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1.  The COgnitive-Pulmonary Disease (COgnitive-PD) study: protocol of a longitudinal observational comparative study on neuropsychological functioning of patients with COPD 
BMJ Open  2014;4(3):e004495.
Introduction
Intact cognitive functioning is necessary for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to understand the value of healthy lifestyle guidelines, to make informed decisions and subsequently act on it. Nevertheless, brain abnormalities and cognitive impairment have been found in patients with COPD. To date, it remains unknown which cognitive domains are affected and what the possible consequences are of cognitive impairment. Therefore, objectives of the study described are to determine neuropsychological functioning in patients with COPD, and its influence on health status, daily functioning and pulmonary rehabilitation outcome. Furthermore, structural and functional brain abnormalities and the relationship with cognitive and daily functioning will be explored.
Methods and analysis
A longitudinal observational comparative study will be performed in 183 patients with COPD referred for pulmonary rehabilitation and in 90 healthy control participants. Demographic and clinical characteristics, activities of daily living and knowledge about COPD will be assessed. Baseline cognitive functioning will be compared between patients and controls using a detailed neuropsychological testing battery. An MRI substudy will be performed to compare brain abnormalities between 35 patients with COPD with cognitive impairment and 35 patients with COPD without cognitive impairment. Patients will be recruited between November 2013 and November 2015.
Ethics and dissemination
The study has been approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of the University Hospital Maastricht and Maastricht University (NL45127.068.13/METC 13-3-035) and is registered in the Dutch trial register. All participants will provide written informed consent and can withdraw from the study at any point in time. Assessment and home visit data material will be managed anonymously. The results obtained can be used to optimise patient-oriented treatment for cognitively impaired patients with COPD. The findings will be disseminated in international peer-reviewed journals and through research conferences.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004495
PMCID: PMC3948451  PMID: 24589828
Respiratory Medicine (see Thoracic Medicine); Neuropathology
2.  Association of plasma sRAGE, but not esRAGE with lung function impairment in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):24.
Rationale
Plasma soluble Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Product (sRAGE) is considered as a biomarker in COPD. The contribution of endogenous sRAGE (esRAGE) to the pool of plasma sRAGE and the implication of both markers in COPD pathogenesis is however not clear yet. The aim of the current study was therefore to measure plasma levels of esRAGE comparative to total sRAGE in patients with COPD and a control group. Further, we established the relations of esRAGE and total sRAGE with disease specific characteristics such as lung function and DLCO, and with different circulating AGEs.
Methods
Plasma levels of esRAGE and sRAGE were measured in an 88 patients with COPD and in 55 healthy controls. FEV1 (%predicted) and FEV1/VC (%) were measured in both groups; DLCO (%predicted) was measured in patients only. In this study population we previously reported that the AGE Nϵ-(carboxymethyl) lysine (CML) was decreased, Nϵ-(carboxyethyl) lysine (CEL) increased and pentosidine was not different in plasma of COPD patients compared to controls.
Results
Plasma esRAGE (COPD: 533.9 ± 412.4, Controls: 848.7 ± 690.3 pg/ml; p = 0.000) was decreased in COPD compared to controls. No significant correlations were observed between plasma esRAGE levels and lung function parameters or plasma AGEs. A positive correlation was present between esRAGE and total sRAGE levels in the circulation. Confirming previous findings, total sRAGE (COPD: 512.6 ± 403.8, Controls: 1834 ± 804.2 pg/ml; p < 0.001) was lower in patients compared to controls and was positively correlated FEV1 (r = 0.235, p = 0.032), FEV1/VC (r = 0.218, p = 0.047), and DLCO (r = 0.308, p = 0.006). sRAGE furthermore did show a significant positive association with CML (r = 0.321, p = 0.003).
Conclusion
Although plasma esRAGE is decreased in COPD patients compared to controls, only total sRAGE showed a significant and independent association with FEV1, FEV1/VC and DLCO, indicating that total sRAGE but not esRAGE may serve as marker of COPD disease state and severity.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-15-24
PMCID: PMC3944004  PMID: 24564838
sRAGE; esRAGE; FEV1; COPD
4.  A randomised controlled trial on the efficacy of advance care planning on the quality of end-of-life care and communication in patients with COPD: the research protocol 
BMJ Open  2014;4(1):e004465.
Introduction
Recent research shows that advance care planning (ACP) for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is uncommon and poorly carried out. The aim of the present study was to explore whether and to what extent structured ACP by a trained nurse, in collaboration with the chest physician, can improve outcomes in Dutch patients with COPD and their family.
