Decreased physical activity is associated with higher mortality in subjects with COPD. The aim of this study was to assess clinical characteristics and physical activity levels (PALs) in subjects with COPD.
Seventy-three subjects with COPD (67 ± 7 yrs, 44 female) with one-second forced expiratory volume percentage (FEV1%) predicted values of 43 ± 16 were included. The ratio of total energy expenditure (TEE) and resting metabolic rate (RMR) was used to define the physical activity level (PAL) (PAL = TEE/RMR). TEE was assessed with an activity monitor (ActiReg), and RMR was measured by indirect calorimetry. Walking speed (measured over 30-meters), maximal quadriceps muscle strength, fat-free mass and systemic inflammation were measured as clinical characteristics. Hierarchical linear regression was applied to investigate the explanatory values of the clinical correlates to PAL.
The mean PAL was 1.47 ± 0.19, and 92% of subjects were classified as physically very inactive or sedentary. The walking speed was 1.02 ± 0.23 m/s, the quadriceps strength was 31.3 ± 11.2 kg, and the fat-free mass index (FFMI) was 15.7 ± 2.3 kg/m2, identifying 42% of subjects as slow walkers, 21% as muscle-weak and 49% as FFM-depleted. The regression model explained 45.5% (p < 0.001) of the variance in PAL. The FEV1% predicted explained the largest proportion (22.5%), with further improvements in the model from walking speed (10.1%), muscle strength (7.0%) and FFMI (3.0%). Neither age, gender nor systemic inflammation contributed to the model.
Apart from lung function, walking speed and muscle strength are important correlates of physical activity. Further explorations of the longitudinal effects of the factors characterizing the most inactive subjects are warranted.
Physical activity; Activity monitor; COPD; Physical function; Body composition
No large study has described the seasonal variation in asthma attacks in
population-based asthmatics in whom sensitisation to allergen has been
2637 young adults with asthma living in 15 countries reported the months in which
they usually had attacks of asthma and had skin-prick tests performed.
Differences in seasonal patterns by sensitisation status were assessed using
generalised estimating equations.
Most young adults with asthma reported periods of the year when their asthma
attacks were more common (range: 47% in Sweden to 86% in
Spain). Seasonal variation in asthma was not modified by sensitisation to
house dust mite or cat allergens. Asthmatics sensitised to grass, birch and
Alternaria allergens had different seasonal patterns to
those not sensitised to each allergen, with some geographical variation. In
southern Europe, those sensitised to grass allergens were more likely to report
attacks occurred in spring or summer than in winter (OR March/April 2.60,
95% CI 1.70–3.97; OR May/June 4.43, 95% CI
2.34–8.39) and smaller later peaks were observed in northern Europe
(OR May/June 1.25, 95% CI 0.60–2.64; OR July/August 1.66,
95% CI 0.89–3.10). Asthmatics reporting hay fever but who were
not sensitised to grass showed no seasonal variations.
Seasonal variations in asthma attacks in young adults are common and are
different depending on sensitisation to outdoor, but not indoor, allergens.
Seasonal variation in asthma attacks is associated with sensitisation to
pollens and moulds, but not indoor allergens
Low lung function is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. It is therefore of interest to identify biomarkers that are associated with impaired lung function. The aim of the study was to analyse associations of biomarkers and combinations of biomarkers with lung function in an elderly general population.
Lung function (FEV1 and FVC) and a panel of 15 inflammatory markers from blood samples were analysed in 888 subjects aged 70 years. Biomarkers included cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, C-reactive protein (CRP) and leukocyte count.
Leukocyte count and CRP were independently associated with FEV1 after adjustments for other inflammatory markers, sex, BMI, current smoking and pack-years of smoking. In a similar model, leukocyte count and vascular cell adhesion protein 1 (VCAM-1) were the biomarkers that were significantly associated with FVC. Subjects that had both leukocyte count and CRP in the lowest tertile had a FEV1 that was 9% of predicted higher than subjects with leukocyte count and CRP in the highest tertile (103±16 vs. 94±21% of predicted, p=0.0002) (mean±SD). A difference of 8% of predicted in FVC was found between subjects with leukocyte count and VCAM-1 in the lowest and highest tertiles, respectively (106±18 vs. 98±19% of predicted, p=0.002).
Leucocyte count, CRP and VCAM-1 were found to relate to poorer lung function. A dose related association was found for the combination leukocyte count and CRP towards FEV1 and leukocyte and VCAM-1 towards FVC. This indicates that combination of two biomarkers yielded more information than assessing them one by one when analysing the association between systemic inflammation and lung function.
