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1.  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
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.
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
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
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)
PMCID: PMC3965383  PMID: 24667834
2.  Early intervention with tiotropium in Chinese patients with GOLD stages I–II chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Tie-COPD): study protocol for a multicentre, double-blinded, randomised, controlled trial 
BMJ Open  2014;4(2):e003991.
Owing to the high and increasing morbidity and mortality, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become a major public health problem worldwide. Although the majority of patients with COPD are in the early stages, little attention has been paid to them, in particular regarding to early intervention. Tiotropium bromide can significantly relieve symptoms and reduce the incidence of acute exacerbations of COPD. Therefore, we hypothesise that therapy with tiotropium bromide will benefit patients with COPD with early-stage disease.
A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multicentre clinical trial (Tiotropium In Early COPD study, Tie-COPD study) is being conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of long-term intervention with tiotropium in patients with COPD with early-stage disease. A total of 839 patients with COPD who satisfied the eligibility criteria were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive a once daily inhaled capsule of either tiotropium bromide (18 μg) or matching placebo for 2 years. Measurements will include forced expiratory volume in 1 s, health-related quality of life, grade degree of breathlessness related to activities, COPD exacerbations and pharmacoeconomic analysis.
This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University. Recruitment started in November 2011 and ended in October 2013, with 839 patients randomised. The treatment follow-up of participants with Tie-COPD is currently ongoing and is due to finish in November 2015. The authors will disseminate the findings in peer-reviewed publications, conferences and seminar presentations.
Trial registration (NCT01455129).
PMCID: PMC3931994  PMID: 24549160
COPD; Early Intervention; Tiotropium; Protocol
3.  My dreams 
PMCID: PMC3944185  PMID: 24605233
4.  Sodium Tanshinone IIA Sulfonate Inhibits Canonical Transient Receptor Potential Expression in Pulmonary Arterial Smooth Muscle from Pulmonary Hypertensive Rats 
Danshen, the dried root of Salvia miltiorrhiza, is widely used in clinics in China for treating various diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Sodium tanshinone IIA sulfonate (STS), a water-soluble derivative of tanshinone IIA isolated as the major active component from Danshen, was recently reported to be effective in attenuating the characteristic pulmonary vascular changes associated with chronically hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (CHPH); however, the underlying detailed mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of STS on basal intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) and store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) in distal pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) exposed to prolonged hypoxia or isolated from CHPH rats. SOCE measured by Mn2+ quenching of Fura-2 fluorescence in PASMCs from rats exposed to chronic hypoxia (10% O2, 21 d) was increased by 59%, and basal [Ca2+]i was increased by 119%; this effect was inhibited by intraperitoneal injection of STS. These inhibitory effects of STS on hypoxic increases of SOCE and basal [Ca2+]i were associated with reduced expression of canonical transient receptor potential (TRPC)1 and TRPC6 in distal pulmonary arterial smooth muscle and decreases on right ventricular pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, and peripheral pulmonary vessel thickening. In ex vivo cultured distal PASMCs from normoxic rats, STS (0–25 μM) dose-dependently inhibited hypoxia-induced cell proliferation and migration, paralleled with attenuation in increases of basal [Ca2+]i, SOCE, mRNA, and protein expression of TRPC1 and TRPC6. STS also relieved right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, and TRPC1 and TRPC6 protein expression in distal pulmonary arteries in a monocrotaline-induced rat model of pulmonary arterial hypertension. These results indicate that STS prevents pulmonary arterial hypertension development likely by inhibiting TRPC1 and TRPC6 expression, resulting in normalized basal [Ca2+]i and attenuated proliferation and migration of PASMCs.
PMCID: PMC3547081  PMID: 23065131
STS; TRPC; SOCE; pulmonary hypertension
5.  Genetic Variants in MUC4 Gene Are Associated with Lung Cancer Risk in a Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77723.
