Desmosine and Isodesmosine (D/I) are cross-linking amino acids which are present only in mature elastin. Changes in their concentration in body fluids indicate changes in elastin degradation and can be a reflection of tissue elastase activity. This study was undertaken to determine whether continuous therapy with the long-acting bronchodilator Tiotropium bromide (TTP) could result in reductions in D/I as measured by mass spectrometry in plasma, urine and sputum.
Twelve not currently smoking patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), never on TTP, were selected for study. Levels of D/I, along with measurements of FVC, FEV1 and FEV1/FVC. were determined before starting TTP daily, and then one and two months after.
D/I decreased in plasma (10 of 12 patients), in sputum all (12 of 12), and in the percentage of free D/I in urine (10 of 12). Most patients showed slight increases in FVC and FEV1 percent predicted over two months.
The results are consistent with an effect of prolonged bronchodilitation by anti-cholinergic blockade to also result in reduced lung elastin degradation.