Methods and analysis
A multicentre cluster randomised controlled trial in patients with COPD who are recently discharged after an exacerbation has been designed. Patients will be recruited from three Dutch hospitals and will be assigned to an intervention or control group, depending on the randomisation of their chest physician. Patients will be assessed at baseline and after 6 and 12 months. The intervention group will receive a structured ACP session by a trained nurse. The primary outcomes are quality of communication about end-of-life care, symptoms of anxiety and depression, quality of end-of-life care and quality of dying. Secondary outcomes include concordance between patient's preferences for end-of-life care and received end-of-life care, and psychological distress in bereaved family members of deceased patients. Intervention and control groups will be compared using univariate analyses and clustered regression analysis.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval was received from the Medical Ethical Committee of the Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, the Netherlands (NL42437.060.12). The current project provides recommendations for guidelines on palliative care in COPD and supports implementation of ACP in the regular clinical care.
Clinical trial registration number
NTR3940.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004465
PMCID: PMC3902375  PMID: 24384905
Advance Care Planning; End-of-life Care; Palliative Care; COPD
5.  Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Blood Biomarkers in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) for circulating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) biomarkers could identify genetic determinants of biomarker levels and COPD susceptibility.
Objectives: To identify genetic variants of circulating protein biomarkers and novel genetic determinants of COPD.
Methods: GWAS was performed for two pneumoproteins, Clara cell secretory protein (CC16) and surfactant protein D (SP-D), and five systemic inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α) in 1,951 subjects with COPD. For genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P < 1 × 10−8), association with COPD susceptibility was tested in 2,939 cases with COPD and 1,380 smoking control subjects. The association of candidate SNPs with mRNA expression in induced sputum was also elucidated.
Measurements and Main Results: Genome-wide significant susceptibility loci affecting biomarker levels were found only for the two pneumoproteins. Two discrete loci affecting CC16, one region near the CC16 coding gene (SCGB1A1) on chromosome 11 and another locus approximately 25 Mb away from SCGB1A1, were identified, whereas multiple SNPs on chromosomes 6 and 16, in addition to SNPs near SFTPD, had genome-wide significant associations with SP-D levels. Several SNPs affecting circulating CC16 levels were significantly associated with sputum mRNA expression of SCGB1A1 (P = 0.009–0.03). Several SNPs highly associated with CC16 or SP-D levels were nominally associated with COPD in a collaborative GWAS (P = 0.001–0.049), although these COPD associations were not replicated in two additional cohorts.
Conclusions: Distant genetic loci and biomarker-coding genes affect circulating levels of COPD-related pneumoproteins. A subset of these protein quantitative trait loci may influence their gene expression in the lung and/or COPD susceptibility.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00292552).
doi:10.1164/rccm.201206-1013OC
PMCID: PMC3622441  PMID: 23144326
biomarker; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; genome-wide association study
6.  Associations between COPD related manifestations: a cross-sectional study 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):129.
Background
Cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and emphysema are associated with COPD. Associations between these factors and whether they predict all-cause mortality in COPD patients are not well understood. Therefore, we examined associations between markers of cardiovascular disease (coronary artery calcification [CAC], thoracic aortic calcification [TAC] and arterial stiffness), bone density (bone attenuation of the thoracic vertebrae), emphysema (PI-950 and 15th percentile) and all-cause mortality in a COPD cohort.
Methods
We assessed CAC, TAC, bone attenuation of the thoracic vertebrae, PI-950 and 15th percentile on low-dose chest computed tomography in COPD subjects. We measured arterial stiffness as carotid-radial pulse wave velocity (PWV), and identified deaths from the national register.
Results
We studied 119 COPD subjects; aged 67.8 ±7.3, 66% were males and mean FEV1% predicted was 46.0 ±17.5. Subjects were classified into three pre-specificed groups: CAC = 0 (n = 14), 0 < CAC ≤ 400 (n = 41) and CAC > 400 (n = 64). Subjects with higher CAC were more likely to be older (p < 0.001) and male (p = 0.03), and more likely to have higher systolic blood pressure (p = 0.001) and a history of hypertension (p = 0.002) or ischemic heart disease (p = 0.003). Higher CAC was associated with higher PWV (OR 1.62, p = 0.04) and lower bone attenuation (OR 0.32, p = 0.02), but not with 15th percentile, after adjustment for age, sex and pack-years of smoking. In a Cox proportional hazards model, CAC, TAC and 15th percentile predicted all-cause mortality (HR 2.01, 2.09 and 0.66, respectively).
Conclusions
Increased CAC was associated with increased arterial stiffness and lower bone density in a COPD cohort. In addition, CAC, TAC and extent of emphysema predicted all-cause mortality.
Trial registration
Lothian NHS Board, Lothian Research Ethics Committee, LREC/2003/8/28.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-129
PMCID: PMC3840707  PMID: 24251912
Arterial calcification; Arterial stiffness; Bone density; Cardiovascular disease; Co-morbidity; Computed tomography; COPD; Emphysema; Mortality; Osteoporosis
7.  Metabolic and Structural Changes in Lower-Limb Skeletal Muscle Following Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e69391.
