention that comprised at least one of the treatment arms;
≥ 6 months’ abstinence as an outcome; and
patients followed for ≥ 6 months.
Exclusion Criteria
case reports
case series
Outcomes of Interest
≥ 6 months’ abstinence
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Nine RCTs were identified from the literature search. The sample sizes ranged from 74 to 5,887 participants. A total of 8,291 participants were included in the nine studies. The mean age of the patients in the studies ranged from 54 to 64 years. The majority of studies used the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD staging criteria to stage the disease in study subjects. Studies included patients with mild COPD (2 studies), mild-moderate COPD (3 studies), moderate–severe COPD (1 study) and severe–very severe COPD (1 study). One study included persons at risk of COPD in addition to those with mild, moderate, or severe COPD, and 1 study did not define the stages of COPD. The individual quality of the studies was high. Smoking cessation interventions varied across studies and included counselling or pharmacotherapy or a combination of both. Two studies were delivered in a hospital setting, whereas the remaining 7 studies were delivered in an outpatient setting. All studies reported a usual care group or a placebo-controlled group (for the drug-only trials). The follow-up periods ranged from 6 months to 5 years. Due to excessive clinical heterogeneity in the interventions, studies were first grouped into categories of similar interventions; statistical pooling was subsequently performed, where appropriate. When possible, pooled estimates using relative risks for abstinence rates with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. The remaining studies were reported separately.
Abstinence Rates
Table ES1 provides a summary of the pooled estimates for abstinence, at longest follow-up, from the trials included in this review. It also shows the respective GRADE qualities of evidence.
Summary of Results*
Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; NRT, nicotine replacement therapy.
Statistically significant (P < 0.05).
One trial used in this comparison had 2 treatment arms each examining a different antidepressant.
Conclusions
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, compared with usual care, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving intensive counselling or a combination of intensive counselling and NRT.
Based on limited and moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving NRT compared with placebo.
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving the antidepressant bupropion compared to placebo.
PMCID: PMC3384371  PMID: 23074432
19.  Pulmonary function tests, sputum induction, and bronchial provocation tests: diagnostic tools in the challenge of distinguishing asthma and COPD phenotypes in clinical practice 
Background:
Despite a number of important differences in the pathogenesis, course, and prognosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have many features in common. Furthermore, smoking induces considerable overlap in pathogenesis and clinical features between these conditions. This study aimed to reveal what inflammatory patterns prevail in clinically established diagnosis groups, including overlap phenotypes of asthma and COPD, and to evaluate the correlation with airway reversibility and hyperreactivity in these overlapping conditions.
Methods:
A total of 110 patients (17 healthy subjects; 16 “healthy” smokers; 46 asthma patients: 24 smokers and 22 non-smokers; and 31 COPD patients: 10 COPD patients with reversibility and 21 without) participated in the study. Induced sputum, reversibility testing, methacholine and adenosine 5’monophosphate (AMP) provocation challenges, and skin prick testing were performed. Airways inflammation was assessed by differential cell counts, and cytokines (interleukin-8 [IL-8] and tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α]) were measured in induced sputum by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Results:
COPD patients with reversibility had increased sputum neutrophils, IL-8, and TNF-α levels compared to smoking asthmatics. No difference was found in inflammatory cells and cytokines between COPD subgroups. Sputum neutrophilia was inversely correlated with the change in forced expiratory volume in one second (ΔFEV1) in smoking asthmatic patients (r = −0.563, P = 0.036). No correlation was found between airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), either with methacholine or AMP, and inflammation in asthmatic patients, regardless of smoking. Reversibility was not correlated with inflammation in COPD patients. However, the response to AMP challenge was correlated with sputum neutrophils (r = 0.844, P = 0.001).
Conclusion:
Although overlaps exist in the disease characteristics of asthma and COPD, the combination of lung function testing, sputum induction, and AHR reveals information that facilitates the distinction between these diseases, allowing clinicians to better tailor their therapy.