Mucin MUC4, which is encoded by the MUC4 gene, plays an important role in epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation. Aberrant MUC4 overexpression is associated with invasive tumor proliferation and poor outcome in epithelial cancers. Collectively, the existing evidence suggests that MUC4 has tumor-promoter functions. In this study, we performed a case-control study of 1,048 incident lung cancer cases and 1,048 age- and sex frequency-matched cancer-free controls in a Chinese population to investigate the role of MUC4 gene polymorphism in lung cancer etiology. We identified nine SNPs that were significantly associated with increased lung cancer risk (P = 0.0425 for rs863582, 0.0333 for rs842226, 0.0294 for rs842225, 0.0010 for rs2550236, 0.0149 for rs2688515, 0.0191 for rs 2641773, 0.0058 for rs3096337, 0.0077 for rs859769, and 0.0059 for rs842461 in an additive model). Consistent with these single-locus analysis results, the haplotype analyses revealed an adverse effect of the haplotype “GGC” of rs3096337, rs859769, and rs842461 on lung cancer. Both the haplotype and diplotype “CTGAGC” of rs863582, rs842226, rs2550236, rs842225, and rs2688515 had an adverse effect on lung cancer, which is also consistent with the single-locus analysis. Moreover, we observed statistically significant interactions for rs863582 and rs842461 in heavy smokers. Our results suggest that MUC4 gene polymorphisms and their interaction with smoking may contribute to lung cancer etiology.
PMCID: PMC3804582  PMID: 24204934
6.  Corticosteroid monotherapy in a case of bronchocentric granulomatosis with a two-year follow-up 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2013;5(5):E207-E209.
Bronchocentric granulomatosis (BCG) is a rare disease. Because of the possibility of fungal infection, BCG has usually been treated with corticosteroids and antifungal agent. However, fungi are not detected in all BCG tissues. We report a case of proven BCG by open lung biopsy without fungi in a woman with corticosteroids monotherapy and two-year follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3815734  PMID: 24255794
Bronchocentric granulomatosis (BCG); fungal infection; open lung biopsy; corticosteroids; allergic disease
7.  Acute hypoxia activates store-operated Ca2+ entry and increases intracellular Ca2+ concentration in rat distal pulmonary venous smooth muscle cells 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2013;5(5):605-612.
Exposure to acute hypoxia causes vasoconstriction in both pulmonary arteries (PA) and pulmonary veins (PV). The mechanisms on the arterial side have been studied extensively. However, bare attention has been paid to the venous side.
To investigate if acute hypoxia caused the increase of intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i), and Ca2+ influx through store-operated calcium channels (SOCC) in pulmonary venous smooth muscle cells (PVSMCs).
Fluorescent microscopy and fura-2 were used to measure effects of 4% O2 on [Ca2+]i and store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) in isolated rat distal PVSMCs.
Measurements and main results
In PVSMCs perfused with Ca2+-free Krebs Ringer bicarbonate solution (KRBS) containing cyclopiazonic acid to deplete Ca2+ stores in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and nifedipine to prevent Ca2+ entry through L-type voltage-depended Ca2+ channels (VDCC), hypoxia markedly enhanced both the increase in [Ca2+]i caused by restoration of extracellular [Ca2+] and the rate at which extracellular Mn2+ quenched fura-2 fluorescence. Moreover, the increased [Ca2+]i in PVSMCs perfused with normal salt solution was completely blocked by SOCC antagonists SKF-96365 and NiCl2 at concentrations that SOCE >85% was inhibited but [Ca2+]i responses to 60 mM KCl were not altered. On the contrary, L-type VDCC antagonist nifedipine inhibited increase in [Ca2+]i to hypoxia by only 50% at concentrations that completely blocked responses to KCl. The increased [Ca2+]i caused by hypoxia was completely abolished by perfusion with Ca2+-free KRBS.
These results suggest that acute hypoxia enhances SOCE via activating SOCCs, leading to increased [Ca2+]i in distal PVSMCs.
PMCID: PMC3815740  PMID: 24255773
Calcium signaling; pulmonary venous smooth muscle (PVSM); store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE); intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i)
8.  Re-Challenge with Ovalbumin Failed to Induce Bronchial Asthma in Mice with Eosinophilic Bronchitis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75195.
To investigate whether eosinophilic bronchitis without airway hyperresponsiveness will develop bronchial asthma in allergic mice.
Mice were sensitized with OVA on days 0, 7, and 14, challenged on days 21 to 23 (1st OVA challenge), and re-challenged on days 46 to 48 (2nd OVA challenge), intranasally with 10 (the EB group) and 200 (the AS group) μg OVA. Lung resistance (RL) was assessed 24 h after each challenge and on day 45 followed by analysis of leukocyte distribution in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and histological examination.
