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1.  Factors associated with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome and chronic graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation 
American journal of hematology  2014;89(4):404-409.
Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is a form of chronic graft vs. host disease (cGVHD) and a highly morbid pulmonary complication after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We assessed the prevalence and risk factors for BOS and cGVHD in a cohort of HSCT recipients, including those who received reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) HSCT. Between January 1, 2000 and June 30, 2010, all patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT at our institution (n = 1854) were retrospectively screened for the development of BOS by PFT criteria. We matched the BOS cases with two groups of control patients: (1) patients who had concurrent cGVHD without BOS and (2) those who developed neither cGVHD nor BOS. Comparisons between BOS patients and controls were conducted using t-test or Fisher’s exact tests. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to examine factors associated with BOS diagnosis. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS 9.2. We identified 89 patients (4.8%) meeting diagnostic criteria for BOS at a median time of 491 days (range: 48–2067) after HSCT. Eighty-six (97%) of our BOS cohort had extra-pulmonary cGVHD. In multivariate analysis compared to patients without cGVHD, patients who received busulfan-based conditioning, had unrelated donors, and had female donors were significantly more likely to develop BOS, while ATG administration was associated with a lower risk of BOS. Our novel results suggest that busulfan conditioning, even in RIC transplantation, could be an important risk factor for BOS and cGVHD.
doi:10.1002/ajh.23656
PMCID: PMC4314109  PMID: 24375545
2.  Mononuclear Phagocytes and Airway Epithelial Cells: Novel Sources of Matrix Metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8) in Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97485.
Objectives
Matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8) promotes lung fibrotic responses to bleomycin in mice. Although prior studies reported that MMP-8 levels are increased in plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) samples from IPF patients, neither the bioactive forms nor the cellular sources of MMP-8 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients have been identified. It is not known whether MMP-8 expression is dys-regulated in IPF leukocytes or whether MMP-8 plasma levels correlate with IPF outcomes. Our goal was to address these knowledge gaps.
Methods
We measured MMP-8 levels and forms in blood and lung samples from IPF patients versus controls using ELISAs, western blotting, and qPCR, and assessed whether MMP-8 plasma levels in 73 IPF patients correlate with rate of lung function decline and mortality. We used immunostaining to localize MMP-8 expression in IPF lungs. We quantified MMP-8 levels and forms in blood leukocytes from IPF patients versus controls.
Results
IPF patients have increased BALF, whole lung, and plasma levels of soluble MMP-8 protein. Active MMP-8 is the main form elevated in IPF lungs. MMP-8 mRNA levels are increased in monocytes from IPF patients, but IPF patients and controls have similar levels of MMP-8 in PMNs. Surprisingly, macrophages and airway epithelial cells are the main cells expressing MMP-8 in IPF lungs. Plasma and BALF MMP-8 levels do not correlate with decline in lung function and/or mortality in IPF patients.
Conclusion
Blood and lung MMP-8 levels are increased in IPF patients. Active MMP-8 is the main form elevated in IPF lungs. Surprisingly, blood monocytes, lung macrophages, and airway epithelial cells are the main cells in which MMP-8 is upregulated in IPF patients. Plasma and BALF MMP-8 levels are unlikely to serve as a prognostic biomarker for IPF patients. These results provide new information about the expression patterns of MMP-8 in IPF patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097485
PMCID: PMC4020836  PMID: 24828408
3.  Comparison of arterial and venous blood biomarker levels in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
F1000Research  2013;2:114.
Purpose: The development of novel biomarkers is an unmet need in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Arterial blood comes directly from the lung and venous blood drains capillary beds of the organ or tissue supplied. We hypothesized that there would be a difference in levels of the biomarkers metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) in arterial compared with venous blood. 
Methods: Radial artery and brachial vein blood samples were taken simultaneously in each of 12 patients with COPD and seven controls with normal lung function. Circulating immunoreactive MMP-9, VEGF-A and IL-6 levels in serum were measured using quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Results were compared using a Student’s paired t test. The study was powered to determine whether significant differences in cytokine levels were present between paired arterial and venous blood samples.  
Results: In the 12 patients with COPD, four were female, and age ranged 53-85 years, mean age 69 years. Three patients in the control group were female, with age range 46-84 years, mean age 64.7 years. In the COPD group, three patients had mild, five moderate and four severe COPD. No significant difference was found between arterial and venous levels of MMP-9, VEGF-A or IL-6. 
