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1.  Transcriptomic Studies of the Airway Field of Injury Associated with Smoking-Related Lung Disease 
The “field of injury” hypothesis proposes that exposure to an inhaled insult such as cigarette smoke elicits a common molecular response throughout the respiratory tract. This response can therefore be quantified in any airway tissue, including readily accessible epithelial cells in the bronchus, nose, and mouth. High-throughput technologies, such as whole-genome gene expression microarrays, can be employed to catalog the physiological consequences of such exposures in the airway epithelium. Pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and asthma are also thought to be associated with a field of injury, and in patients with these diseases, airway epithelial cells can be a useful surrogate for diseased tissue that is often difficult to obtain. Global measurement of mRNA and microRNA expression in these cells can provide useful information about the molecular pathogenesis of such diseases and may be useful for diagnosis and for predicting prognosis and response to therapy. In this review, our aim is to summarize the history and state of the art of such “transcriptomic” studies in the human airway epithelium, especially in smoking and smoking-related lung diseases, and to highlight future directions for this field.
doi:10.1513/pats.201011-066MS
PMCID: PMC3159071  PMID: 21543797
epithelium; lung neoplasms; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; asthma; tobacco
2.  The Field of Tissue Injury in the Lung and Airway 
The concept of field cancerization was first introduced over six decades ago in the setting of oral cancer. Later, field cancerization involving histologic and molecular changes of neoplasms and adjacent tissue began to be characterized in smokers with or without lung cancer. Investigators also described a diffuse, non-neoplastic field of molecular injury throughout the respiratory tract that is attributable to cigarette smoking and susceptibility to smoking-induced lung disease. The potential molecular origins of field cancerization and the field of injury following cigarette smoke exposure in lung and airway epithelia are critical to understanding the impact of the field of injury on clinical diagnostics and therapeutics for smoking-induced lung disease.
doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0174
PMCID: PMC2705781  PMID: 19138985
field of injury; field cancerization; lung cancer; tobacco smoke; molecular diagnosis and prognosis
3.  Comparison of Proteomic and Transcriptomic Profiles in the Bronchial Airway Epithelium of Current and Never Smokers 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(4):e5043.
Background
Although prior studies have demonstrated a smoking-induced field of molecular injury throughout the lung and airway, the impact of smoking on the airway epithelial proteome and its relationship to smoking-related changes in the airway transcriptome are unclear.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Airway epithelial cells were obtained from never (n = 5) and current (n = 5) smokers by brushing the mainstem bronchus. Proteins were separated by one dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (1D-PAGE). After in-gel digestion, tryptic peptides were processed via liquid chromatography/ tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and proteins identified. RNA from the same samples was hybridized to HG-U133A microarrays. Protein detection was compared to RNA expression in the current study and a previously published airway dataset. The functional properties of many of the 197 proteins detected in a majority of never smokers were similar to those observed in the never smoker airway transcriptome. LC-MS/MS identified 23 proteins that differed between never and current smokers. Western blotting confirmed the smoking-related changes of PLUNC, P4HB1, and uteroglobin protein levels. Many of the proteins differentially detected between never and current smokers were also altered at the level of gene expression in this cohort and the prior airway transcriptome study. There was a strong association between protein detection and expression of its corresponding transcript within the same sample, with 86% of the proteins detected by LC-MS/MS having a detectable corresponding probeset by microarray in the same sample. Forty-one proteins identified by LC-MS/MS lacked detectable expression of a corresponding transcript and were detected in ≤5% of airway samples from a previously published dataset.
Conclusions/Significance
1D-PAGE coupled with LC-MS/MS effectively profiled the airway epithelium proteome and identified proteins expressed at different levels as a result of cigarette smoke exposure. While there was a strong correlation between protein and transcript detection within the same sample, we also identified proteins whose corresponding transcripts were not detected by microarray. This noninvasive approach to proteomic profiling of airway epithelium may provide additional insights into the field of injury induced by tobacco exposure.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005043
PMCID: PMC2664466  PMID: 19357784
4.  Smoking-induced gene expression changes in the bronchial airway are reflected in nasal and buccal epithelium 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:259.
Background
Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and a significant cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Prior studies have demonstrated that smoking creates a field of molecular injury throughout the airway epithelium exposed to cigarette smoke. We have previously characterized gene expression in the bronchial epithelium of never smokers and identified the gene expression changes that occur in the mainstem bronchus in response to smoking. In this study, we explored relationships in whole-genome gene expression between extrathorcic (buccal and nasal) and intrathoracic (bronchial) epithelium in healthy current and never smokers.
Results
Using genes that have been previously defined as being expressed in the bronchial airway of never smokers (the "normal airway transcriptome"), we found that bronchial and nasal epithelium from non-smokers were most similar in gene expression when compared to other epithelial and nonepithelial tissues, with several antioxidant, detoxification, and structural genes being highly expressed in both the bronchus and nose. Principle component analysis of previously defined smoking-induced genes from the bronchus suggested that smoking had a similar effect on gene expression in nasal epithelium. Gene set enrichment analysis demonstrated that this set of genes was also highly enriched among the genes most altered by smoking in both nasal and buccal epithelial samples. The expression of several detoxification genes was commonly altered by smoking in all three respiratory epithelial tissues, suggesting a common airway-wide response to tobacco exposure.
Conclusion
Our findings support a relationship between gene expression in extra- and intrathoracic airway epithelial cells and extend the concept of a smoking-induced field of injury to epithelial cells that line the mouth and nose. This relationship could potentially be utilized to develop a non-invasive biomarker for tobacco exposure as well as a non-invasive screening or diagnostic tool providing information about individual susceptibility to smoking-induced lung diseases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-259
PMCID: PMC2435556  PMID: 18513428
5.  Airway gene expression in COPD is dynamic with inhaled corticosteroid treatment and reflects biological pathways associated with disease activity 
Thorax  2013;69(1):14-23.
Background
A core feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the accelerated decline in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). The recent Groningen and Leiden Universities study of Corticosteroids in Obstructive Lung Disease (GLUCOLD) study suggested that particular phenotypes of COPD benefit from fluticasone±salmeterol by reducing the rate of FEV1 decline, yet the underlying mechanisms are unknown.
Methods
Whole-genome gene expression profiling using the Affymetrix Gene ST array (V.1.0) was performed on 221 bronchial biopsies available from 89 COPD patients at baseline and after 6 and 30 months of fluticasone±salmeterol and placebo treatment in GLUCOLD.
Results
Linear mixed effects modelling revealed that the expression of 138 genes decreased, whereas the expression of 140 genes significantly upregulated after both 6 and 30 months of treatment with fluticasone±salmeterol versus placebo. A more pronounced treatment-induced change in the expression of 50 and 55 of these 278 genes was associated with a lower rate of decline in FEV1 and Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire, respectively. Genes decreasing with treatment were involved in pathways related to cell cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, epithelial cell signalling, p53 signalling and T cell signalling. Genes increasing with treatment were involved in pathways related to focal adhesion, gap junction and extracellular matrix deposition. Finally, the fluticasone-induced gene expression changes were enriched among genes that change in the airway epithelium in smokers with versus without COPD in an independent data set.
Conclusions
The present study suggests that gene expression in biological pathways of COPD is dynamic with treatment and reflects disease activity. This study opens the gate to targeted and molecular phenotype-driven therapy of COPD.
doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-202878
PMCID: PMC3888587  PMID: 23925644
COPD ÀÜ Mechanisms

Results 1-5 (5)