Twenty-four hours after the 1st OVA challenge, aerosolized methacholine caused a dose-dependent increase in RL in all groups. At doses ≥1.56 mg/mL, RL in the AS group was significantly higher than that of the NS-1 group (P<0.01 or 0.05) and at doses ≥12.5 mg/mL, RL was markedly higher in the AS group than that of the EB group (P<0.01). The percentage of eosinophils in both the EB group and the AS group was markedly higher than that of the control group. Twenty-four hours after the 2nd OVA challenge, at doses ≤12.5 mg/mL, there was no significant difference in RL among all groups (P>0.05). At doses ≥12.5 mg/mL, RL in the AS group was significantly higher than that of the control group and EB group (P<0.01 or 0.05). The percentage of eosinophils in the AS group was noticeably higher than that of the EB group(P<0.05). Furthermore, there was apparent infiltration by inflammatory cells, predominantly eosinophils, into the sub-epithelial region of the bronchus and the bronchioles and around the vessels in the EB and AS group.
Re-challenge with low doses of ovalbumin did not increase airway reactivity and failed to induce bronchial asthma in mice with ovalbumin-induced EB.
PMCID: PMC3779187  PMID: 24073252
9.  Antitumor effect of para-toluenesulfonamide against lung cancer xenograft in a mouse model 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2013;5(4):472-483.
Conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are relatively insensitive and unsatisfactory. Para-toluenesulfonamide (PTS), a unique antitumor drug for local intratumoral injection, shows an efficacy of severely suppressing solid tumor growth with mild side effects in clinical trials. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of PTS on lung cancer H460 cells in vivo in nude mice and its underlying mechanisms in vitro.
A lung cancer model for in vivo experiment was established in BALB/c nude mice using H460 cells to examine the effect of local injection of PTS on tumor suppression. We also assessed the injury to the normal tissue by subcutaneous injection of PTS. In vitro, PTS was diluted into different doses for study on its antitumor mechanisms. We evaluated the necrotic effect of PTS on H460 cells by PI and Hoechst 33342 staining. Cell viability and membrane permeability were also determined by using CCK-8 and LDH assays respectively. All these tests were conducted in comparison with traditional local injection of anhydrous ethanol.
PTS was shown to significantly inhibit the growth of H460 tumor xenografts in nude mice by inducing necrosis of the tumor histologically. Its effect on tumor growth was significantly stronger than that of anhydrous ethanol. By contrast, the injured normal tissue by PTS injection was less than that by ethanol. In vitro, PTS still demonstrated excellent necrotizing effect on H460 cells when diluted to a lower concentration. Detailed analysis of PTS on H460 cells indicated that PTS had a better effect on attenuating the cell viability and increasing the cell membrane permeability than ethanol at the same level.
PTS exhibits excellent inhibition effect on the growth of lung cancer by necrotizing tumor in vivo and in vitro, reducing tumor cell viability and augmenting the membrane permeability in vitro, with only mild injury to normal tissue. The antitumor effect of PTS on lung cancer in vivo and in vitro is stronger than that of ethanol.
PMCID: PMC3755678  PMID: 23991305
Para-toluenesulfonamide (PTS); lung cancer; necrosis; therapy; antitumor agent
10.  Epidemiology of cough in relation to China 
Cough is one of the most common complaints for which patients seek medical attention. Misdiagnosis and mistreatment of cough exist commonly in China. The prevalence of acute cough caused by upper airway infection fluctuates between 9% and 64% in the community, for chronic cough, the prevalence >10% in most surveys, ranging from 7.2%-33%. The common causes of chronic cough are upper airway cough syndrome (previously called as post nasal drip syndrome [PNDS]), cough variant asthma (CVA), gastroesophageal reflux related cough (GERD) and eosinophilic bronchitis (EB). There is a regional discrepancy regarding the prevalence of common causes of cough and distribution of gender among China, UK, USA, the most common cause of chronic cough in China are CVA, followed by UACS, EB and atopic cough (AC), the male is almost equal to female in numbers in China. The risk factors for cough includes cold air, smoking, environmental pollutants, noxious substances and allergens, and unreasonable diet habits.
PMCID: PMC3711853  PMID: 23835047
Cough; Epidemiology; Etiology; Risk factor; Quality of life
11.  Rapid Generation of Human-Like Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies in Urgent Preparedness for Influenza Pandemics and Virulent Infectious Diseases 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66276.
The outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases caused by pathogens such as SARS coronavirus, H5N1, H1N1, and recently H7N9 influenza viruses, have been associated with significant mortality and morbidity in humans. Neutralizing antibodies from individuals who have recovered from an infection confer therapeutic protection to others infected with the same pathogen. However, survivors may not always be available for providing plasma or for the cloning of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
Methodology/Principal Findings
The genome and the immunoglobulin genes in rhesus macaques and humans are highly homologous; therefore, we investigated whether neutralizing mAbs that are highly homologous to those of humans (human-like) could be generated. Using the H5N1 influenza virus as a model, we first immunized rhesus macaques with recombinant adenoviruses carrying a synthetic gene encoding hemagglutinin (HA). Following screening an antibody phage display library derived from the B cells of immunized monkeys, we cloned selected macaque immunoglobulin heavy chain and light chain variable regions into the human IgG constant region, which generated human-macaque chimeric mAbs exhibiting over 97% homology to human antibodies. Selected mAbs demonstrated potent neutralizing activities against three clades (0, 1, 2) of the H5N1 influenza viruses. The in vivo protection experiments demonstrated that the mAbs effectively protected the mice even when administered up to 3 days after infection with H5N1 influenza virus. In particular, mAb 4E6 demonstrated sub-picomolar binding affinity to HA and superior in vivo protection efficacy without the loss of body weight and obvious lung damage. The analysis of the 4E6 escape mutants demonstrated that the 4E6 antibody bound to a conserved epitope region containing two amino acids on the globular head of HA.
Our study demonstrated the generation of neutralizing mAbs for potential application in humans in urgent preparedness against outbreaks of new influenza infections or other virulent infectious diseases.
PMCID: PMC3688872  PMID: 23824680
12.  Indacaterol on dyspnea in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials 
Indacaterol is a novel, once-daily (od), inhaled, long-acting ß2-agonist bronchodilator for maintenance treatment of airflow limitation in patients with COPD. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of indacaterol on dyspnea, using available randomized placebo-controlled trials.
A systematic search was made of MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane trials databases, and a manual search of journals. Randomized placebo-controlled trials of 12 weeks or more comparing indacaterol with placebo were reviewed, and eligible studies were included in a meta-analysis. The odds ratio (OR) for likelihood of achieving TDI score ≥ 1 after 12 weeks of treatment was used as an outcome measure to compare indacaterol to placebo.
Six trials were included in the analysis. Relative to placebo, the overall ORs for response were: indacaterol 75 μg od 1.784 (95% CI 1.282 to 2.482); indacaterol 150 μg od 2.149 (95% CI 1.746 to 2.645); and indacaterol 300 μg od 2.458 (95% CI 2.010 to 3.006). Overall OR for response in TDI tended to increase with higher indacaterol doses.
Patients receiving indacaterol had clinically significant improvements in symptoms of dyspnea compared to placebo. Incremental benefits in TDI were observed with increasing doses. Indacaterol may provide patients and physicians with a useful treatment option in symptomatic patients with dyspnea.
PMCID: PMC3651265  PMID: 23617268
Breathlessness; Baseline dyspnea index; Transition dyspnea index; Meta-analysis; COPD
13.  Promising therapeutic effects of sodium tanshinone IIA sulfonate towards pulmonary arterial hypertension in patients 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2013;5(2):169-172.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a lethal disease with no cure currently available. Sodium Tanshinone IIA sulfonate (STS) is a water-soluble derivative of tanshinone IIA isolated as the major active component from salvia miltiorrhiza, a kind of Chinese herbal medicine. We investigate the efficacy of STS towards treatment of PH patients.
Methods and results
Five hospitalized patients were randomly enrolled for this study. These patients were suffering from various types of serious PH without getting sufficient benefits from sildenafil treatment (20 mg tid) for at least three months. The efficacy of STS on PH was evaluated by measuring the pulmonary arterial systolic pressure (PASP), RV size by echocardiography, 6-minute walking distance (6MWD), Borg dyspnea score, and WHO functional class of PH. Patients aged from 17 to 46 (average 33±11) years old, pulmonary arterial systolic pressure (PASP) ranged from 60 to 140 mmHg, RV size ranged from 25 to 39 mm were included in study. At the endpoint of observation for 8 weeks of STS infusion, they obtained reduction of PASP in the range of 14-45 (average 28.6±12.5) mmHg, RV size in the range of 0-10 (average 4.2±1.6). All patients exhibited improved exercise capacity with an increase of 6MWD from 63 to 268 (average 138.4±40.7) meters, significantly reduced Borg dyspnea score from maximum 9 down to 1 or 0, and reduced WHO functional class of PH from III or IV down to II.