Conclusions: In this pilot study, levels of the measured biomarkers in arterial compared with venous blood in both COPD patients and healthy controls did not differ. This suggests that as we continue to chase the elusive biomarker in COPD as a potential tool to measure disease activity, we should focus on venous blood for this purpose.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.2-114.v1
PMCID: PMC3894801  PMID: 24555057
4.  Inflammatory and repair serum biomarker pattern. Association to clinical outcomes in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):71.
Background
The relationship between serum biomarkers and clinical expressions of COPD is limited. We planned to further describe this association using markers of inflammation and injury and repair.
Methods
We studied lung function, comorbidities, exercise tolerance, BODE index, and quality of life in 253 COPD patients and recorded mortality over three years. Serum levels of Interleukins 6,8 and16, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF α) [inflammatory panel], vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) [injury and repair panel] and pulmonary and activation-regulated chemokine (PARC/CCL-18) and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1/CCL2) [chemoattractant panel] were measured. We related the pattern of the biomarker levels to minimal clinically important differences (MCID) using a novel visualization method [ObServed Clinical Association Results (OSCAR) plot].
Results
Levels of the inflammatory markers IL-6, TNF α were higher and those of injury and repair lower (p < 0.01) with more advanced disease (GOLD 1 vs. 4). Using the OSCAR plot, we found that patients in the highest quartile of inflammatory and lowest quartile of injury and repair biomarkers level were more clinically compromised and had higher mortality (p < 0.05).
Conclusions
In COPD, serum biomarkers of inflammation and repair are distinctly associated with important clinical parameters and survival.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-13-71
PMCID: PMC3493287  PMID: 22906131
Exercise; Inflammation; Phenotypes; Repair; Survival
5.  Gender Differences in Plasma Biomarker Levels in a Cohort of COPD Patients: A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16021.
Rationale
Little is known about gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Hypothesis
There are differences in serum biomarker levels between women and men with COPD.
Objective
Explore gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with COPD and smokers without COPD.
Methods
We measured plasma levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-16, MCP-1, MMP-9, PARC and VEGF in 80 smokers without COPD (40 males, 40 females) and 152 stable COPD patients (76 males, 76 females) with similar airflow obstruction. We determined anthropometrics, smoking history, lung function, exercise tolerance, body composition, BODE index, co-morbidities and quality of life. We then explored associations between plasma biomarkers levels and the clinical characteristics of the patients and also with the clinical and physiological variables known to predict outcome in COPD.
Results
The plasma biomarkers level explored were similar in men and women without COPD. In contrast, in patients with COPD the median value in pg/mL of IL-6 (6.26 vs 8.0, p = 0.03), IL-16 (390 vs 321, p = 0.009) and VEGF (50 vs 87, p = 0.02) differed between women and men. Adjusted for smoking history, gender was independently associated with IL-16, PARC and VEGF levels. There were also gender differences in the associations between IL-6, IL-16 and VEGF and physiologic variables that predict outcomes.
Conclusions
In stable COPD patients with similar airflow obstruction, there are gender differences in plasma biomarker levels and in the association between biomarker levels and important clinical or physiological variables. Further studies should confirm our findings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016021
PMCID: PMC3022655  PMID: 21267454
6.  Profiling serum biomarkers in patients with COPD: associations with clinical parameters 
Thorax  2007;62(7):595-601.
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disease associated with significant systemic consequences. Recognition of the systemic manifestations has stimulated interest in identifying circulating biomarkers in these patients. A systematic analysis was undertaken of multiple protein analytes in the serum of well characterised patients with COPD and matched controls using novel protein microarray platform (PMP) technology.
Methods
Forty‐eight patients (65% men) with COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 s <55%) and 48 matched controls were studied. Anthropometric parameters, pulmonary function tests, 6‐minute walk distance, the BODE index and the number of exacerbations were measured and the association of these outcomes with the baseline levels of 143 serum biomarkers measured by PMP was explored.
Results
Thirty biomarker clusters were identified and ranked by computing the predictive value of each cluster for COPD (partial least squares discriminant analysis). From the 19 best predictive clusters, 2–3 biomarkers were selected based on their pathophysiological profile (chemoattractants, inflammation, tissue destruction and repair) and the statistical significance of their relationship with clinically important end points was tested. The selected panel of 24 biomarkers correlated (p<0.01) with forced expiratory volume in 1 s, carbon monoxide transfer factor, 6‐minute walk distance, BODE index and exacerbation frequency.
Conclusion
PMP technology can be useful in identifying potential biomarkers in patients with COPD. Panels of selected serum markers are associated with important clinical predictors of outcome in these patients.
doi:10.1136/thx.2006.064428
PMCID: PMC2117244  PMID: 17356059

Results 1-6 (6)