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1.  Efficacy and safety of nebulized glycopyrrolate for administration using a high efficiency nebulizer in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
To establish the dose−response for pharmacodynamics (bronchodilatation), safety and pharmacokinetics for a nebulized formulation of the long acting muscarinic antagonist glycopyrrolate (EP-101) with a high efficiency nebulizer in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Patients with moderate to severe COPD (GOLD II/III), with reversible lung function, were enrolled into this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, six period crossover study (n = 42). Patients received single doses of EP-101 (12.5–400 μg) and placebo via a high efficiency nebulizer (eFlow® PARI nebulizer), with washout between treatments. Plasma pharmacokinetics were assessed in a subset of patients (n = 11).
All treatments were well tolerated with similar adverse event rates reported with placebo and at all doses. There were no clinically relevant changes in heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure or in ECG parameters including QTc interval. Following treatment with EP-101 at all doses there was a rapid bronchodilator response within 5 min. Significant improvements in mean change from baseline FEV1 at 24 h were reported at doses ≥50 μg compared with placebo, with a clear dose−response relationship. Mean changes in FEV1 were 0.10 l (95% CI 0.06, 0.14) and 0.12 l (95% CI 0.08, 0.16) for 100 μg and 200 μg, respectively.
Single doses of EP-101 ranging from 12.5 μg to 400 μg were well tolerated. EP-101 delivered by high efficiency nebulizer device produced a rapid onset of bronchodilatation with clinically meaningful improvements in lung function maintained over a 24 h period at all doses >50 μg.
PMCID: PMC4345959  PMID: 25243340
COPD; EP-101; glycopyrrolate; LAMA; muscarinic antagonist; nebulizer
2.  CRAC channel inhibition produces greater anti-inflammatory effects than glucocorticoids in COPD CD8 cells 
There are increased numbers of pulmonary CD8 lymphocytes in COPD. Calcium-release activation calcium (CRAC) channels play a central role in lymphocyte activation though the regulation of the transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT).
We studied the expression of NFAT in COPD lungs compared to controls, and evaluated the effects of CRAC inhibition compared to corticosteroids on NFAT activation and cytokine production from COPD CD8 cells.
The effects of the corticosteroid dexamethasone, the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporin and the CRAC inhibitor synta-66 were studied on cytokine production and NFAT activation using peripheral blood and isolated pulmonary CD8 cells. NFAT1 and CD8 co-expression in the lungs was compared in COPD and controls using combined immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence.
NFAT inhibition with either cyclosporin or synta-66 resulted in significantly greater maximal inhibition of cytokines than dexamethasone in both peripheral blood and pulmonary CD8 cells (e.g. > 95% inhibition of IFNγ production from pulmonary CD8 cells using cyclosporin and synta-66 compared to <50% using dexamethasone). The absolute number of pulmonary CD8 cells co-expressing NFAT1 was significantly raised in COPD lung compared to controls, but the percentage of CD8 cells co-expressing NFAT1 was similar between COPD and controls (80.7 % vs 78.5 % respectively, p=0.3).
Inhibition of NFAT using the CRAC inhibitor synta-66 produces greater anti-inflammatory effects on COPD CD8 cells than corticosteroids. NFAT is expressed in a high proportion of COPD pulmonary CD8 cells.
PMCID: PMC4401013  PMID: 23905758
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; CD8 cell; Nuclear factor of Activated T cells; Calcium-release Activated Calcium channel; Orai1
3.  Efficacy and safety of nebulized glycopyrrolate for administration using a high efficiency nebulizer in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
To establish the dose−response for pharmacodynamics (bronchodilatation), safety and pharmacokinetics for a nebulized formulation of the long acting muscarinic antagonist glycopyrrolate (EP-101) with a high efficiency nebulizer in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Patients with moderate to severe COPD (GOLD II/III), with reversible lung function, were enrolled into this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, six period crossover study (n = 42). Patients received single doses of EP-101 (12.5–400 μg) and placebo via a high efficiency nebulizer (eFlow® PARI nebulizer), with washout between treatments. Plasma pharmacokinetics were assessed in a subset of patients (n = 11).