Background
Transcutaneous neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) can be applied as a complementary intervention to regular exercise training programs. A distinction can be made between high-frequency (HF) NMES and low-frequency (LF) NMES. In order to increase understanding of the mechanisms of functional improvements following NMES, the purpose of this study was to systematically review changes in enzyme activity, muscle fiber type composition and muscle fiber size in human lower-limb skeletal muscles following only NMES.
Methods
Trials were collected up to march 2012 and were identified by searching the Medline/PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL and The Physical Therapy Evidence Database (PEDro) databases and reference lists. 18 trials were reviewed in detail: 8 trials studied changes in enzyme activities, 7 trials studied changes in muscle fiber type composition and 14 trials studied changes in muscle fiber size following NMES.
Results
The methodological quality generally was poor, and the heterogeneity in study design, study population, NMES features and outcome parameters prohibited the use of meta-analysis. Most of the LF-NMES studies reported significant increases in oxidative enzyme activity, while the results concerning changes in muscle fiber composition and muscle size were conflicting. HF-NMES significantly increased muscle size in 50% of the studies.
Conclusion
NMES seems to be a training modality resulting in changes in oxidative enzyme activity, skeletal muscle fiber type and skeletal muscle fiber size. However, considering the small sample sizes, the variance in study populations, the non-randomized controlled study designs, the variance in primary outcomes, and the large heterogeneity in NMES protocols, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the effects of stimulation frequencies on muscular changes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069391
PMCID: PMC3760845  PMID: 24019860
8.  Casein protein results in higher prandial and exercise induced whole body protein anabolism than whey protein in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Objective
Exercise is known to improve physical functioning and health status in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Recently, disturbances in protein turnover and amino acid kinetics have been observed after exercise in COPD. The objective was to investigate which dairy protein is able to positively influence the protein metabolic response to exercise in COPD.
Materials and Methods
8 COPD patients and 8 healthy subjects performed a cycle test on two days while ingesting casein or whey protein. Whole body protein breakdown (WbPB), synthesis (WbPS), splanchnic amino acid extraction (SPE), and NetWbPS (=WbPS–WbPB) were measured using stable isotope methodology during 20 minutes of exercise (at 50% peak work load of COPD group). The controls performed a second exercise test at the same relative workload. Exercise was followed by 1 hour of recovery.
Results
In the healthy group, WbPS, SPE, and NetPS were higher during casein than during whey feeding (p<0.01). WbPS and NetPS were higher during exercise, independent of exercise intensity (p<0.01). NetPS was higher during casein feeding in COPD due to lower WbPB (p<0.05). Higher SPE was found during exercise during casein and whey feeding in COPD (p<0.05). Lactate levels during exercise were higher in COPD (p<0.05) independent of the protein. Post-exercise, lower NetPS values were found independent of protein type in both groups.
Conclusion
Casein resulted in more protein anabolism than whey protein which was maintained during and following exercise in COPD. Optimizing protein intake might be of importance for muscle maintenance during daily physical activities in COPD.
doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.03.001
PMCID: PMC3407276  PMID: 22512824
exercise; COPD; whole body protein metabolism; casein; whey
9.  A genome-wide association study of COPD identifies a susceptibility locus on chromosome 19q13 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;21(4):947-957.
The genetic risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are still largely unknown. To date, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of limited size have identified several novel risk loci for COPD at CHRNA3/CHRNA5/IREB2, HHIP and FAM13A; additional loci may be identified through larger studies. We performed a GWAS using a total of 3499 cases and 1922 control subjects from four cohorts: the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE); the Normative Aging Study (NAS) and National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT); Bergen, Norway (GenKOLS); and the COPDGene study. Genotyping was performed on Illumina platforms with additional markers imputed using 1000 Genomes data; results were summarized using fixed-effect meta-analysis. We identified a new genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 19q13 (rs7937, OR = 0.74, P = 2.9 × 10−9). Genotyping this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and another nearby SNP in linkage disequilibrium (rs2604894) in 2859 subjects from the family-based International COPD Genetics Network study (ICGN) demonstrated supportive evidence for association for COPD (P = 0.28 and 0.11 for rs7937 and rs2604894), pre-bronchodilator FEV1 (P = 0.08 and 0.04) and severe (GOLD 3&4) COPD (P = 0.09 and 0.017). This region includes RAB4B, EGLN2, MIA and CYP2A6, and has previously been identified in association with cigarette smoking behavior.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr524
PMCID: PMC3298111  PMID: 22080838
10.  Silica induces NLRP3 inflammasome activation in human lung epithelial cells 
Background
In myeloid cells the inflammasome plays a crucial role in innate immune defenses against pathogen- and danger-associated patterns such as crystalline silica. Respirable mineral particles impinge upon the lung epithelium causing irreversible damage, sustained inflammation and silicosis. In this study we investigated lung epithelial cells as a target for silica-induced inflammasome activation.