These results indicate that STS exhibits remarkable beneficiary effects on treating PH patients either alone or in concert with sildenafil.
PMCID: PMC3621926  PMID: 23585945
Pulmonary hypertension; pulmonary arterial hypertension; tanshinone IIA sulfonate
14.  Detection of Mouse Cough Based on Sound Monitoring and Respiratory Airflow Waveforms 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59263.
Detection for cough in mice has never yielded clearly audible sounds, so there is still a great deal of debates as to whether mice can cough in response to tussive stimuli. Here we introduce an approach for detection of mouse cough based on sound monitoring and airflow signals. 40 Female BALB/c mice were pretreated with normal saline, codeine, capasazepine or desensitized with capsaicin. Single mouse was put in a plethysmograph, exposed to aerosolized 100 µmol/L capsaicin for 3 min, followed by continuous observation for 3 min. Airflow signals of total 6 min were recorded and analyzed to detect coughs. Simultaneously, mouse cough sounds were sensed by a mini-microphone, monitored manually by an operator. When manual and automatic detection coincided, the cough was positively identified. Sound and sound waveforms were also recorded and filtered for further analysis. Body movements were observed by operator. Manual versus automated counts were compared. Seven types of airflow signals were identified by integrating manual and automated monitoring. Observation of mouse movements and analysis of sound waveforms alone did not produce meaningful data. Mouse cough numbers decreased significantly after all above drugs treatment. The Bland-Altman and consistency analysis between automatic and manual counts was 0.968 and 0.956. The study suggests that the mouse is able to present with cough, which could be detected by sound monitoring and respiratory airflow waveform changes.
PMCID: PMC3605448  PMID: 23555643
15.  A discriminant function model as an alternative method to spirometry for COPD screening in primary care settings in China 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(6):594-600.
COPD is often underdiagnosed in a primary care setting where the spirometry is unavailable. This study was aimed to develop a simple, economical and applicable model for COPD screening in those settings.
First we established a discriminant function model based on Bayes’ Rule by stepwise discriminant analysis, using the data from 243 COPD patients and 112 non-COPD subjects from our COPD survey in urban and rural communities and local primary care settings in Guangdong Province, China. We then used this model to discriminate COPD in additional 150 subjects (50 non-COPD and 100 COPD ones) who had been recruited by the same methods as used to have established the model. All participants completed pre- and post-bronchodilator spirometry and questionnaires. COPD was diagnosed according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria. The sensitivity and specificity of the discriminant function model was assessed.
The established discriminant function model included nine variables: age, gender, smoking index, body mass index, occupational exposure, living environment, wheezing, cough and dyspnoea. The sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, negative likelihood ratio, accuracy and error rate of the function model to discriminate COPD were 89.00%, 82.00%, 4.94, 0.13, 86.66% and 13.34%, respectively. The accuracy and Kappa value of the function model to predict COPD stages were 70% and 0.61 (95% CI, 0.50 to 0.71).
This discriminant function model may be used for COPD screening in primary care settings in China as an alternative option instead of spirometry.
PMCID: PMC3506808  PMID: 23205284
COPD; Bayes’ Rule; spirometry
16.  Functional Polymorphisms of CHRNA3 Predict Risks of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Cancer in Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46071.
Recently, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many susceptible single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer which are two closely related diseases. Among those SNPs, some of them are shared by both the diseases, reflecting there is possible genetic similarity between the diseases. Here we tested the hypothesis that whether those shared SNPs are common predictor for risks or prognosis of COPD and lung cancer. Two SNPs (rs6495309 and rs1051730) located in nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 3 (CHRNA3) gene were genotyped in 1511 patients with COPD, 1559 lung cancer cases and 1677 controls in southern and eastern Chinese populations. We found that the rs6495309CC and rs6495309CT/CC variant genotypes were associated with increased risks of COPD (OR = 1.32, 95% C.I. = 1.14–1.54) and lung cancer (OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.31–1.87), respectively. The rs6495309CC genotype contributed to more rapid decline of annual Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in both COPD cases and controls (P<0.05), and it was associated with advanced stages of COPD (P = 0.033); the rs6495309CT/CC genotypes conferred a poor survival for lung cancer (HR = 1.41, 95%CI = 1.13–1.75). The luciferase assays further showed that nicotine and other tobacco chemicals had diverse effects on the luciferase activity of the rs6495309C or T alleles. However, none of these effects were found for another SNP, rs1051730G>A. The data show a statistical association and suggest biological plausibility that the rs6495309T>C polymorphism contributed to increased risks and poor prognosis of both COPD and lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3463594  PMID: 23056235
17.  Association between Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Cancer: A Case-Control Study in Southern Chinese and a Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46144.
Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) share a common risk factor in cigarette smoking and a large portion of patients with lung cancer suffer from COPD synchronously. We therefore hypothesized that COPD is an independent risk factor for lung cancer. Our aim was to investigate the intrinsic linkage of COPD (or emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma) and lung cancer.
The present hospital-based case-control study included 1,069 patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer and 1,132 age frequency matched cancer-free controls. The odds ratios (ORs) for the associations between each previous pulmonary disease and lung cancer were estimated with logistic regression models, adjusting for age, sex, family history of cancer, BMI and pack year smoking. In meta-analysis, the pooled effects of previous pulmonary diseases were analyzed with random effects models; and stratification analyses were conducted on smoking status and ethnicity.
In the case-control study, previous COPD was associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (OR = 1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00∼1.68); so were emphysema (OR = 1.55, 95%CI = 1.03∼2.32) and chronic bronchitis (OR = 1.22, 95%CI = 0.99∼1.67); while asthma was associated with odds for decreased risk of lung cancer (OR = 0.29, 95%CI = 0.16∼0.53). These associations were more pronounced in smokers (P<.05 for all strata), but not in non-smokers. In meta-analysis, 35 studies (22,010 cases and 44,438 controls) were identified. COPD was significantly associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (pooled OR = 2.76; 95% CI = 1.85–4.11), so were emphysema (OR = 3.02; 95% CI = 2.41–3.79) and chronic bronchitis (OR = 1.88; 95% CI = 1.49–2.36); and these associations were more pronounced in smokers than in non-smokers (P<.001 respectively). No significant association was observed for asthma.
Previous COPD could increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers.
PMCID: PMC3460937  PMID: 23029414
18.  Diagnosis and treatment of chronic cough in China: an insight into the status quo 
Chronic cough is a very common complaint in clinics throughout China. Clinical and basic science research on chronic cough started late, but in recent years the effort has yielded promising findings regarding the etiological diagnosis, treatment and pathogenesis. We found that inflammation in nonasthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis has some similarities to cough variant asthma but also a number of distinct differences. Recent evidence has also suggested a mechanistic link between airway neurogenic inflammation and and gastroesophageal reflux cough (GERC). Cough-related animal models have been developed, including models for esophageal reflux, nonasthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis and allergic rhinitis. Normal reference values for differential cell counts in induced sputum, cough sensitivity and esophageal 24-h pH monitoring in Chinese healthy subjects have been established. By using a modified algorithm for the etiological diagnosis of chronic cough, the causes of chronic cough have been investigated across a number of cities in China. The most common causes of chronic cough are cough variant asthma, eosinophilic bronchitis, upper airway cough symptoms, atopic cough and GERC, however, there are some regional variations. The Chinese National Guidelines on Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Cough were drafted in 2005, updated in 2009, and have been widely publicized and disseminated through many channels since their publication.
PMCID: PMC3548694  PMID: 22839528
Airway inflammation; Chronic cough; Diagnosis; Epidemiology; Pathogenesis
19.  Bacteria in sputum of stable severe asthma and increased airway wall thickness 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):35.
Patients with chronic asthma have thicker intrapulmonary airways measured on high resolution computed tomography (HRCT). We determined whether the presence of lower airway bacteria was associated with increased airway wall thickness.
In 56 patients with stable severe asthma, sputum specimens obtained either spontaneously or after induction with hypertonic saline were cultured for bacteria and thoracic HRCT scans obtained. Wall thickness (WT) and area (WA) expressed as a ratio of airway diameter (D) and total area, respectively, were measured at five levels.
Positive bacterial cultures were obtained in 29 patients, with H. influenzae, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus being the commonest strains. Logistic regression analysis showed that this was associated with the duration of asthma and the exacerbations during the past year. In airways > 2 mm, there was no significant difference in WA (67.5 ± 5.4 vs 66.4 ± 5.4) and WT/D (21.6 ± 2.7 vs 21.3 ± 2.4) between the culture negative versus positive groups. Similarly, in airways (≤ 2 mm), there were no significant differences in these parameters. The ratio of √wall area to Pi was negatively correlated with FEV1% predicted (p < 0.05).
