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1.  Pulmonary function impairment in patients with combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema with and without airflow obstruction 
The syndrome of combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE) is a recently described entity associating upper-lobe emphysema and lower-lobe fibrosis. We sought to evaluate differences in pulmonary function between CPFE patients with and without airflow obstruction.
Subjects and methods
Thirty-one CPFE patients were divided into two groups according to the presence or absence of irreversible airflow obstruction based on spirometry (forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity <70% following inhalation of a β2-agonist) as follows: CPFE patients with airflow obstruction (CPFE OB+ group, n=11), and CPFE patients without airflow obstruction (CPFE OB− group, n=20). Pulmonary function, including respiratory impedance evaluated using impulse oscillometry and dynamic hyperinflation following metronome-paced incremental hyperventilation, was retrospectively analyzed in comparison with that observed in 49 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients (n=49).
In imaging findings, low-attenuation-area scores on chest high-resolution computed tomography, representing the degree of emphysema, were significantly lower in the CPFE OB− group than in the CPFE OB+ and COPD groups. In contrast, the severity of pulmonary fibrosis was greater in the CPFE OB− group than in the CPFE OB+ group. In pulmonary function, lung hyperinflation was not apparent in the CPFE OB− group. Impairment of diffusion capacity was severe in both the CPFE OB− and CPFE OB+ groups. Impulse oscillometry showed that respiratory resistance was not apparent in the CPFE OB− group compared with the COPD group, and that easy collapsibility of small airways during expiration of tidal breath was not apparent in the CPFE OB+ group compared with the COPD group. Dynamic hyperinflation following metronome-paced incremental hyperventilation was significantly greater in the COPD group than in the CPFE OB− group, and also tended to be greater in the CPFE OB+ group than in the CPFE OB− group.
The mechanisms underlying impairment of physiological function may differ among CPFE OB+ patients, CPFE OB− patients, and COPD patients. CPFE is a heterogeneous disease, and may have distinct phenotypes physiologically and radiologically.
PMCID: PMC4122579  PMID: 25114520
CPFE; COPD; respiratory impedance; dynamic hyperinflation
2.  Successful Concurrent Chemoradiotherapy with Cisplatin plus Vinorelbine for Locally Advanced Thymic Carcinoma 
Case Reports in Oncology  2014;7(1):65-69.
Little information is available about the usefulness of concurrent chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced thymic carcinoma due to a rare anterior mediastinal tumor. We experienced a case of locally advanced thymic carcinoma that responded well to concurrent thoracic radiotherapy combined with cisplatin plus vinorelbine chemotherapy. The patient showed remarkable tumor regression and has remained disease free for over 4 years following combined therapy. Concurrent chemoradiotherapy seems to be effective for locally advanced thymic carcinoma, and cisplatin plus vinorelbine could be an alternative chemotherapy regimen in combination with thoracic radiotherapy in patients with thymic carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3934680  PMID: 24575019
Thymic malignancy; Chemotherapy; Mediastinal tumor; Radiotherapy
3.  Primary nonseminomatous germ cell tumor in the posterior mediastinum 
Respirology Case Reports  2014;2(1):45-47.
A 54-year-old man was admitted to our hospital for further examination following a chest radiographic screening test. He was asymptomatic but had an elevated serum concentration of alpha-fetoprotein. Chest computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging showed a posterior mediastinal mass in the left thoracic paravertebral region. CT-guided percutaneous needle biopsy was performed, and the histological findings confirmed nonseminomatous germ cell tumor (NSGCT). Gonadal examination and F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography findings indicated the posterior mediastinum as the origin of the disease. Reports of primary NSGCT in the posterior mediastinum are extremely rare.
PMCID: PMC4184732  PMID: 25473562
Alpha-fetoprotein; germ cell tumor; mediastinal tumor; neurogenic tumor
4.  Polymorphisms of the Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase 3 Gene Are Associated with Resistance to High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) in a Japanese Population: A Case Control Study Using Polymorphic Microsatellite Markers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71993.
High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is a hypoxia-induced, life-threatening, high permeability type of edema attributable to pulmonary capillary stress failure. Genome-wide association analysis is necessary to better understand how genetics influence the outcome of HAPE.
Materials and Methods
DNA samples were collected from 53 subjects susceptible to HAPE (HAPE-s) and 67 elite Alpinists resistant to HAPE (HAPE-r). The genome scan was carried out using 400 polymorphic microsatellite markers throughout the whole genome in all subjects. In addition, six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the gene encoding the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP3) were genotyped by Taqman® SNP Genotyping Assays.