Lung function; FEV1; FVC; COPD; Biomarkers; Gender
To estimate the prevalence and characteristics of frequent nocturnal sweating in obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) patients compared with the general population and evaluate the possible changes with positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment. Nocturnal sweating can be very bothersome to the patient and bed partner.
Case–control and longitudinal cohort study.
Landspitali—The National University Hospital, Iceland.
The Icelandic Sleep Apnea Cohort consisted of 822 untreated patients with OSA, referred for treatment with PAP. Of these, 700 patients were also assessed at a 2-year follow-up. The control group consisted of 703 randomly selected subjects from the general population.
PAP therapy in the OSA cohort.
Main outcome measures
Subjective reporting of nocturnal sweating on a frequency scale of 1–5: (1) never or very seldom, (2) less than once a week, (3) once to twice a week, (4) 3–5 times a week and (5) every night or almost every night. Full PAP treatment was defined objectively as the use for ≥4 h/day and ≥5 days/week.
Frequent nocturnal sweating (≥3× a week) was reported by 30.6% of male and 33.3% of female OSA patients compared with 9.3% of men and 12.4% of women in the general population (p<0.001). This difference remained significant after adjustment for demographic factors. Nocturnal sweating was related to younger age, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, sleepiness and insomnia symptoms. The prevalence of frequent nocturnal sweating decreased with full PAP treatment (from 33.2% to 11.5%, p<0.003 compared with the change in non-users).
The prevalence of frequent nocturnal sweating was threefold higher in untreated OSA patients than in the general population and decreased to general population levels with successful PAP therapy. Practitioners should consider the possibility of OSA in their patients who complain of nocturnal sweating.
Hypertension < Cardiology
Our knowledge about atopy as a longitudinal predictor of asthma is limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prognosis of asthma and risk factors for asthma onset, especially sensitization of specific allergens in a population sample.
Material and methods
A cohort responded to a respiratory questionnaire in 1990 and 2003. At baseline, 2,060 subjects who, in the screening questionnaire, reported respiratory symptoms and 482 controls were investigated with interviews, spirometry, and skin-prick test. A total of 721 asthmatics and 976 subjects without respiratory disease were clinically verified. At follow-up in 2003, 340 subjects with persistent asthma and 186 subjects with asthma remission were identified, while 76 subjects reported new asthma onset.
Sensitization to pets and a high symptom score were significant determinants of persistent asthma (odds ratio (OR) 3.2 (95% CI 1.9–5.6) and 5.7 (2.5–13.3), respectively) and onset of asthma (OR 2.6 (1.1–6.0), and 1.7 (1.2–2.3)). A high self-reported responsiveness to airway irritants (OR 1.6 (1.1–2.2)), and more asthma medications (OR 2.0 (1.3–2.9)) were additional indicators of persistent asthma at the follow-up. Belonging to the older age group decreased the risk both of having persistent asthma and asthma onset.
Asthmatics sensitized to pets have a more severe outcome than asthmatics not sensitized to pets. Sensitization to pets was also a strong predictor for onset of asthma. Special attention should be given to asthmatics who report having severe symptoms and problems with airway irritants as such patients are more likely to have persistent problems.
Allergens; allergy tests; asthma; longitudinal study; prognosis; skin-prick test
The prevalence rates of smoking in subjects with asthma have frequently been reported as similar to those in the general population; however, available data are not up-to-date. There is only limited and somewhat conflicting information on the long-term effects of smoking on health outcomes among population-based cohorts of subjects with asthma. We aimed to investigate changes in smoking habits and their effects on forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) in subjects with asthma in comparison with the rest of the population, focusing on the healthy smoker effect.
We studied 9,092 subjects without asthma and 1,045 with asthma at baseline who participated in both the European Community Respiratory Health Survey I (20–44 years old in 1991–1993) and II (1999–2002).
At follow-up, smoking was significantly less frequent among subjects with asthma than in the rest of the population (26 vs. 31%; p < 0.001). Subjects with asthma who were already ex-smokers at the beginning of the follow-up in the 1990s had the highest mean asthma score (number of reported asthma-like symptoms, range 0–5), probably as a result of the healthy smoker effect (2.80 vs. 2.44 in never smokers, 2.19 in quitters and 2.24 in smokers; p < 0.001). The influence of smoking on FEV1 decline did not depend on asthma status. Smokers had the highest proportion of subjects with chronic cough/phlegm (p < 0.01).
One out of 4 subjects with asthma continues smoking and reports significantly more chronic cough and phlegm than never smokers and ex-smokers. This stresses the importance of smoking cessation in all patients with asthma, even in those with less severe asthma.