Bacterial colonization of the lower airways is common in patients with chronic severe asthma and is linked to the duration of asthma and having had exacerbations in the past year, but not with an increase in airway wall thickness.
PMCID: PMC3351013  PMID: 22513083
Severe asthma; Airway wall thickness; Sputum bacteria
20.  Nipping it in the bud: An inspiring mission for prevention and management of COPD 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(2):102-105.
PMCID: PMC3378218  PMID: 22833812
21.  211 Influence of Degree of Specific Allergic Sensitivity on Severity of Rhinitis and Asthma in Chinese Allergic Patients 
The associations between sensitizations and severity of allergic diseases are controversial. This study was to investigate the association between severity of asthma and rhinitis and degree of specific allergic sensitivity in allergic patients in China.
A cross-sectional survey was performed in 6,304 patients with asthma and/or rhinitis from 4 regions of China. Patients completed a standardized questionnaire related to the respiratory and allergic symptoms, their impact on sleep, daily activities, school and work. They also underwent skin prick tests with 13 common aeroallergens. 2,268 of them were taken blood for serum specific IgE (sIgE) measurements for 16 common aeroallergens.
Significantly higher percentage of patients with moderate-severe intermittent rhinitis were sensitized to outdoor allergens while percentage of patients sensitized to indoor allergens was increased with increasing severity of asthma. Moderate-severe intermittent rhinitis was related to skin wheal size and sIgE to Artemisia vulgaris and Ambrosia artemisifolia (P < 0.001). Moderate-severe asthma was associated with increasing in skin and sIgE response to Dermatophagoides (D.) pteronyssinus and D. farinae (P < 0.001). Moderate-severe rhinitis and asthma were also associated with increasing in number of skin and sIgE sensitized allergens.
Outdoor allergen sensitizations are significantly associated with severity of intermittent rhinitis and indoor allergen sensitizations are significantly associated with severity of asthma in patients in China. Number of allergen sensitization is also related to severity of rhinitis and asthma.
PMCID: PMC3512821
22.  186 Establishment of Reference Values for Differential Cell Counts in Nasal Lavage of Healthy Young Adults 
The World Allergy Organization Journal  2012;5(Suppl 2):S78-S79.
Upper airway inflammation could be reflected by nasal lavage cytology test, which is characterized by advantages of non-invasive, simple, objective and costless. However, reference values nasal lavage cytology was not established. To establish reference values and positive standard for nasal lavage cytology through screening normal healthy subjects and patients with allergic rhinitis according to strict inclusion criteria.
To establish reference values and positive standard for nasal lavage cytology through screening normal healthy subjects and patients with allergic rhinitis according to strict inclusion criteria.
There was no statistical significance in gender constitutional proportion, age, height and weight among each group. 95% CI of neutrophils, eosinophils was (0∼12.61)/×200 and (0∼1.70)/×200, respectively. The median (interquartile range) of neutrophils were 0(0.65)/×200 in AR group, which showed no statistical difference (P > 0.05) with that of normal group [0(0)/×200]. A significant difference was found in the median (interquartile range) of eosinophils [6.90(22.40)/×200] in AR group as compared with that of normal control group [0(0.10)/×200, P < 0.001].
Establishment of reference values of nasal lavage cytology test is helpful to discriminate normal individuals and patients with allergic rhinitis, but also a non-invasive tool for objective reflection on upper airway inflammation, which is of great value for scientific and clinical purposes.
PMCID: PMC3512928
23.  Antitumor Effect of Malaria Parasite Infection in a Murine Lewis Lung Cancer Model through Induction of Innate and Adaptive Immunity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24407.
Lung cancer is the most common malignancy in humans and its high fatality means that no effective treatment is available. Developing new therapeutic strategies for lung cancer is urgently needed. Malaria has been reported to stimulate host immune responses, which are believed to be efficacious for combating some clinical cancers. This study is aimed to provide evidence that malaria parasite infection is therapeutic for lung cancer.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Antitumor effect of malaria infection was examined in both subcutaneously and intravenously implanted murine Lewis lung cancer (LLC) model. The results showed that malaria infection inhibited LLC growth and metastasis and prolonged the survival of tumor-bearing mice. Histological analysis of tumors from mice infected with malaria revealed that angiogenesis was inhibited, which correlated with increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated (TUNEL) staining and decreased Ki-67 expression in tumors. Through natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity activity, cytokine assays, enzyme-linked immunospot assay, lymphocyte proliferation, and flow cytometry, we demonstrated that malaria infection provided anti-tumor effects by inducing both a potent anti-tumor innate immune response, including the secretion of IFN-γ and TNF-α and the activation of NK cells as well as adaptive anti-tumor immunity with increasing tumor-specific T-cell proliferation and cytolytic activity of CD8+ T cells. Notably, tumor-bearing mice infected with the parasite developed long-lasting and effective tumor-specific immunity. Consequently, we found that malaria parasite infection could enhance the immune response of lung cancer DNA vaccine pcDNA3.1-hMUC1 and the combination produced a synergistic antitumor effect.
