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1.  The severity of airways obstruction as a determinant of treatment response in COPD 
Guidelines recommend that patients with COPD are stratified arbitrarily by baseline severity (FEV1) to decide when to initiate combination treatment with a long-acting β2-agonist and an inhaled corticosteroid. Assessment of baseline FEV1 as a continuous variable may provide a more reliable prediction of treatment effects. Patients from a 1-year, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial comparing 50 μg salmeterol (Sal), 500 μg fluticasone propionate (FP), the combination (Sal/FP) and placebo, (bid), were categorized post hoc into FEV1 <50% and FEV1 ≥50% predicted subgroups (n=949/513 respectively). Treatment effects on clinical outcomes – lung function, exacerbations, health status, diary card symptoms, and adverse events – were investigated. Treatment responses based on a pre-specified analysis explored treatment differences by severity as a continuous variable. Lung function improved with active treatment irrespective of FEV1; Sal/FP had greatest effect. This improvement appeared additive in milder disease; synergistic in severe disease. Active therapy significantly reduced exacerbation rate in patients with FEV1 <50% predicted, not in milder disease. Health status and breathlessness improved with Sal/FP irrespective of baseline FEV1; adverse events were similar across subgroups. The spirometric response to Sal/FP varied with baseline FEV1, and clinical benefits were not restricted to patients with severe disease. These data have implications for COPD management decisions, suggesting that arbitrary stratifications of baseline severity are not necessarily indicative of treatment efficacy and that the benefits of assessing baseline severity as a continuous variable should be assessed in future trials.
PMCID: PMC2707163  PMID: 18046858
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; FEV1; inhaled corticosteroid; long-acting β2-agonist; subgroups
2.  Specific Migratory Dendritic Cells Rapidly Transport Antigen from the Airways to the Thoracic Lymph Nodes 
Antigen transport from the airway mucosa to the thoracic lymph nodes (TLNs) was studied in vivo by intratracheal instillation of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-conjugated macromolecules. After instillation, FITC+ cells with stellate morphology were found deep in the TLN T cell area. Using flow cytometry, an FITC signal was exclusively detected in CD11cmed-hi/major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII)hi cells, representing migratory airway-derived lymph node dendritic cells (AW-LNDCs). No FITC signal accumulated in lymphocytes and in a CD11chiMHCIImed DC group containing a CD8αhi subset (non–airway-derived [NAW]-LNDCs). Sorted AW-LNDCs showed long MHCIIbright cytoplasmic processes and intracytoplasmatic FITC+ granules. The fraction of FITC+ AW-LNDCs peaked after 24 h and had reached baseline by day 7. AW-LNDCs were depleted by 7 d of ganciclovir treatment in thymidine kinase transgenic mice, resulting in a strong reduction of FITC-macromolecule transport into the TLNs. Compared with intrapulmonary DCs, AW-LNDCs had a mature phenotype and upregulated levels of MHCII, B7-2, CD40, and intracellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1. In addition, sorted AW-LNDCs from FITC-ovalbumin (OVA)–instilled animals strongly presented OVA to OVA-TCR transgenic T cells. These results validate the unique sentinel role of airway DCs, picking up antigen in the airways and delivering it in an immunogenic form to the T cells in the TLNs.
PMCID: PMC2195883  PMID: 11136820
antigen-presenting cells; endocytosis; fluorescein isothiocyanate; respiratory mucosa; lymph nodes
3.  Myeloid dendritic cells induce Th2 responses to inhaled antigen, leading to eosinophilic airway inflammation 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2000;106(4):551-559.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether dendritic cells (DCs) can induce sensitization to aeroallergen in a mouse model of allergic asthma. Ovalbumin-pulsed (OVA-pulsed) or unpulsed myeloid DCs that were injected into the airways of naive mice migrated into the mediastinal lymph nodes. When challenged 2 weeks later with an aerosol of OVA, activated CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes, eosinophils, and neutrophils were recruited to the lungs of actively immunized mice. These CD4+ lymphocytes produced predominantly IL-4 and IL-5 but also IFN-γ, whereas CD8+ lymphocytes produced predominantly IFN-γ. Histological analysis revealed perivascular and peribronchial eosinophilic infiltrates and goblet cell hyperplasia. Studies in IL-4–/– and CD28–/– mice revealed that production of IL-4 by host cells and provision of costimulation to T cells by DCs were critical for inducing the response. Lung CD4+ T cells strongly expressed the Th2 marker T1/ST2, and signaling through this molecule via a ligand expressed on DCs was essential for the establishment of airway eosinophilia. These data demonstrate that DCs in the airways induce sensitization to inhaled antigen and that molecules expressed on the surface of these cells are critical for the development of Th2-dependent airway eosinophilia.
PMCID: PMC380243  PMID: 10953030

Results 1-3 (3)