Methods
A human bronchial epithelial cell line (BEAS-2B) and primary normal human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBE) were exposed to toxic but nonlethal doses of crystalline silica over time to perform functional characterization of NLRP3, caspase-1, IL-1β, bFGF and HMGB1. Quantitative RT-PCR, caspase-1 enzyme activity assay, Western blot techniques, cytokine-specific ELISA and fibroblast (MRC-5 cells) proliferation assays were performed.
Results
We were able to show transcriptional and translational upregulation of the components of the NLRP3 intracellular platform, as well as activation of caspase-1. NLRP3 activation led to maturation of pro-IL-1β to secreted IL-1β, and a significant increase in the unconventional release of the alarmins bFGF and HMGB1. Moreover, release of bFGF and HMGB1 was shown to be dependent on particle uptake. Small interfering RNA experiments using siNLRP3 revealed the pivotal role of the inflammasome in diminished release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, danger molecules and growth factors, and fibroblast proliferation.
Conclusion
Our novel data indicate the presence and functional activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by crystalline silica in human lung epithelial cells, which prolongs an inflammatory signal and affects fibroblast proliferation, mediating a cadre of lung diseases.
doi:10.1186/1743-8977-10-3
PMCID: PMC3607900  PMID: 23402370
Silica; NLRP3 inflammasome; Caspase-1; IL-1β; HMGB1; bFGF
11.  Cigarette Smoke Targets Glutaredoxin 1, Increasing S-Glutathionylation and Epithelial Cell Death 
It is established that cigarette smoke (CS) causes irreversible oxidations in lung epithelial cells, and can lead to their death. However, its impact on reversible and physiologically relevant redox-dependent protein modifications remains to be investigated. Glutathione is an important antioxidant against inhaled reactive oxygen species as a direct scavenger, but it can also covalently bind protein thiols upon mild oxidative stress to protect them against irreversible oxidation. This posttranslational modification, known as S-glutathionylation, can be reversed under physiological conditions by the enzyme, glutaredoxin 1 (Grx1). The aim of this study was to investigate if CS modifies Grx1, and if this impacts on protein S-glutathionylation and epithelial cell death. Upon exposure of alveolar epithelial cells to CS extract (CSE), a decrease in Grx1 mRNA and protein expression was observed, in conjunction with decreased activity and increased protein S-glutathionylation. Using mass spectrometry, irreversible oxidation of recombinant Grx1 by CSE and acrolein was demonstrated, which was associated with attenuated enzyme activity. Furthermore, carbonylation of Grx1 in epithelial cells after exposure to CSE was shown. Overexpression of Grx1 attenuated CSE-induced increases in protein S-glutathionylation and increased survival. Conversely, primary tracheal epithelial cells of mice lacking Grx1 were more sensitive to CS-induced cell death, with corresponding increases in protein S-glutathionylation. These results show that CS can modulate Grx1, not only at the expression level, but can also directly modify Grx1 itself, decreasing its activity. These findings demonstrate a role for the Grx1/S-glutathionylation redox system in CS-induced lung epithelial cell death.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0249OC
PMCID: PMC3262689  PMID: 21454804
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; cigarette smoke; cell death; glutaredoxin; protein S-glutathionylation
12.  Activation of the glutaredoxin-1 gene by Nuclear Factor kappa B enhances signaling 
Free radical biology & medicine  2011;51(6):1249-1257.
The transcription factor, Nuclear Factor kappa B (NF-κB) is a critical regulator of inflammation and immunity, and is negatively regulated via S-glutathionylation. The inhibitory effect of S-glutathionylation is overcome by glutaredoxin-1 (Grx1), which under physiological conditions catalyses deglutathionylation and enhances NF-κB activation. The mechanisms whereby expression of the Glrx1 gene is regulated remain unknown. Here we examined the role of NF-κB in regulating activation of Glrx1. Transgenic mice which express a doxycyclin-inducible constitutively active version of inhibitory kappa B kinase-beta (CA-IKKβ) demonstrate elevated expression of Grx1. Transient transfection of CA-IKKβ also resulted in significant induction of Grx1. A 2kb region Glrx1 promoter that contains two putative NF-κB binding sites was activated by CA-IKKβ, RelA/p50, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed binding of RelA to the promoter of Glrx1 in response to LPS. Stimulation of C10 lung epithelial cells with LPS caused transient increases in Grx1 mRNA expression, and time-dependent increases in S-glutathionylation of IKKβ. Overexpression of Grx1 decreased S-glutathionylation of IKKβ, prolonged NF-κB activation, and increased levels of pro-inflammatory mediators. Collectively, this study demonstrates that the Glrx1 gene is positively regulated by NF-κB, and suggests a feed forward mechanism to promote NF-κB signaling by decreasing S-glutathionylation.
doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.06.025
PMCID: PMC3181077  PMID: 21762778
S-glutathionylation; Nuclear Factor kappa B; Glutaredoxin; Lung; Inhibitory kappa B kinase
13.  Examining fatigue in COPD: development, validity and reliability of a modified version of FACIT-F scale 
Introduction
Fatigue is a disruptive symptom that inhibits normal functional performance of COPD patients in daily activities. The availability of a short, simple, reliable and valid scale would improve assessment of the characteristics and influence of fatigue in COPD.
Methods
At baseline, 2107 COPD patients from the ECLIPSE cohort completed the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue (FACIT-F) scale. We used well-structured classic method, the principal components analysis (PCA) and Rasch analysis for structurally examining the 13-item FACIT-F.
Results
Four items were less able to capture fatigue characteristics in COPD and were deleted. PCA was applied to the remaining 9 items of the modified FACIT-F and resulted in three interpretable dimensions: i) general (5 items); ii) functional ability (2 items); and iii) psychosocial fatigue (2 items). The modified FACIT-F had high internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.91) and it did not fit a uni-dimensional Rasch model, confirming the prior output from the PCA. The correlations between total score and each dimension were ≥ 0.64 and within dimensions ≥0.43 (p < 0.001 for all).
The original and modified FACIT-F had significant convergent validity; its scores were associated with SGRQ total score (0.69 and 0.7) and mMRC dyspnoea scores (0.48 and 0.47), (p = <0.001 for all). The scale had meaningful discriminating ability in identifying patients with poor exercise performance and more depressive symptoms.
Conclusion
The original and modified FACIT-F are valid and reliable scales in COPD. The modified version is shorter and measures not only total fatigue but also its sub-components in COPD.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-100
PMCID: PMC3491053  PMID: 22913289
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Fatigue; Exercise capacity; Health status
14.  Correlations between disease-specific and generic health status questionnaires in patients with advanced COPD: a one-year observational study 
Background
Longitudinal studies analyzing the correlations between disease-specific and generic health status questionnaires at different time points in patients with advanced COPD are lacking. The aim of this study was to determine whether and to what extent a disease-specific health status questionnaire (Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, SGRQ) correlates with generic health status questionnaires (EuroQol-5-Dimensions, EQ-5D; Assessment of Quality of Life instrument, AQoL; Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, SF-36) at four different time points in patients with advanced COPD; and to determine the correlation between the changes in these questionnaires during one-year follow-up.
Methods
Demographic and clinical characteristics were assessed in 105 outpatients with advanced COPD at baseline. Disease-specific health status (SGRQ) and generic health status (EQ-5D, AQoL, SF-36) were assessed at baseline, four, eight, and 12 months. Correlations were determined between SGRQ and EQ-5D, AQoL, and SF-36 scores and changes in these scores. Agreement in direction of change was assessed.
Results
Eighty-four patients (80%) completed one-year follow-up and were included for analysis. SGRQ total score and EQ-5D index score, AQoL total score and SF-36 Physical Component Summary measure (SF-36 PCS) score were moderately to strongly correlated. The correlation of the changes between the SGRQ total score and EQ-5D index score, AQoL total score, SF-36 PCS, and SF-36 Mental Component Summary measure (SF-36 MCS) score were weak or absent. The direction of changes in SGRQ total scores agreed slightly with the direction of changes in EQ-5D index score, AQoL total score, and SF-36 PCS score.
Conclusions
At four, eight and 12 months after baseline, SGRQ total scores and EQ-5D index scores, AQoL total scores and SF-36 PCS scores were moderately to strongly correlated, while SGRQ total scores were weakly correlated with SF-36 MCS scores. The correlations between changes over time were weak or even absent. Disease-specific health status questionnaires and generic health status questionnaires should be used together to gain complete insight in health status and changes in health status over time in patients with advanced COPD.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-98
PMCID: PMC3493349  PMID: 22909154
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Health-related quality of life; St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire; Health status; Disease-specific health status; Generic health status
15.  Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Body Mass in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Cachexia, whether assessed by body mass index (BMI) or fat-free mass index (FFMI), affects a significant proportion of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is an independent risk factor for increased mortality, increased emphysema, and more severe airflow obstruction. The variable development of cachexia among patients with COPD suggests a role for genetic susceptibility. The objective of the present study was to determine genetic susceptibility loci involved in the development of low BMI and FFMI in subjects with COPD. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BMI was conducted in three independent cohorts of European descent with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage II or higher COPD: Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate End-Points (ECLIPSE; n = 1,734); Norway-Bergen cohort (n = 851); and a subset of subjects from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT; n = 365). A genome-wide association of FFMI was conducted in two of the cohorts (ECLIPSE and Norway). In the combined analyses, a significant association was found between rs8050136, located in the first intron of the fat mass and obesity–associated (FTO) gene, and BMI (P = 4.97 × 10−7) and FFMI (P = 1.19 × 10−7). We replicated the association in a fourth, independent cohort consisting of 502 subjects with COPD from COPDGene (P = 6 × 10−3). Within the largest contributing cohort of our analysis, lung function, as assessed by forced expiratory volume at 1 second, varied significantly by FTO genotype. Our analysis suggests a potential role for the FTO locus in the determination of anthropomorphic measures associated with COPD.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0294OC
PMCID: PMC3266061  PMID: 21037115
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease genetics; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease epidemiology; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease metabolism; genome-wide association study
16.  Effects of Body Mass Index on Task-Related Oxygen Uptake and Dyspnea during Activities of Daily Life in COPD 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41078.