Asthma; Cigarette smoking; Epidemiology
Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often co-exist, but the nature of their relationship is unclear. The aims of this study were to compare the prevalence of initial and middle insomnia between OSA patients and controls from the general population as well as to study the influence of insomnia on sleepiness and quality of life in OSA patients.
Two groups were compared, untreated OSA patients (n=824) and controls ≥ 40 years from the general population in Iceland (n=762). All subjects answered the same questionnaires on health and sleep and OSA patients underwent a sleep study. Altogether, 53% of controls were males compared to 81% of OSA patients.
Difficulties maintaining sleep (DMS) were more common among men and women with OSA compared to the general population (52 vs. 31% and 62 vs. 31%, respectively, p<0.0001). Difficulties initiating sleep (DIS) and DIS+DMS were more common among women with OSA compared to women without OSA. OSA patients with DMS were sleepier than patients without DMS (Epworth Sleepiness Scale: 12.2 vs. 10.9, <0.001) while both DMS and DIS were related to lower quality of life in OSA patients as measured by the Short Form 12 (physical score 39 vs. 42 and mental score 36 vs. 41, p<0.001). DIS and DMS were not related to OSA severity.
Insomnia is common among OSA patients and has a negative influence on quality of life and sleepiness in this patient group. It is relevant to screen for insomnia among OSA patients and treat both conditions when they co-occur.
Insomnia; sleep apnea; risk factors; population sample
Women who smoke have higher risk of lung function impairment, COPD and lung cancer than smoking men. An influence of sex hormones has been demonstrated, but the mechanisms are unclear and the associations often subject to confounding. This was a study of wheeze in relation to smoking and sex with adjustment for important confounders.
In 2008 the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA2LEN) questionnaire was mailed to 45.000 Swedes (age 16–75 years), and 26.851 (60%) participated. “Any wheeze”: any wheeze during the last 12 months. “Asthmatic wheeze”: wheeze with breathlessness apart from colds.
Any wheeze and asthmatic wheeze was reported by 17.3% and 7.1% of women, vs. 15.8% and 6.1% of men (both p<0.001). Although smoking prevalence was similar in both sexes, men had greater cumulative exposure, 16.2 pack-years vs. 12.8 in women (p<0.001). Most other exposures and characteristics associated with wheeze were significantly overrepresented in men. Adjusted for these potential confounders and pack-years, current smoking was a stronger risk factor for any wheeze in women aged <53 years, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.85 (1.56–2.19) vs. 1.60 (1.30–1.96) in men. Cumulative smoke exposure and current smoking each interacted significantly with female sex, aOR 1.02 per pack-year (p<0.01) and aOR 1.28 (p = 0.04) respectively. Female compared to male current smokers also had greater risk of asthmatic wheeze, aOR 1.53 vs. 1.03, interaction aOR 1.52 (p = 0.02). These interactions were not seen in age ≥53 years.
In addition to the increased risk of COPD and lung cancer female, compared to male, smokers are at greater risk of significant wheezing symptoms in younger age. This became clearer after adjustment for important confounders including cumulative smoke exposure. Estrogen has previously been shown to increase the bioactivation of several compounds in tobacco smoke, which may enhance smoke-induced airway inflammation in fertile women.
The Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ) measures health status and can be used to assess health-related quality of life (HRQL). We investigated whether CCQ is also associated with mortality.
Some 1111 Swedish primary and secondary care chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients were randomly selected. Information from questionnaires and medical record review were obtained in 970 patients. The Swedish Board of Health and Welfare provided mortality data. Cox regression estimated survival, with adjustment for age, sex, heart disease, and lung function (for a subset with spirometry data, n = 530). Age and sex-standardized mortality ratios were calculated.
Over 5 years, 220 patients (22.7%) died. Mortality risk was higher for mean CCQ ≥ 3 (37.8% died) compared with mean CCQ < 1 (11.4%), producing an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) (and 95% confidence interval [CI]) of 3.13 (1.98 to 4.95). After further adjustment for 1 second forced expiratory volume (expressed as percent of the European Community for Steel and Coal reference values ), the association remained (HR 2.94 [1.42 to 6.10]). The mortality risk was higher than in the general population, with standardized mortality ratio (and 95% CI) of 1.87 (1.18 to 2.80) with CCQ < 1, increasing to 6.05 (4.94 to 7.44) with CCQ ≥ 3.