The results were analyzed using case-control comparisons. Whole genome scanning revealed that allele frequencies in nine markers were statistically different between HAPE-s and HAPE-r subjects. The SNP genotyping of the TIMP3 gene revealed that the derived allele C of rs130293 was associated with resistance to HAPE [odds ratio (OR) = 0.21, P = 0.0012) and recessive inheritance of the phenotype of HAPE-s (P = 0.0012). A haplotype CAC carrying allele C of rs130293 was associated with resistance to HAPE.
This genome-wide association study revealed several novel candidate genes associated with susceptibility or resistance to HAPE in a Japanese population. Among those, the minor allele C of rs130293 (C/T) in the TIMP3 gene was linked to resistance to HAPE; while, the ancestral allele T was associated with susceptibility to HAPE.
PMCID: PMC3750038  PMID: 23991023
5.  Genetics and Genomics of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disorder that may be hereditable (HPAH), idiopathic (IPAH), or associated with either drug-toxin exposures or other medical conditions. Familial cases have long been recognised and are usually due to mutations in Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor type 2 gene (BMPR2), or, much less commonly, 2 other members of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily, Activin-like Kinase-Type I (ALK1) and Endoglin (ENG), which are associated with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. In addition, approximately 20% of patients with IPAH carry mutations in BMPR2. We provide a summary of BMPR2 mutations associated with IPAH/HPAH, most of which are unique to each family and are presumed to result in loss of function. We review the finding of missense variants and variants of unknown significance in BMPR2 in IPAH/HPAH, fenfluramine exposure, and PAH associated with congenital heart disease. Clinical testing for BMPR2 mutations is available and may be offered to HPAH and IPAH patients but should be preceded by genetic counselling, since lifetime penetrance is only 10%–20%, and there are currently no known effective preventative measures. Identification of a familial mutation can be valuable in reproductive planning and identifying family members who are not mutation carriers and thus will not require lifelong surveillance. With advances in genomic technology and with international collaborative efforts, genome-wide association studies will be conducted to identify additional genes for HPAH, genetic modifiers for BMPR2 penetrance, and genetic susceptibility to IPAH. In addition, collaborative studies of BMPR2 mutation carriers should enable identification of environmental modifiers, biomarkers for disease development and progression, and surrogate markers for efficacy end points in clinical drug development, thereby providing an invaluable resource for trials of PAH prevention.
PMCID: PMC3725550  PMID: 19555857
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension; Genetics; Genomics
6.  Genetic Variants in EPAS1 Contribute to Adaptation to High-Altitude Hypoxia in Sherpas 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50566.
Sherpas comprise a population of Tibetan ancestry in the Himalayan region that is renowned for its mountaineering prowess. The very small amount of available genetic information for Sherpas is insufficient to explain their physiological ability to adapt to high-altitude hypoxia. Recent genetic evidence has indicated that natural selection on the endothelial PAS domain protein 1 (EPAS1) gene was occurred in the Tibetan population during their occupation in the Tibetan Plateau for millennia. Tibetan-specific variations in EPAS1 may regulate the physiological responses to high-altitude hypoxia via a hypoxia-inducible transcription factor pathway. We examined three significant tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, rs13419896, rs4953354, and rs4953388) in the EPAS1 gene in Sherpas, and compared these variants with Tibetan highlanders on the Tibetan Plateau as well as with non-Sherpa lowlanders. We found that Sherpas and Tibetans on the Tibetan Plateau exhibit similar patterns in three EPAS1 significant tag SNPs, but these patterns are the reverse of those in non-Sherpa lowlanders. The three SNPs were in strong linkage in Sherpas, but in weak linkage in non-Sherpas. Importantly, the haplotype structured by the Sherpa-dominant alleles was present in Sherpas but rarely present in non-Sherpas. Surprisingly, the average level of serum erythropoietin in Sherpas at 3440 m was equal to that in non-Sherpas at 1300 m, indicating a resistant response of erythropoietin to high-altitude hypoxia in Sherpas. These observations strongly suggest that EPAS1 is under selection for adaptation to the high-altitude life of Tibetan populations, including Sherpas. Understanding of the mechanism of hypoxia tolerance in Tibetans is expected to provide lights to the therapeutic solutions of some hypoxia-related human diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
PMCID: PMC3515610  PMID: 23227185
7.  Comparison of gene expression profiling between lung fibrotic and emphysematous tissues sampled from patients with combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema 
Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE) is characterized by both emphysema of the upper zone and diffuse parenchymal lung disease with fibrosis of the lower zone of the lung on chest computed tomography. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of CPFE regarding gene expressions by comparing the results of microarray sequences between fibrotic and emphysematous lesions in the lungs of CPFE patients.