PMCID: PMC2939684  PMID: 20856828
asthma; COPD; smoking; lung function; airway hyperresponsiveness
20.  Eosinophil Peroxidase in Sputum Represents a Unique Biomarker of Airway Eosinophilia 
Allergy  2013;68(9):1177-1184.
Background
Sputum eosinophilia has been shown to be a predictor of asthma patient response to therapies. However, quantitative cell counts and differentials of sputum are labor intensive. The objective of this study was to validate a novel ELISA-based assay of eosinophil peroxidase (EPX) in sputum as a rapid and reliable marker of airway eosinophils.
Methods
The utility of EPX-based ELISA as an eosinophil-specific assay was achieved through comparisons with sputum eosinophil differential counts in freshly prepared and archived patient samples from a variety of clinical settings.
Results
EPX levels in sputum correlated with eosinophil percentage (rs=0.84) in asthma patients with varying degrees of airway eosinophilia. Significantly, unlike assays of other eosinophil granule proteins (e.g., ECP and EDN), which often detect the presence of these proteins even in asthma patients with neutrophilic bronchitis, EPX-based ELISA levels are not increased in this subset of asthma patients or in COPD patients lacking evidence of an airway eosinophilia. Moreover, sputum EPX was a surrogate marker of airway eosinophilia in other patient studies (e.g., allergen inhalation and treatment trials the anti-(IL-5) therapeutic Mepolizumab™). Finally, EPX levels in cyto-centrifuged prepared sputum supernatants correlated with those from rapidly prepared non-centrifuged filtrates of sputum (rs 0.94).
Conclusions
EPX-based ELISA is a valid, reliable, repeatable, and specific surrogate marker of eosinophils and/or eosinophil degranulation in the sputum of respiratory patients.
doi:10.1111/all.12206
PMCID: PMC3788081  PMID: 23931643
Sputum Eosinophils; EPX; ELISA; Asthma; COPD
21.  Capsaicin responsiveness and cough in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2000;55(8):643-649.
BACKGROUND—Chronic cough is associated with an increased sensitivity to inhaled capsaicin in a number of conditions but there are no data for patients with more severe asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Moreover, the relationships between the capsaicin response (expressed as the concentration of capsaicin provoking five coughs, C5), self-reported cough, and routine medication is not known.
METHODS—The cough response to capsaicin in 53 subjects with asthma, 56 subjects with COPD, and 96 healthy individuals was recorded and compared with a number of subjective measures of self-reported cough, measures of airway obstruction, and prescribed medication. In asthmatic subjects the relationships between the cough response to capsaicin and mean daily peak flow variability and non-specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness to histamine were also examined.
RESULTS—Subjects with asthma (median C5 = 62 mM) and COPD (median C5 = 31 mM) were similarly sensitive to capsaicin and both were more reactive than normal subjects (median C5 >500 mM). Capsaicin sensitivity was related to symptomatic cough as measured by the diary card score in both asthma and COPD (r = -0.38 and r = -0.44, respectively), but only in asthma and not COPD when measured using a visual analogue score (r = -0.32 and r = -0.05, respectively). Capsaicin sensitivity was independent of the degree of airway obstruction and in asthmatics was not related to PEF variability or PC20 for histamine. The response to capsaicin was not related to treatment with inhaled corticosteroids but was increased in those using anticholinergic agents in both conditions.
CONCLUSIONS—These data suggest that an increased cough reflex, as measured by capsaicin responsiveness, is an important contributor to the presence of cough in asthma and COPD, rather than cough being simply secondary to excessive airway secretions. The lack of any relationship between capsaicin responsiveness and airflow limitation as measured by the FEV1 suggests that the mechanisms producing cough are likely to be different from those causing airways obstruction, at least in patients with COPD.