CCQ is predictive of mortality in COPD patients. As HRQL and mortality are both important clinical endpoints, CCQ could be used to target interventions.
health status; Health Related Quality of Life (HRQL); Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMR)
Genome-wide association studies have identified numerous genetic loci for spirometic measures of pulmonary function, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and its ratio to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC). Given that cigarette smoking adversely affects pulmonary function, we conducted genome-wide joint meta-analyses (JMA) of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and SNP-by-smoking (ever-smoking or pack-years) associations on FEV1 and FEV1/FVC across 19 studies (total N = 50,047). We identified three novel loci not previously associated with pulmonary function. SNPs in or near DNER (smallest PJMA = 5.00×10−11), HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DQA2 (smallest PJMA = 4.35×10−9), and KCNJ2 and SOX9 (smallest PJMA = 1.28×10−8) were associated with FEV1/FVC or FEV1 in meta-analysis models including SNP main effects, smoking main effects, and SNP-by-smoking (ever-smoking or pack-years) interaction. The HLA region has been widely implicated for autoimmune and lung phenotypes, unlike the other novel loci, which have not been widely implicated. We evaluated DNER, KCNJ2, and SOX9 and found them to be expressed in human lung tissue. DNER and SOX9 further showed evidence of differential expression in human airway epithelium in smokers compared to non-smokers. Our findings demonstrated that joint testing of SNP and SNP-by-environment interaction identified novel loci associated with complex traits that are missed when considering only the genetic main effects.
Measures of pulmonary function provide important clinical tools for evaluating lung disease and its progression. Genome-wide association studies have identified numerous genetic risk factors for pulmonary function but have not considered interaction with cigarette smoking, which has consistently been shown to adversely impact pulmonary function. In over 50,000 study participants of European descent, we applied a recently developed joint meta-analysis method to simultaneously test associations of gene and gene-by-smoking interactions in relation to two major clinical measures of pulmonary function. Using this joint method to incorporate genetic main effects plus gene-by-smoking interaction, we identified three novel gene regions not previously related to pulmonary function: (1) DNER, (2) HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DQA2, and (3) KCNJ2 and SOX9. Expression analyses in human lung tissue from ours or prior studies indicate that these regions contain genes that are plausibly involved in pulmonary function. This work highlights the utility of employing novel methods for incorporating environmental interaction in genome-wide association studies to identify novel genetic regions.
In a large population-based study among adults in northern Europe the relation between occupational exposure and new-onset asthma was studied.
The study comprised 13 284 subjects born between 1945 and 1973, who answered a questionnaire 1989–1992 and again 1999–2001. Asthma was defined as ‘Asthma diagnosed by a physician’ with reported year of diagnose. Hazard ratios (HR), for new-onset adult asthma during 1980–2000, were calculated using a modified job-exposure matrix as well as high-risk occupations in Cox regression models. The analyses were made separately for men and women and were also stratified for atopy.
During the observation period there were 429 subjects with new-onset asthma with an asthma incidence of 1.3 cases per 1000 person-years for men and 2.4 for women. A significant increase in new-onset asthma was seen for men exposed to plant-associated antigens (HR = 3.6; 95% CI [confidence interval] = 1.4–9.0), epoxy (HR = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.3–4.5), diisocyanates (HR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.2–3.7) and accidental peak exposures to irritants (HR = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.3–4.7). Both men and women exposed to cleaning agents had an increased asthma risk. When stratifying for atopy an increased asthma risk were seen in non-atopic men exposed to acrylates (HR = 3.3; 95% CI = 1.4–7.5), epoxy compounds (HR = 3.6; 95% CI = 1.6–7.9), diisocyanates and accidental peak exposures to irritants (HR = 3.0; 95% CI = 1.2–7.2). Population attributable risk for occupational asthma was 14% for men and 7% for women.
This population-based study showed that men exposed to epoxy, diisocyanates and acrylates had an increased risk of new-onset asthma. Non-atopics seemed to be at higher risk than atopics, except for exposure to high molecular weight agents. Increased asthma risks among cleaners, spray painters, plumbers, and hairdressers were confirmed.
Atopics and non-atopics; high molecular weight agent; high-risk occupations; irritating agents; job-exposure matrix; low molecualr weight agent; occupational asthma; population attributable risk
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is defined by post-bronchodilator spirometry. Data on “normal values” come predominantly from pre-bronchodilator spirometry. The effects of this on diagnosis are unknown.
Lower limits of normal (LLN) were estimated from “normal” participants in the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) programme. Values separately derived using pre- and post-bronchodilator spirometry were compared. Sensitivity and specificity of criteria derived from pre-bronchodilator spirometry and pre-bronchodilator spirometry adjusted by a constant were assessed in the remaining population. The “gold standard” was the LLN for the post-bronchodilator spirometry in the “normal population”. For FEV1/FVC, sensitivity and specificity of criteria were also assessed when a fixed value of < 70% was used rather than LLN.