The expression profiles of the fibrotic and emphysematous lesions were remarkably different in terms of function. Genes related to the immune system, structural constituents of the cytoskeleton, and cellular adhesion were overexpressed in fibrotic lesions, while genes associated with the cellular fraction, cell membrane structures, vascular growth and biology, second-messenger-mediated signaling, and lung development (all processes that contribute to the destruction and repair of cells, vessels, and the lung) were overexpressed in emphysematous lesions.
The differences in gene expression were detected in fibrotic and emphysematous lesions in CPFE patients. We propose that the development of coexisting fibrotic and emphysematous lesions in CPFE is implemented by these different patterns of gene expressions.
PMCID: PMC3541270  PMID: 23025845
Emphysematous lesion; Cellular fraction; Fibrotic lesion; Gene expression profiles; Immune system; Lung
8.  Acrolein Induces Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Causes Airspace Enlargement 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38038.
Given the relative abundance and toxic potential of acrolein in inhaled cigarette smoke, it is surprising how little is known about the pulmonary and systemic effects of acrolein. Here we test the hypothesis whether systemic administration of acrolein could cause endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and lung cell apoptosis, leading to the enlargement of the alveolar air spaces in rats.
Acute and chronic effects of intraperitoneally administered acrolein were tested. Mean alveolar airspace area was measured by using light microscopy and imaging system software. TUNEL staining and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for active caspase 3 and Western blot analysis for active caspase 3, and caspase 12 were performed to detect apoptosis. The ER-stress related gene expression in the lungs was determined by Quantitative real-time PCR analysis. Acrolein-protein adducts in the lung tissue were detected by IHC.
Acute administration of acrolein caused a significant elevation of activated caspase 3, upregulation of VEGF expression and induced ER stress proteins in the lung tissue. The chronic administration of acrolein in rats led to emphysematous lung tissue remodeling. TUNEL staining and IHC for cleaved caspase 3 showed a large number of apoptotic septal cells in the acrolein-treated rat lungs. Chronic acrolein administration cause the endoplasmic reticulum stress response manifested by significant upregulation of ATF4, CHOP and GADd34 expression. In smokers with COPD there was a considerable accumulation of acrolein-protein adducts in the inflammatory, airway and vascular cells.
Systemic administration of acrolein causes endoplasmic reticulum stress response, lung cell apoptosis, and chronic administration leads to the enlargement of the alveolar air spaces and emphysema in rats. The substantial accumulation of acrolein-protein adducts in the lungs of COPD patients suggest a role of acrolein in the pathogenesis of emphysema.
PMCID: PMC3364999  PMID: 22675432
9.  Sputum eosinophilia can predict responsiveness to inhaled corticosteroid treatment in patients with overlap syndrome of COPD and asthma 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma may overlap and converge in older people (overlap syndrome). It was hypothesized that patients with overlap syndrome may have different clinical characteristics such as sputum eosinophilia, and better responsiveness to treatment with inhaled corticosteroid (ICS).
Sixty-three patients with stable COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] ≤80%) underwent pulmonary function tests, including reversibility of airflow limitation, arterial blood gas analysis, analysis of inflammatory cells in induced sputum, and chest high-resolution computed tomography. The inclusion criteria for COPD patients with asthmatic symptoms included having asthmatic symptoms such as episodic breathlessness, wheezing, cough, and chest tightness worsening at night or in the early morning (COPD with asthma group). The clinical features of COPD patients with asthmatic symptoms were compared with those of COPD patients without asthmatic symptoms (COPD without asthma group).
The increases in FEV1 in response to treatment with ICS were significantly higher in the COPD with asthma group. The peripheral eosinophil counts and sputum eosinophil counts were significantly higher. The prevalence of patients with bronchial wall thickening on chest high-resolution computed tomography was significantly higher. A significant correlation was observed between the increases in FEV1 in response to treatment with ICS and sputum eosinophil counts, and between the increases in FEV1 in response to treatment with ICS and the grade of bronchial wall thickening. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed 82.4% sensitivity and 84.8% specificity of sputum eosinophil count for detecting COPD with asthma, using 2.5% as the cutoff value.