doi:10.1136/thorax.55.8.643
PMCID: PMC1745828  PMID: 10899239
22.  Periostin is a systemic biomarker of eosinophilic airway inflammation in asthmatic patients 
Background
Eosinophilic airway inflammation is heterogeneous in asthmatic patients. We recently described a distinct subtype of asthma defined by the expression of genes inducible by TH2 cytokines in bronchial epithelium. This gene signature, which includes periostin, is present in approximately half of asthmatic patients and correlates with eosinophilic airway inflammation. However, identification of this subtype depends on invasive airway sampling, and hence noninvasive biomarkers of this phenotype are desirable.
Objective
We sought to identify systemic biomarkers of eosinophilic airway inflammation in asthmatic patients.
Methods
We measured fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (Feno), peripheral blood eosinophil, periostin, YKL-40, and IgE levels and compared these biomarkers with airway eosinophilia in asthmatic patients.
Results
We collected sputum, performed bronchoscopy, and matched peripheral blood samples from 67 asthmatic patients who remained symptomatic despite maximal inhaled corticosteroid treatment (mean FEV1, 60% of predicted value; mean Asthma Control Questionnaire [ACQ] score, 2.7). Serum periostin levels are significantly increased in asthmatic patients with evidence of eosinophilic airway inflammation relative to those with minimal eosinophilic airway inflammation. A logistic regression model, including sex, age, body mass index, IgE levels, blood eosinophil numbers, Feno levels, and serum periostin levels, in 59 patients with severe asthma showed that, of these indices, the serum periostin level was the single best predictor of airway eosinophilia (P = .007).
Conclusion
Periostin is a systemic biomarker of airway eosinophilia in asthmatic patients and has potential utility in patient selection for emerging asthma therapeutics targeting TH2 inflammation.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.06.025
PMCID: PMC3626285  PMID: 22857879
Asthma; biomarker; sputum; bronchoscopy; eosinophil; TH2; IL-13; periostin; IgE; Feno
23.  Airway inflammation contributes to health status in COPD: a cross-sectional study 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):140.
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by irreversible airflow limitation and airway inflammation, accompanied by decreased health status. It is still unknown which factors are responsible for the impaired health status in COPD. We postulated that airway inflammation negatively contributes to health status in COPD.
Methods
In 114 COPD patients (99 male, age: 62 ± 8 yr, 41 [31–55] pack-years, no inhaled or oral corticosteroids, postbronchodilator FEV1: 63 ± 9% pred, FEV1/IVC: 48 ± 9%) we obtained induced sputum and measured health status (St. George's respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ)), postbronchodilator FEV1, hyperinflation (RV/TLC), and airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (PC20). Sputum was induced by hypertonic saline and differential cell counts were obtained in 102 patients.
Results
Univariate analysis showed that SGRQ total and symptom score were positively associated with % sputum macrophages (r = 0.20, p = 0.05; and r = 0.20, p = 0.04, respectively). Multiple regression analysis confirmed these relationships, providing significant contributions of % sputum macrophages (B = 0.25, p = 0.021) and RV/TLC (B = 0.60, p = 0.002) to SGRQ total score. Furthermore, SGRQ symptom score was associated with % sputum macrophages (B = 0.30, p = 0.03) and RV/TLC (B = 0.48, p = 0.044), whilst SGRQ activity score was associated with % sputum macrophages (B = 0.46, p = 0.002), RV/TLC (B = 0.61, p = 0.015), and PC20 (B = -9.3, p = 0.024). Current smoking and FEV1 were not significantly associated with health status in the multiple regression analysis.
Conclusion
We conclude that worse health status in COPD patients is associated with higher inflammatory cell counts in induced sputum. Our findings suggest that airway inflammation and hyperinflation independently contribute to impaired health status in COPD. This may provide a rationale for anti-inflammatory therapy in this disease.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-7-140
PMCID: PMC1697818  PMID: 17137518
24.  Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this analysis was to compare hospital-at-home care with inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who present to the emergency department (ED).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. This airflow limitation is usually both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. The natural history of COPD involves periods of acute-onset worsening of symptoms, particularly increased breathlessness, cough, and/or sputum, that go beyond normal day-to-day variations; these are known as acute exacerbations.