Malaria infection significantly suppresses LLC growth via induction of innate and adaptive antitumor responses in a mouse model. These data suggest that the malaria parasite may provide a novel strategy or therapeutic vaccine vector for anti-lung cancer immune-based therapy.
PMCID: PMC3170332  PMID: 21931708
24.  Influence of degree of specific allergic sensitivity on severity of rhinitis and asthma in Chinese allergic patients 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):95.
The association between sensitizations and severity of allergic diseases is controversial.
This study was to investigate the association between severity of asthma and rhinitis and degree of specific allergic sensitization in allergic patients in China.
A cross-sectional survey was performed in 6304 patients with asthma and/or rhinitis from 4 regions of China. Patients completed a standardized questionnaire documenting their respiratory and allergic symptoms, their impact on sleep, daily activities, school and work. They also underwent skin prick tests with 13 common aeroallergens. Among the recruited subjects, 2268 provided blood samples for serum measurement of specific IgE (sIgE) against 16 common aeroallergens.
Significantly higher percentage of patients with moderate-severe intermittent rhinitis were sensitized to outdoor allergens while percentage of patients sensitized to indoor allergens was increased with increasing severity of asthma. Moderate-severe intermittent rhinitis was associated with the skin wheal size and the level of sIgE to Artemisia vulgaris and Ambrosia artemisifolia (p < 0.001). Moderate-severe asthma was associated with increasing wheal size and sIgE response to Dermatophagoides (D.) pteronyssinus and D. farinae (p < 0.001). Moderate-severe rhinitis and asthma were also associated with increase in number of positive skin prick test and sIgE.
Artemisia vulgaris and Ambrosia artemisifolia sensitizations are associated with the severity of intermittent rhinitis and D. pteronyssinus and D. farinae sensitizations are associated with increasing severity of asthma in China. Increase in number of allergens the patients are sensitized to may also increase the severity of rhinitis and asthma.
PMCID: PMC3145577  PMID: 21831329
sensitization; aeroallergens; disease severity; allergic rhinitis; asthma; association.
25.  Community based integrated intervention for prevention and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Guangdong, China: cluster randomised controlled trial 
Objective To evaluate the effects of a community based integrated intervention for early prevention and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in China.
Design Cluster randomised controlled trial.
Setting Eight healthcare units in two communities.
Participants Of 1062 people aged 40-89, 872 (101 with COPD and 771 without COPD) who fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria were allocated to the intervention or the usual care programmes.
Intervention Participants randomly assigned to integrated intervention (systematic health education, intensive and individualised intervention, treatment, and rehabilitation) or usual care.
Main outcome measures Annual rate of decline in forced expiratory rate in one second (FEV1) before use of bronchodilator.
Results Annual rate of decline in FEV1 was significantly lower in the intervention community than the control community, with an adjusted difference of 19 ml/year (95% confidence interval 3 to 36) and 0.9% (0.1% to 1.8%) of predicted values (all P<0.05), as well as a lower annual rate of decline in FEV1/FVC (forced vital capacity) ratio (adjusted difference 0.6% (0.1% to 1.2%) P=0.029). There were also higher rates of smoking cessation (21% v 8%, P<0.004) and lower cumulative death rates from all causes (1% v 3%, P<0.009) in the intervention community than in the control community during the four year follow-up. Improvements in knowledge of COPD and smoking hazards, outdoor air quality, environmental tobacco smoke, and working conditions were also achieved (all P<0.05). The difference in cumulative incidence rate of COPD (both around 4%) and cumulative death rate from COPD (2% v 11%) did not reach significance between the two communities.
Conclusions A community based integrated intervention can have a significant impact on the prevention and management of COPD, mainly reflected in the annual rate of decline in FEV1.
Trial registration Chinese Clinical Trials Registration (ChiCTR-TRC-00000532).
PMCID: PMC2995286  PMID: 21123342

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