Background
Patients with COPD use a higher proportion of their peak aerobic capacity during the performance of domestic activities of daily life (ADLs) compared to healthy peers, accompanied by a higher degree of task-related symptoms. To date, the influence of body mass index (BMI) on the task-related metabolic demands remains unknown in patients with COPD. Therefore, the aim of our study was to determine the effects of BMI on metabolic load during the performance of 5 consecutive domestic ADLs in patients with COPD.
Methodology
Ninety-four COPD patients and 20 healhty peers performed 5 consecutive, self-paced domestic ADLs putting on socks, shoes and vest; folding 8 towels; putting away groceries; washing up 4 dishes, cups and saucers; and sweeping the floor for 4 min. Task-related oxygen uptake and ventilation were assessed using a mobile oxycon, while Borg scores were used to assess task-related dyspnea and fatigue.
Principal Findings
1. Relative task-related oxygen uptake after the performance of domestic ADLs was increased in patients with COPD compared to healthy elderly, whereas absolute oxygen uptake is similar between groups; 2. Relative oxygen uptake and oxygen uptake per kilogram fat-free mass were comparable between BMI groups; and 3. Borg symptom scores for dyspnea en fatigue were comparable between BMI groups.
Conclusion
Patients with COPD in different BMI groups perform self-paced domestic ADLs at the same relative metabolic load, accompanied by comparable Borg symptom scores for dyspnea and fatigue.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041078
PMCID: PMC3398871  PMID: 22815922
17.  Altered Cigarette Smoke-Induced Lung Inflammation Due to Ablation of Grx1 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38984.
Glutaredoxins (Grx) are redox enzymes that remove glutathione bound to protein thiols, know as S-glutathionylation (PSSG). PSSG is a reservoir of GSH and can affect the function of proteins. It inhibits the NF-κB pathway and LPS aspiration in Grx1 KO mice with decreased inflammatory cytokine levels. In this study we investigated whether absence of Grx1 similarly repressed cigarette smoke-induced inflammation in an exposure model in mice. Cigarette smoke exposure for four weeks decreased lung PSSG levels, but increased PSSG in lavaged cells and lavage fluid (BALF). Grx1 KO mice had increased levels of PSSG in lung tissue, BALF and BAL cells in response to smoke compared to wt mice. Importantly, levels of multiple inflammatory mediators in the BALF were decreased in Grx1 KO animals following cigarette smoke exposure compared to wt mice, as were levels of neutrophils, dendritic cells and lymphocytes. On the other hand, macrophage numbers were higher in Grx1 KO mice in response to smoke. Although cigarette smoke in vivo caused inverse effects in inflammatory and resident cells with respect to PSSG, primary macrophages and epithelial cells cultured from Grx1 KO mice both produced less KC compared to cells isolated from WT mice after smoke extract exposure. In this manuscript, we provide evidence that Grx1 has an important role in regulating cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation which seems to diverge from its effects on total PSSG. Secondly, these data expose the differential effect of cigarette smoke on PSSG in inflammatory versus resident lung cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038984
PMCID: PMC3377591  PMID: 22723915
18.  Prediction and course of symptoms and lung function around an exacerbation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):44.
Background
Frequent exacerbations induce a high burden to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). We investigated the course of exacerbations in the published COSMIC study that investigated the effects of 1-year withdrawal of fluticasone after a 3-month run-in treatment period with salmeterol/fluticasone in patients with COPD.
Methods
In 373 patients, we evaluated diary cards for symptoms, Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF), and salbutamol use and assessed their course during exacerbations.