COPD patients with asthmatic symptoms had some clinical features. ICS should be considered earlier as a potential treatment in such patients. High sputum eosinophil counts and bronchial wall thickening on chest high-resolution computed tomography might therefore be a good predictor of response to ICS.
PMCID: PMC3346210  PMID: 22589579
COPD; asthma; HRCT; inhaled corticosteroid; pulmonary function
10.  The association of Toll-like receptor 4 gene polymorphisms with the development of emphysema in Japanese subjects: a case control study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:36.
The principal role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is the induction of immune responses to lipopolysaccharides. Previously, mice deficient in the TLR4 gene exhibited up-regulation of the NADPH oxidase system in the lungs. This resulted in increased oxidant generation and elastolytic activity, which led to pulmonary emphysema. It was suggested that TLR4 might maintain constitutive lung integrity by modulating oxidant generation. We investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TLR4 gene were associated with the emphysema phenotype in Japanese subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Seven SNPs in the TLR4 gene (rs10759930, rs1927914, rs12377632, rs2149356, rs11536889, rs7037117, and rs7045953) were genotyped with allelic discrimination assays. The frequencies of SNPs were compared between 106 patients with the emphysema phenotype of COPD and 137 healthy smokers. We found that the positivity of the individuals with the major G allele of rs11536889 was significantly less in the emphysema group than the control group (p = 0.019). The frequencies of the minor C allele and the distribution of the CC genotype as well as the frequency of the major haplotype that carried the minor C allele of rs11536889 were all significantly higher in the emphysema group than the control group (p = 0.0083, 0.019, and 0.004, respectively). Furthermore, the strength of the association of the CC genotype with the emphysema phenotype was in an odds ratio of 2.60 with 95% confidence intervals from 1.17 to 5.78. However, these significances were not apparent after adjust for age and smoking history by logistic regression. No associations were observed between the rs11536889 and the low attenuation area score, the forced expiratory volume, and the carbon monoxide diffusion capacity in the emphysema group.
The minor C allele of the rs11536889 SNP in the TLR4 gene is likely associated with the risk of developing emphysema in the Japanese population.
PMCID: PMC3333474  PMID: 22251849
11.  Superior mesenteric artery syndrome following initiation of cisplatin-containing chemotherapy: a case report 
Superior mesenteric artery syndrome is a rare cause of upper intestinal obstruction resulting from compression of the duodenum by the superior mesenteric artery and abdominal aorta.
Case presentation
We describe a case of superior mesenteric artery syndrome in a 61-year-old Japanese man with non-small cell lung cancer who had been treated with cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and had lost 7 kg in weight. The diagnosis was confirmed by the typical findings of abdominal computed tomography showing distended stomach resulting from compression of the third portion of the duodenum and reduction of an aortomesenteric distance and aortomesenteric angle.
This case highlights the importance of considering the possibility of superior mesenteric artery syndrome in patients treated with chemotherapy, especially those presenting with a low body mass index and showing weight loss during chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3275446  PMID: 22248296
superior mesenteric artery syndrome; body weight loss; emesis; non-small cell lung cancer
12.  Comparison of efficacy of long-acting bronchodilators in emphysema dominant and emphysema nondominant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
The purpose of this study was to clarify the association between morphological phenotypes according to the predominance of emphysema and efficacy of long-acting muscarinic antagonist and β2 agonist bronchodilators in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Seventy-two patients with stable COPD treated with tiotropium (n = 41) or salmeterol (n = 31) were evaluated for pulmonary function, dynamic hyperinflation following metronome-paced incremental hyperventilation, six-minute walking distance, and St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) before and 2–3 months following treatment with tiotropium or salmeterol. They were then visually divided into an emphysema dominant phenotype (n = 25 in the tiotropium-treated group and n = 22 in the salmeterol-treated group) and an emphysema nondominant phenotype on high-resolution computed tomography, and the efficacy of the two drugs in each phenotype was retrospectively analyzed.
Tiotropium significantly improved airflow limitation, oxygenation, and respiratory impedance in both the emphysema dominant and emphysema nondominant phenotypes, and improved dynamic hyperinflation, exercise capacity, and SGRQ in the emphysema dominant phenotype but not in the emphysema nondominant phenotype. Salmeterol significantly improved total score for SGRQ in the emphysema phenotype, but no significant effects on other parameters were found for either of the phenotypes.