All treatments were well tolerated with similar adverse event rates reported with placebo and at all doses. There were no clinically relevant changes in heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure or in ECG parameters including QTc interval. Following treatment with EP-101 at all doses there was a rapid bronchodilator response within 5 min. Significant improvements in mean change from baseline FEV1 at 24 h were reported at doses ≥50 μg compared with placebo, with a clear dose−response relationship. Mean changes in FEV1 were 0.10 l (95% CI 0.06, 0.14) and 0.12 l (95% CI 0.08, 0.16) for 100 μg and 200 μg, respectively.
Single doses of EP-101 ranging from 12.5 μg to 400 μg were well tolerated. EP-101 delivered by high efficiency nebulizer device produced a rapid onset of bronchodilatation with clinically meaningful improvements in lung function maintained over a 24 h period at all doses >50 μg.
PMCID: PMC4345959  PMID: 25243340
COPD; EP-101; glycopyrrolate; LAMA; muscarinic antagonist; nebulizer
4.  Systematic literature review of patient-reported outcome measures used in assessment and measurement of sleep disorders in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Sleep problems are common in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the validity of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) that measure sleep dysfunction has not been evaluated. We have reviewed the literature to identify disease-specific and non-disease-specific sleep PROMs that have been validated for use in COPD patients. The review also examined the psychometric properties of identified sleep outcome measures and extracted point and variability estimates of sleep instruments used in COPD studies.
The online EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and SCOPUS databases for all years to May 2014 were used to source articles for the review. The review was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Criteria from the Medical Outcomes Trust Scientific Advisory Committee guidelines were used to evaluate the psychometric properties of all sleep PROMs identified.
One COPD-specific and six non-COPD-specific sleep outcome measures were identified and 44 papers met the review selection criteria. We only identified one instrument, the COPD and Asthma Sleep Impact Scale, which was developed specifically for use in COPD populations. Ninety percent of the identified studies used one of two non-disease-specific sleep scales, ie, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and/or the Epworth Sleep Scale, although neither has been tested for reliability or validity in people with COPD.
The results highlight a need for existing non-disease-specific instruments to be validated in COPD populations and also a need for new disease-specific measures to assess the impact of sleep problems in COPD.
PMCID: PMC4330032  PMID: 25709424
sleep; symptom assessment; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; systematic review
5.  The Effect of Inhaled IFN-β on Worsening of Asthma Symptoms Caused by Viral Infections. A Randomized Trial 
Rationale: Ex vivo, bronchial epithelial cells from people with asthma are more susceptible to rhinovirus infection caused by deficient induction of the antiviral protein, IFN-β. Exogenous IFN-β restores antiviral activity.
Objectives: To compare the efficacy and safety of inhaled IFN-β with placebo administered to people with asthma after onset of cold symptoms to prevent or attenuate asthma symptoms caused by respiratory viruses.
Methods: A total of 147 people with asthma on inhaled corticosteroids (British Thoracic Society Steps 2–5), with a history of virus-associated exacerbations, were randomized to 14-day treatment with inhaled IFN-β (n = 72) or placebo (n = 75) within 24 hours of developing cold symptoms and were assessed clinically, with relevant samples collected to assess virus infection and antiviral responses.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 91% of randomized patients developed a defined cold. In this modified intention-to-treat population, asthma symptoms did not get clinically significantly worse (mean change in six-item Asthma Control Questionnaire <0.5) and IFN-β treatment had no significant effect on this primary endpoint, although it enhanced morning peak expiratory flow recovery (P = 0.033), reduced the need for additional treatment, and boosted innate immunity as assessed by blood and sputum biomarkers. In an exploratory analysis of the subset of more difficult-to-treat, Step 4-5 people with asthma (n = 27 IFN-β; n = 31 placebo), Asthma Control Questionnaire-6 increased significantly on placebo; this was prevented by IFN-β (P = 0.004).