Of 6,600 participants with full data, 1,354 were defined as “normal”. Mean differences between pre- and post- bronchodilator measurements were small and the Bland-Altman plots showed no association between difference and mean value. Compared with using the gold standard, however, tests using pre-bronchodilator spirometry had a sensitivity and specificity of detecting a low FEV1 of 78.4% and 100%, a low FVC of 99.8% and 99.1% and a low FEV1/FVC ratio of 65% and 100%. Adjusting this by a constant improved the sensitivity without substantially altering the specificity for FEV1 (99%, 99.8%), FVC (97.4%, 99.9%) and FEV1/FVC (98.7%, 99.5%).
Using pre-bronchodilator spirometry to derive norms for lung function reduces sensitivity compared to a post-bronchodilator gold standard. Adjustment of these values by a constant can improve validity of the test.
Normal values; BOLD study; European population
Asthma has substantial morbidity and mortality and a strong genetic component, but identification of genetic risk factors is limited by availability of suitable studies.
To test if population-based cohorts with self-reported physician-diagnosed asthma and genome-wide association (GWA) data could be used to validate known associations with asthma and identify novel associations.
The APCAT (Analysis in Population-based Cohorts of Asthma Traits) consortium consists of 1,716 individuals with asthma and 16,888 healthy controls from six European-descent population-based cohorts. We examined associations in APCAT of thirteen variants previously reported as genome-wide significant (P<5x10−8) and three variants reported as suggestive (P<5×10−7). We also searched for novel associations in APCAT (Stage 1) and followed-up the most promising variants in 4,035 asthmatics and 11,251 healthy controls (Stage 2). Finally, we conducted the first genome-wide screen for interactions with smoking or hay fever.
We observed association in the same direction for all thirteen previously reported variants and nominally replicated ten of them. One variant that was previously suggestive, rs11071559 in RORA, now reaches genome-wide significance when combined with our data (P = 2.4×10−9). We also identified two genome-wide significant associations: rs13408661 near IL1RL1/IL18R1 (PStage1+Stage2 = 1.1x10−9), which is correlated with a variant recently shown to be associated with asthma (rs3771180), and rs9268516 in the HLA region (PStage1+Stage2 = 1.1x10−8), which appears to be independent of previously reported associations in this locus. Finally, we found no strong evidence for gene-environment interactions with smoking or hay fever status.
Population-based cohorts with simple asthma phenotypes represent a valuable and largely untapped resource for genetic studies of asthma.
Background and aim
Mortality rate is high in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our aim was to investigate long-term mortality and associated risk factors in COPD patients previously hospitalized for a COPD exacerbation.
A total of 256 patients from the Nordic countries were followed for 8.7 ± 0.4 years after the index hospitalization in 2000–2001. Prior to discharge, the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire was administered and data on therapy and comorbidities were obtained. Information on long-term mortality was obtained from national registries in each of the Nordic countries.
In total, 202 patients (79%) died during the follow up period, whereas 54 (21%) were still alive. Primary cause of death was respiratory (n = 116), cardiovascular (n = 43), malignancy (n = 28), other (n = 10), or unknown (n = 5). Mortality was related to older age, with a hazard risk ratio (HRR) of 1.75 per 10 years, lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) (HRR 0.80), body mass index (BMI) <20 kg/m2 (HRR 3.21), and diabetes (HRR 3.02). Older age, lower BMI, and diabetes were related to both respiratory and cardiovascular mortality. An association was also found between lower FEV1 and respiratory mortality, whereas mortality was not significantly associated with therapy, anxiety, or depression.
Almost four out of five patients died within 9 years following an admission for COPD exacerbation. Increased mortality was associated with older age, lower lung function, low BMI, and diabetes, and these factors should be taken into account when making clinical decisions about patients who have been admitted to hospital for a COPD exacerbation.
acute exacerbation; long-term mortality; co-morbidity; diabetes; lung function
Reduced lung volumes and atelectasis are common after open-heart surgery, and pronounced restrictive lung volume impairment has been found. The aim of this study was to investigate factors influencing lung volumes on the second postoperative day. Open-heart surgery patients (n = 107, 68 yrs, 80% male) performed spirometry both before surgery and on the second postoperative day. The factors influencing postoperative lung volumes and decrease in lung volumes were investigated with univariate and multivariate analyses. Associations between pain (measured by numeric rating scale) and decrease in postoperative lung volumes were calculated with Spearman rank correlation test. Lung volumes decreased by 50% and were less than 40% of the predictive values postoperatively. Patients with BMI >25 had lower postoperative inspiratory capacity (IC) (33 ± 14% pred.) than normal-weight patients (39 ± 15% pred.), (P = 0.04). More pain during mobilisation was associated with higher decreases in postoperative lung volumes (VC: r = 0.33, P = 0.001; FEV1: r = 0.35, P ≤ 0.0001; IC: r = 0.25, P = 0.01). Patients with high BMI are a risk group for decreased postoperative lung volumes and should therefore receive extra attention during postoperative care. As pain is related to a larger decrease in postoperative lung volumes, optimal pain relief for the patients should be identified.