Two-thirds of COPD exacerbations are caused by an infection of the tracheobronchial tree or by air pollution; the cause in the remaining cases is unknown. On average, patients with moderate to severe COPD experience 2 or 3 exacerbations each year.
Exacerbations have an important impact on patients and on the health care system. For the patient, exacerbations result in decreased quality of life, potentially permanent losses of lung function, and an increased risk of mortality. For the health care system, exacerbations of COPD are a leading cause of ED visits and hospitalizations, particularly in winter.
Technology
Hospital-at-home programs offer an alternative for patients who present to the ED with an exacerbation of COPD and require hospital admission for their treatment. Hospital-at-home programs provide patients with visits in their home by medical professionals (typically specialist nurses) who monitor the patients, alter patients’ treatment plans if needed, and in some programs, provide additional care such as pulmonary rehabilitation, patient and caregiver education, and smoking cessation counselling.
There are 2 types of hospital-at-home programs: admission avoidance and early discharge hospital-at-home. In the former, admission avoidance hospital-at-home, after patients are assessed in the ED, they are prescribed the necessary medications and additional care needed (e.g., oxygen therapy) and then sent home where they receive regular visits from a medical professional. In early discharge hospital-at-home, after being assessed in the ED, patients are admitted to the hospital where they receive the initial phase of their treatment. These patients are discharged into a hospital-at-home program before the exacerbation has resolved. In both cases, once the exacerbation has resolved, the patient is discharged from the hospital-at-home program and no longer receives visits in his/her home.
In the models that exist to date, hospital-at-home programs differ from other home care programs because they deal with higher acuity patients who require higher acuity care, and because hospitals retain the medical and legal responsibility for patients. Furthermore, patients requiring home care services may require such services for long periods of time or indefinitely, whereas patients in hospital-at-home programs require and receive the services for a short period of time only.
Hospital-at-home care is not appropriate for all patients with acute exacerbations of COPD. Ineligible patients include: those with mild exacerbations that can be managed without admission to hospital; those who require admission to hospital; and those who cannot be safely treated in a hospital-at-home program either for medical reasons and/or because of a lack of, or poor, social support at home.
The proposed possible benefits of hospital-at-home for treatment of exacerbations of COPD include: decreased utilization of health care resources by avoiding hospital admission and/or reducing length of stay in hospital; decreased costs; increased health-related quality of life for patients and caregivers when treated at home; and reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections in this susceptible patient population.
Ontario Context
No hospital-at-home programs for the treatment of acute exacerbations of COPD were identified in Ontario. Patients requiring acute care for their exacerbations are treated in hospitals.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of hospital-at-home care compared with inpatient hospital care of acute exacerbations of COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on August 5, 2010, using OVID MEDLINE, OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Wiley Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database for studies published from January 1, 1990, to August 5, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists and health technology assessment websites were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the systematic search.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-text reports;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs);
studies performed exclusively in patients with a diagnosis of COPD or studies including patients with COPD as well as patients with other conditions, if results are reported for COPD patients separately;
studies performed in patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED;
studies published between January 1, 1990, and August 5, 2010;
studies comparing hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of COPD;
studies that include at least 1 of the outcomes of interest (listed below).
Cochrane Collaboration reviews have defined hospital-at-home programs as those that provide patients with active treatment for their acute exacerbation in their home by medical professionals for a limited period of time (in this case, until the resolution of the exacerbation). If a hospital-at-home program had not been available, these patients would have been admitted to hospital for their treatment.