These findings suggest that tiotropium is more effective than salmeterol for airflow limitation regardless of emphysema dominance, and also can improve dynamic hyperinflation in the emphysema dominant phenotype, which results in further improvement of exercise capacity and health-related quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3107698  PMID: 21660299
emphysema; dynamic hyperinflation; long-acting β2 agonist; long-acting muscarinic antagonist; exercise capacity; quality of life
13.  Immunomodulatory strategies prevent the development of autoimmune emphysema 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):179.
The presence of anti-endothelial cell antibodies and pathogenic T cells may reflect an autoimmune component in the pathogenesis of emphysema. Whether immune modulatory strategies can protect against the development of emphysema is not known.
Sprague Dawley rats were immunized with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) to induce autoimmune emphysema and treated with intrathymic HUVEC-injection and pristane. Measurements of alveolar airspace enlargement, cytokine levels, immuno histochemical, western blot analysis, and T cell repertoire of the lung tissue were performed.
The immunomodulatory strategies protected lungs against cell death as demonstrated by reduced numbers of TUNEL and active caspase-3 positive cells and reduced levels of active caspase-3, when compared with lungs from HUVEC-immunized rats. Immunomodulatory strategies also suppressed anti-endothelial antibody production and preserved CNTF, IL-1alpha and VEGF levels. The immune deviation effects of the intrathymic HUVEC-injection were associated with an expansion of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Pristane treatment decreased the proportion of T cells expressing receptor beta-chain, Vβ16.1 in the lung tissue.
Our data demonstrate that interventions classically employed to induce central T cell tolerance (thymic inoculation of antigen) or to activate innate immune responses (pristane treatment) can prevent the development of autoimmune emphysema.
PMCID: PMC3009635  PMID: 21162738
14.  Cisplatin plus Docetaxel Chemotherapy for Thoracic Lymph Node Metastasis from Cancer of Unknown Primary – Experience of Three Cases 
Case Reports in Oncology  2009;2(2):84-91.
The optimal chemotherapeutic regimen for cancer of unknown primary (CUP) remains uncertain. We encountered 3 cases with CUP who presented with thoracic lymph node metastasis. Detailed physical examination and diagnostic tests, including laboratory investigations, bronchoscopy, upper and lower gastrointestinal studies, computed tomography of the head, neck, abdomen and pelvis and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, failed to identify the primary site in these cases. The patients were treated with the cisplatin plus docetaxel chemotherapy regimen. Concomitant thoracic radiotherapy was conducted in one patient and surgical resection in another. All patients showed good response to the chemotherapy and achieved long-term disease-free survival.
PMCID: PMC2918853  PMID: 20740168
Empiric chemotherapy; FDG-PET; Chemotherapy
15.  Pharmacokinetic Evaluation of Amphotericin B in Lung Tissue: Lung Lymph Distribution after Intravenous Injection and Airspace Distribution after Aerosolization and Inhalation of Amphotericin B 
We have studied the pharmacokinetics of amphotericin B (AmB) in lung lymph circulation and bronchial-wash fluid after intravenous infusion and inhalation, respectively. For two experiments with awake sheep, we used lung lymph fistulas and tracheotomy. In experiment 1, AmB concentrations in plasma and lung lymph after intravenous infusion of AmB (1 mg/kg of body weight) over 1.5 h were measured. The mean peak in plasma level was 756.0 ± 188.8 ng/ml at 3 h after the start of infusion, and the level then decreased gradually to 194.8 ± 28.9 ng/ml at 24 h. The stable and maximal levels in lung lymph last 5 to 9 h after the start of AmB infusion. The concentrations in lung lymph after 9 h were slightly higher than those in plasma. Thus, the lung lymph-to-plasma ratio of AmB concentrations increased gradually during infusion, and the ratio was more than 1.0 after the end of infusion, suggesting that AmB could be easily moved from plasma to pulmonary interstitium and/or lung lymph circulation. In another experiment, 5 or 30 mg of aerosol AmB was inhaled, and the concentration of AmB in the bronchial-wash fluid was determined by bronchoalveolar lavage. The peak AmB concentration in the fluid was observed at 0.5 h. After that, AmB was slowly eliminated over 24 h. The area under the concentration-time curve for 30 mg of inhaled AmB was higher than that for 5 mg, but maximum concentrations of AmB in serum for 5 and 30 mg were almost similar. These observations identify the pharmacokinetic characteristics of AmB in the lung and may provide a new insight into the strategy for clinical treatment of fungal pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC105652  PMID: 9660990

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