Both atopy and smoking are known to be associated with increased bronchial responsiveness. Fraction of nitric oxide (NO) in the exhaled air (FENO), a marker of airways inflammation, is decreased by smoking and increased by atopy. NO has also a physiological bronchodilating and bronchoprotective role.
To investigate how the relation between FENO and bronchial responsiveness is modulated by atopy and smoking habits.
Exhaled NO measurements and methacholine challenge were performed in 468 subjects from the random sample of three European Community Respiratory Health Survey II centers: Turin (Italy), Gothenburg and Uppsala (both Sweden). Atopy status was defined by using specific IgE measurements while smoking status was questionnaire-assessed.
Increased bronchial responsiveness was associated with increased FENO levels in non-smokers (p = 0.02) and decreased FENO levels in current smokers (p = 0.03). The negative association between bronchial responsiveness and FENO was seen only in the group smoking less <10 cigarettes/day (p = 0.008). Increased bronchial responsiveness was associated with increased FENO in atopic subjects (p = 0.04) while no significant association was found in non-atopic participants. The reported interaction between FENO and smoking and atopy, respectively were maintained after adjusting for possible confounders (p-values<0.05).
The present study highlights the interactions of the relationship between FENO and bronchial responsiveness with smoking and atopy, suggesting different mechanisms behind atopy- and smoking-related increases of bronchial responsiveness.
Recent reports on the simultaneous occurrence of systemic inflammation and airflow obstruction are usually based on a highly selective patient population, but their importance warrants further evaluation in the general population. The objectives were to study the interrelationship between airflow obstruction, smoking, hypertension, obesity and CRP as a marker of systemic inflammation in a randomly selected sample of the general Icelandic population (n = 939). This study comprised 758 randomly selected men and women 40 years and older living in Reykjavik, Iceland, and who were participating in the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study (81% response rate). In addition to the BOLD protocol, which included post-bronchodilator spirometry, they answered questions about general health and medication. Serum samples were taken for measurement of C-reactive protein (CRP). In the sample—245 individuals (33%) reported having hypertension. Subjects with hypertension were older, had a higher BMI and higher CRP levels. Subjects with hypertension had lower values of FEV1 than predicted (89.9 ± 18.5 vs. 94.5 ± 14.4%) (p < 0.001) and FVC (92.2 ± 15.1 vs. 95.3 ± 12.3%) (p = 0.002). These differences remained significant after adjusting for age, BMI, CRP and smoking. Hypertension and CRP levels above the median were both independently and additively associated with lower FEV1 and FVC. In addition a lower FVC% was also associated with a higher BMI (> 30 mg/m2). Use of betablocking antihypertensives was not related to lung function. Hypertension, BMI and systemic inflammation affect lung function independently of each other. All three variables have a negative effect on FVC, while hypertension and high CRP were independently associated with impaired FEV1.
Airflow obstruction; hypertension; obesity; systemic inflammation; cytokines
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by an irreversible chronic airflow obstruction and by an accelerated decline in lung function. Elevated circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), both markers of systemic inflammation, have been found in COPD. Their possible associations with chronic airflow obstruction have mostly been evaluated in highly selected patient samples. Our objective was to evaluate the association between postbronchodilator lung function CRP and IL-6 in a randomly selected sample of the Icelandic population, 40 years and older, while adjusting for gender, age, smoking, and body weight.
Serum CRP and IL-6 values were measured among participants in the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study.
Of the 938 subjects invited a total of 403 men and 355 women participated (response rate 81%) in the study. Their mean age (±SD) was 57.7 (±12.7) years. Both CRP and IL-6 were independently related to lower FEV1 and FVC values. Individuals in the highest quartiles of CRP and IL-6 had a 7.5% and 3.9%, respectively, lower FEV1% than predicted after adjustment for smoking, age, and body weight. High CRP levels were more strongly related to lower FEV1 levels in men (−11.4%) than in women ( −0.4%).
In a random population-based sample both CRP and IL-6 were significantly related to lower spirometric values. The association with CRP was stronger in men than in women. This finding underscores the possible importance of systemic inflammation in irreversible airflow limitation.
Airflow obstruction; Systemic inflammation; Cytokines; C-reactive protein; IL-6
Transient receptor potential (TRP) vanilloid and ankyrin cation channels are activated by various noxious chemicals and may play an important role in the pathogenesis of cough. The aim was to study the influence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TRP genes and irritant exposures on cough.