Exclusion Criteria
< 18 years of age
animal studies
duplicate publications
grey literature
Outcomes of Interest
Patient/clinical outcomes
mortality
lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second)
health-related quality of life
patient or caregiver preference
patient or caregiver satisfaction with care
complications
Health system outcomes
hospital readmissions
length of stay in hospital and hospital-at-home
ED visits
transfer to long-term care
days to readmission
eligibility for hospital-at-home
Statistical Methods
When possible, results were pooled using Review Manager 5 Version 5.1; otherwise, results were summarized descriptively. Data from RCTs were analyzed using intention-to-treat protocols. In addition, a sensitivity analysis was done assigning all missing data/withdrawals to the event. P values less than 0.05 were considered significant. A priori subgroup analyses were planned for the acuity of hospital-at-home program, type of hospital-at-home program (early discharge or admission avoidance), and severity of the patients’ COPD. Additional subgroup analyses were conducted as needed based on the identified literature. Post hoc sample size calculations were performed using STATA 10.1.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed, taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review: 1 health technology assessment, 5 systematic reviews, and 7 RCTs.
The following conclusions are based on low to very low quality of evidence. The reviewed evidence was based on RCTs that were inadequately powered to observe differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for most outcomes, so there is a strong possibility of type II error. Given the low to very low quality of evidence, these conclusions must be considered with caution.
Approximately 21% to 37% of patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED may be eligible for hospital-at-home care.
Of the patients who are eligible for care, some may refuse to participate in hospital-at-home care.
Eligibility for hospital-at-home care may be increased depending on the design of the hospital-at-home program, such as the size of the geographical service area for hospital-at-home and the hours of operation for patient assessment and entry into hospital-at-home.
Hospital-at-home care for acute exacerbations of COPD was associated with a nonsignificant reduction in the risk of mortality and hospital readmissions compared with inpatient hospital care during 2- to 6-month follow-up.
Limited, very low quality evidence suggests that hospital readmissions are delayed in patients who received hospital-at-home care compared with those who received inpatient hospital care (mean additional days before readmission comparing hospital-at-home to inpatient hospital care ranged from 4 to 38 days).
There is insufficient evidence to determine whether hospital-at-home care, compared with inpatient hospital care, is associated with improved lung function.
The majority of studies did not find significant differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for a variety of health-related quality of life measures at follow-up. However, follow-up may have been too late to observe an impact of hospital-at-home care on quality of life.
A conclusion about the impact of hospital-at-home care on length of stay for the initial exacerbation (defined as days in hospital or days in hospital plus hospital-at-home care for inpatient hospital and hospital-at-home, respectively) could not be determined because of limited and inconsistent evidence.
Patient and caregiver satisfaction with care is high for both hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care.
PMCID: PMC3384361  PMID: 23074420
25.  Role of Inhaled Steroids in Vascular Airway Remodelling in Asthma and COPD 
In chronic obstructive airway diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), changes in bronchial microvasculature are present in response to inflammatory stimuli. Vascular changes may significantly contribute to airway wall remodelling. Angiogenesis and vascular leakage are prevalent in asthma, while vasodilation and vascular leakage dominate in COPD. An endothelial dysfunction may be present both in asthma and in COPD. Vascular changes may occur simultaneously with the thickening of the airway wall and the narrowing of the bronchial lumen. Consequently, pharmacological control of bronchial vascular remodelling may be crucial for symptom control in asthma and COPD. In asthmatic airways, inhaled steroids can downregulate vascular remodelling by acting on proangiogenic factors. Additionally, studies on combination therapy with long-acting β2-agonists and inhaled steroids have provided evidence of a possible synergistic action on components of vascular remodelling in asthma. In COPD, there is less experimental evidence on the effect of inhaled steroids on airway microvascular changes. Importantly, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the most specific growth factor for vascular endothelium, is crucially involved in the pathophysiology of airway vascular remodelling, both in asthma and COPD. The inhibition of VEGF and its receptor may be useful in the treatment of the vascular changes in the airway wall.
doi:10.1155/2012/397693
PMCID: PMC3475307  PMID: 23093959

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