Results
There were 492 exacerbations in 224 patients. The level of symptoms of cough, sputum, dyspnea and nocturnal awakening steadily increased from 2 weeks prior to exacerbation, with a sharp rise during the last week. Symptoms of cough, sputum, and dyspnea reverted to baseline values at different rates (after 4, 4, and 7 weeks respectively), whereas symptoms of nocturnal awakening were still increased after eight weeks. The course of symptoms was similar around a first and second exacerbation. Increases in symptoms and salbutamol use and decreases in PEF were associated with a higher risk to develop an exacerbation, but with moderate predictive values, the areas under the receiver operating curves ranging from 0.63 to 0.70.
Conclusions
Exacerbations of COPD are associated with increased symptoms that persist for weeks and the course is very similar between a first and second exacerbation. COPD exacerbations are preceded by increased symptoms and salbutamol use and lower PEF, yet predictive values are too low to warrant daily use in clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-13-44
PMCID: PMC3494574  PMID: 22672621
COPD; Exacerbations; CCQ; Symptoms
19.  Differences in Walking Pattern during 6-Min Walk Test between Patients with COPD and Healthy Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37329.
Background
To date, detailed analyses of walking patterns using accelerometers during the 6-min walk test (6MWT) have not been performed in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Therefore, it remains unclear whether and to what extent COPD patients have an altered walking pattern during the 6MWT compared to healthy elderly subjects.
Methodology/Principal Findings
79 COPD patients and 24 healthy elderly subjects performed the 6MWT wearing an accelerometer attached to the trunk. The accelerometer features (walking intensity, cadence, and walking variability) and subject characteristics were assessed and compared between groups. Moreover, associations were sought with 6-min walk distance (6MWD) using multiple ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models. COPD patients walked with a significantly lower walking intensity, lower cadence and increased walking variability compared to healthy subjects. Walking intensity and height were the only two significant determinants of 6MWD in healthy subjects, explaining 85% of the variance in 6MWD. In COPD patients also age, cadence, walking variability measures and their interactions were included were significant determinants of 6MWD (total variance in 6MWD explained: 88%).
Conclusions/Significance
COPD patients have an altered walking pattern during 6MWT compared to healthy subjects. These differences in walking pattern partially explain the lower 6MWD in patients with COPD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037329
PMCID: PMC3356256  PMID: 22624017
20.  Persistent Systemic Inflammation is Associated with Poor Clinical Outcomes in COPD: A Novel Phenotype 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37483.
Background
Because chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous condition, the identification of specific clinical phenotypes is key to developing more effective therapies. To explore if the persistence of systemic inflammation is associated with poor clinical outcomes in COPD we assessed patients recruited to the well-characterized ECLIPSE cohort (NCT00292552).
Methods and Findings
Six inflammatory biomarkers in peripheral blood (white blood cells (WBC) count and CRP, IL-6, IL-8, fibrinogen and TNF-α levels) were quantified in 1,755 COPD patients, 297 smokers with normal spirometry and 202 non-smoker controls that were followed-up for three years. We found that, at baseline, 30% of COPD patients did not show evidence of systemic inflammation whereas 16% had persistent systemic inflammation. Even though pulmonary abnormalities were similar in these two groups, persistently inflamed patients during follow-up had significantly increased all-cause mortality (13% vs. 2%, p<0.001) and exacerbation frequency (1.5 (1.5) vs. 0.9 (1.1) per year, p<0.001) compared to non-inflamed ones. As a descriptive study our results show associations but do not prove causality. Besides this, the inflammatory response is complex and we studied only a limited panel of biomarkers, albeit they are those investigated by the majority of previous studies and are often and easily measured in clinical practice.
Conclusions
Overall, these results identify a novel systemic inflammatory COPD phenotype that may be the target of specific research and treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037483
PMCID: PMC3356313  PMID: 22624038
23.  Differences in gene expression and cytokine production by crystalline vs. amorphous silica in human lung epithelial cells 
Background
Exposure to respirable crystalline silica particles, as opposed to amorphous silica, is associated with lung inflammation, pulmonary fibrosis (silicosis), and potentially with lung cancer. We used Affymetrix/GeneSifter microarray analysis to determine whether gene expression profiles differed in a human bronchial epithelial cell line (BEAS 2B) exposed to cristobalite vs. amorphous silica particles at non-toxic and equal surface areas (75 and 150 × 106μm2/cm2). Bio-Plex analysis was also used to determine profiles of secreted cytokines and chemokines in response to both particles. Finally, primary human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBE) were used to comparatively assess silica particle-induced alterations in gene expression.