Nocturnal, usual, and chronic cough, smoking, and job history were obtained by questionnaire in 844 asthmatic and 2046 non-asthmatic adults from the Epidemiological study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA) and the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). Occupational exposures to vapors, gases, dusts, and/or fumes were assessed by a job-exposure matrix. Fifty-eight tagging SNPs in TRPV1, TRPV4, and TRPA1 were tested under an additive model.
Statistically significant associations of 6 TRPV1 SNPs with cough symptoms were found in non-asthmatics after correction for multiple comparisons. Results were consistent across the eight countries examined. Haplotype-based association analysis confirmed the single SNP analyses for nocturnal cough (7-SNP haplotype: p-global = 4.8 × 10-6) and usual cough (9-SNP haplotype: p-global = 4.5 × 10-6). Cough symptoms were associated with exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke and occupational exposures (p < 0.05). Four polymorphisms in TRPV1 further increased the risk of cough symptoms from irritant exposures in asthmatics and non-asthmatics (interaction p < 0.05).
TRPV1 SNPs were associated with cough among subjects without asthma from two independent studies in eight European countries. TRPV1 SNPs may enhance susceptibility to cough in current smokers and in subjects with a history of workplace exposures.
Asthma; Gene-environment interaction; Irritant exposure; Smoking; TRP channel
People with asthma suffer from impaired health-related quality of life (HRQL), but the determinants of HRQL among asthmatics are not completely understood. The aim of this investigation was to study determinants of low HRQL in asthmatics and to study whether the determinants of HRQL differ between sexes and age groups. A cohort of three age groups in Sweden was investigated in 1990 using a questionnaire with focus on respiratory symptoms. To study quality of life, the generic instrument Gothenburg Quality of Life was used. The participants were also investigated with interviews, spirometry, and allergy testing. Asthma was diagnosed in 616 subjects. Fifty-eight per cent (n = 359) of the subjects were women; and 24% were smokers, 22% ex-smokers, and 54% were non-smokers. Women were more likely than men to report poor health-related quality of life. Respiratory symptoms severity was another independent determinant of a lower quality of life as well as airway responsiveness to irritants. Current and former smokers also reported lower quality of life. Finally, absenteeism from school and work was associated with lower quality of life. Factors such as sex, smoking habits, airway responsiveness to irritants, respiratory symptom severity, allergy, and absenteeism from school and work were associated with low HRQL in asthmatics.
Asthma; GQL; generic instrument; quality of life
Recent guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) state that COPD is both preventable and treatable. To gain a more positive outlook on the disease it is interesting to investigate factors associated with good, self-rated health and quality of life in subjects with self-reported COPD in the population.
In a cross-sectional study design, postal survey questionnaires were sent to a stratified, random population in Sweden in 2004 and 2008. The prevalence of subjects (40–84 years) who reported having COPD was 2.1% in 2004 and 2.7% in 2008. Data were analyzed for 1475 subjects. Regression models were used to analyze the associations between health measures (general health status, the General Health Questionnaire, the EuroQol five-dimension questionnaire) and influencing factors.
The most important factor associated with good, self-rated health and quality of life was level of physical activity. Odds ratios for general health varied from 2.4 to 7.7 depending on degree of physical activity, where subjects with the highest physical activity level reported the best health and also highest quality of life. Social support and absence of economic problems almost doubled the odds ratios for better health and quality of life.
In this population-based public health survey, better self-rated health status and quality of life in subjects with self-reported COPD was associated with higher levels of physical activity, social support, and absence of economic problems. The findings indicated that of possible factors that could be influenced, promoting physical activity and strengthening social support are important in maintaining or improving the health and quality of life in subjects with COPD. Severity of the disease as a possible confounding effect should be investigated in future population studies.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; health status; physical activity; quality of life; social support
The increase in asthma prevalence until 1990 has been well described. Thereafter, time trends are poorly known, due to the low number of high quality studies. The preferred method for studying time trends in prevalence is repeated surveys of similar populations. This study aimed to compare the prevalence of asthma symptoms and their major determinants, rhinitis and smoking, in Swedish young adults in 1990 and 2008.
In 1990 the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) studied respiratory symptoms, asthma, rhinitis and smoking in a population-based sample (86% participation) in Sweden. In 2008 the same symptom questions were included in the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA2LEN) survey (60% participation). Smoking questions were however differently worded. The regions (Gothenburg, Uppsala, Umeå) and age interval (20–44 years) surveyed both in 1990 (n = 8,982) and 2008 (n = 9,156) were analysed.