Results
Microarray analysis at 24 hours in BEAS 2B revealed 333 and 631 significant alterations in gene expression induced by cristobalite at low (75) and high (150 × 106μm2/cm2) amounts, respectively (p < 0.05/cut off ≥ 2.0-fold change). Exposure to amorphous silica micro-particles at high amounts (150 × 106μm2/cm2) induced 108 significant gene changes. Bio-Plex analysis of 27 human cytokines and chemokines revealed 9 secreted mediators (p < 0.05) induced by crystalline silica, but none were induced by amorphous silica. QRT-PCR revealed that cristobalite selectively up-regulated stress-related genes and cytokines (FOS, ATF3, IL6 and IL8) early and over time (2, 4, 8, and 24 h). Patterns of gene expression in NHBE cells were similar overall to BEAS 2B cells. At 75 × 106μm2/cm2, there were 339 significant alterations in gene expression induced by cristobalite and 42 by amorphous silica. Comparison of genes in response to cristobalite (75 × 106μm2/cm2) revealed 60 common, significant gene alterations in NHBE and BEAS 2B cells.
Conclusions
Cristobalite silica, as compared to synthetic amorphous silica particles at equal surface area concentrations, had comparable effects on the viability of human bronchial epithelial cells. However, effects on gene expression, as well as secretion of cytokines and chemokines, drastically differed, as the crystalline silica induced more intense responses. Our studies indicate that toxicological testing of particulates by surveying viability and/or metabolic activity is insufficient to predict their pathogenicity. Moreover, they show that acute responses of the lung epithelium, including up-regulation of genes linked to inflammation, oxidative stress, and proliferation, as well as secretion of inflammatory and proliferative mediators, can be indicative of pathologic potential using either immortalized lines (BEAS 2B) or primary cells (NHBE). Assessment of the degree and magnitude of these responses in vitro are suggested as predictive in determining the pathogenicity of potentially harmful particulates.
doi:10.1186/1743-8977-9-6
PMCID: PMC3337246  PMID: 22300531
24.  Determinants of polypharmacy and compliance with GOLD guidelines in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Polypharmacy of respiratory medications is commonly observed in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aims of this study were to investigate determinants of polypharmacy and to study the consistency of actual respiratory drug use with current Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines in pulmonary rehabilitation candidates with COPD.
Methods
Data were extracted from the records of all patients with a diagnosis of COPD referred for pulmonary rehabilitation to CIRO+ between 2005 and 2009. Use of respiratory medications, self-reported COPD exacerbations, lung function, blood gases, exercise capacity, Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnea grade, and St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were recorded as part of assessment of health status.
Results
In total, 1859 COPD patients of mean age (± standard deviation) 64.3 ± 9.7 years and with a forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) of 44.7% ± 18.2% were included. On average, patients used 3.5 ± 1.5 respiratory medications; this number increased with increasing GOLD stage, MRC score, and SGRQ scores. FEV1 (% predicted), SGRQ, and number of recent exacerbations were independent determinants of polypharmacy. Use of long-acting bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids was substantial and comparable in all GOLD stages. Use of corticosteroids was not restricted to patients with frequent exacerbations.
Conclusion
Polypharmacy of respiratory medications is common in COPD patients with persistent symptoms. In addition to severity of disease, health status is an independent predictor of polypharmacy. Actual drug use in COPD patients referred for pulmonary rehabilitation is partially inconsistent with current GOLD guidelines.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S24443
PMCID: PMC3206765  PMID: 22069360
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; management; pharmacotherapy; polypharmacy; pulmonary rehabilitation; respiratory drug use
25.  Multistudy Fine Mapping of Chromosome 2q Identifies XRCC5 as a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Susceptibility Gene 
Rationale: Several family-based studies have identified genetic linkage for lung function and airflow obstruction to chromosome 2q.
Objectives: We hypothesized that merging results of high-resolution single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mapping in four separate populations would lead to the identification of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) susceptibility genes on chromosome 2q.
Methods: Within the chromosome 2q linkage region, 2,843 SNPs were genotyped in 806 COPD cases and 779 control subjects from Norway, and 2,484 SNPs were genotyped in 309 patients with severe COPD from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial and 330 community control subjects. Significant associations from the combined results across the two case-control studies were followed up in 1,839 individuals from 603 families from the International COPD Genetics Network (ICGN) and in 949 individuals from 127 families in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study.
Measurements and Main Results: Merging the results of the two case-control analyses, 14 of the 790 overlapping SNPs had a combined P < 0.01. Two of these 14 SNPs were consistently associated with COPD in the ICGN families. The association with one SNP, located in the gene XRCC5, was replicated in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study, with a combined P = 2.51 × 10−5 across the four studies, which remains significant when adjusted for multiple testing (P = 0.02). Genotype imputation confirmed the association with SNPs in XRCC5.
Conclusions: By combining data from COPD genetic association studies conducted in four independent patient samples, we have identified XRCC5, an ATP-dependent DNA helicase, as a potential COPD susceptibility gene.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200910-1586OC
PMCID: PMC2937234  PMID: 20463177
emphysema; genetic linkage; metaanalysis; single nucleotide polymorphism

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