The prevalence of any wheeze last 12 months decreased from 20% to 16% (p<0.001), and the prevalence of “asthma-related symptoms” was unchanged at 7%. However, either having asthma attacks or using asthma medications increased from 6% to 8% (p<0.001), and their major risk factor, rhinitis, increased from 22% to 31%. Past and present smoking decreased.
From 1990 to 2008 the prevalence of obstructive airway symptoms common in asthma did not increase in Swedish young adults. This supports the few available international findings suggesting the previous upward trend in asthma has recently reached a plateau. The fact that wheeze did not increase despite the significant increment in rhinitis, may at least in part be due to the decrease in smoking.
Patients with allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma demonstrate comparable local and systemic eosinophil inflammation, and yet they present with different clinical pictures. Less is even known about the contribution of neutrophil inflammation in allergic diseases. The aim of the study was to examine the propensity and selectivity of granule release from primed systemic eosinophils and neutrophils in allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma after seasonal and experimental allergen exposure. We hypothesize that the dissimilar clinical manifestations are due to diverse eosinophil and neutrophil degranulation.
Nine birch pollen allergic patients with rhinitis, eight with asthma and four controls were studied during pollen season and after nasal and bronchial allergen challenge. Eosinophils and neutrophils were incubated in vitro with assay buffer and opsonized Sephadex particles for spontaneous and C3b-induced granule protein release. The released amount of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) was measured by specific radioimmunoassay.
C3b-induced degranulation resulted in increased release of ECP and MPO from primed blood eosinophils and neutrophils in both allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma during pollen season and after both nasal and bronchial challenge (p-values 0.008 to 0.043). After bronchial challenge, the ECP release was significantly higher in the rhinitic group compared to the asthmatic group [19.8 vs. 13.2%, (p = 0.010)]. The propensity for EPO release was weak in all challenge models but followed the same pattern in both allergic groups.
Systemically activated eosinophils and neutrophils have similar patterns of degranulation after allergen exposure in allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. The released amount of ECP, EPO and MPO was similar in all allergen challenge models in both allergic groups. Our results indicate that other mechanisms than the magnitude of eosinophil and neutrophil inflammation or the degranulation pattern of the inflammatory cells determines whether or not an allergic patient develops asthma.
Chlamydia pneumoniae (C pn) infection causes an acute inflammation in the respiratory system that may become persistent, but little is known about the long-term respiratory effects of C pn infections. Aim: To estimate the long term respiratory effects of C pn with change in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) as a main outcome variable.
The study comprised of 1109 subjects (500 men and 609 women, mean age 28 ± 6 years) that participated in the Reykjavik Heart Study of the Young. Spirometry and blood samples for measurements of IgG antibodies for C pn were done at inclusion and at the end of the follow-up period (mean follow-up time 27 ± 4 years).
Having IgG against C pn at both examinations was significantly associated to a larger decrease in FEV1 (6 mL/year) and FVC (7 mL/year) in women but not in men. In women the association between C pn and larger FEV1 decline was only found in women that smoked at baseline where having C pn IgG was associated with 10 mL/year decline compared to smokers without C pn IgG. These results were still significant after adjustment for age, smoking and change in body weight.
Our results indicate that persistent C pn serology is related to increased decline in lung function in women but not in men. This effect was, however, primarily found in smoking women. This study is a further indication that the pathophysiological process leading to lung impairment may differ between men and women.
The Eosinophil Cationic Protein (ECP) is a potent multifunctional protein. Three common polymorphisms are present in the ECP gene, which determine the function and production of the protein. The aim was to study the relationship of these ECP gene polymorphisms to signs and symptoms of allergy and asthma in a community based cohort (The European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS)).
Swedish and Estonian subjects (n = 757) were selected from the larger cohort of the ECRHS II study cohort. The prevalence of the gene polymorphisms ECP434(G>C) (rs2073342), ECP562(G>C) (rs2233860) and ECP c.-38(A>C) (rs2233859) were analysed by DNA sequencing and/or real-time PCR and related to questionnaire-based information of allergy, asthma, smoking habits and to lung functions.
Genotype prevalence showed both ethnic and gender differences. Close associations were found between the ECP434(G>C) and ECP562(G>C) genotypes and smoking habits, lung function and expression of allergic symptoms. Non-allergic asthma was associated with an increased prevalence of the ECP434GG genotype. The ECP c.-38(A>C) genotypes were independently associated to the subject being atopic.
Our results show associations of symptoms of allergy and asthma to ECP-genotypes, but also to smoking habits. ECP may be involved in impairment of lung functions in disease. Gender, ethnicity and smoking habits are major confounders in the evaluations of genetic associations to allergy and asthma.