Conclusions: Although the trial did not meet its primary endpoint, it suggests that inhaled IFN-β is a potential treatment for virus-induced deteriorations of asthma in difficult-to-treat people with asthma and supports the need for further, adequately powered, trials in this population.
Clinical trial registered with (NCT 01126177).
PMCID: PMC4226052  PMID: 24937476
innate immunity; treatment; respiratory virus
6.  Gene expression changes caused by the p38 MAPK inhibitor dilmapimod in COPD patients: analysis of blood and sputum samples from a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial 
The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) intracellular signaling pathway responds to a variety of extracellular stimuli, including cytokines, Toll-like receptor agonists, and components of cigarette smoke to influence the expression of proinflammatory mediators. Activation of p38 MAPK is increased within the lungs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. In clinical trials, treatment of COPD patients with p38 MAPK inhibitors has been shown to reduce systemic inflammation plasma biomarkers C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen. As CRP and fibrinogen have been associated with poor clinical outcomes in COPD patients, such as mortality, exacerbation, and hospitalization, we analyzed gene expression data from COPD subjects treated with dilmapimod with the aim of understanding the effects of p38 MAPK inhibition on the inflammatory genome of immune cells within the systemic circulation. Whole blood and induced sputum samples were used to measure mRNA levels by gene array and PCR. Pathway and network analysis showed STAT1, MMP-9, CAV1, and IL-1β as genes regulated by dilmapimod that could also influence fibrinogen levels, while only IL-1β was identified as a gene regulated by dilmapimod that could influence CRP levels. This suggests that p38 MAPK inhibits specific inflammatory pathways, leading to to differential effects on CRP and fibrinogen levels in COPD patients.
PMCID: PMC4317226  PMID: 25692013
C-reactive protein; dilmapimod; gene expression; P38 mitogen activated protein kinase
7.  Efficacy and safety of aclidinium bromide/formoterol fumarate fixed-dose combinations compared with individual components and placebo in patients with COPD (ACLIFORM-COPD): a multicentre, randomised study 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:178.
Aclidinium/formoterol is a twice-daily (BID) fixed-dose combination (FDC) in development for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The efficacy and safety of aclidinium/formoterol versus monotherapy and placebo in patients with COPD was assessed.
In this 24-week double-blind, parallel-group, active- and placebo-controlled, multicentre Phase III study, patients (≥40 years, post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1]/forced vital capacity <70% and FEV1 ≥30% but <80% predicted normal) were randomised 2:2:2:2:1 to aclidinium/formoterol 400/12 μg (n = 385) or 400/6 μg (n = 381), aclidinium 400 μg (n = 385), formoterol 12 μg (n = 384) or placebo (n = 194) BID via Genuair®/Pressair®a.
At Week 24, aclidinium/formoterol 400/12 μg and 400/6 μg lead to significant improvements from baseline in 1-hour post-dose FEV1 versus aclidinium (125 mL [95% CI: 90, 160; p < 0 · 001] and 69 mL [95% CI: 34, 105; p < 0.001], respectively) and trough FEV1 versus formoterol (85 mL [95% CI: 51, 119; p < 0.001] and 53 mL [95% CI: 19, 87; p < 0.01], respectively; co-primary endpoints). Additionally, aclidinium/formoterol 400/12 μg and 400/6 μg provided significant improvements in Transition Dyspnoea Index (TDI) focal score versus placebo (1.29 units [95% CI: 0.73, 1.86; p < 0.001] and 1.16 units [95% CI: 0.59, 1.73; p < 0.001], respectively; secondary endpoint). All treatments were well tolerated, with safety profiles of the FDCs similar to those of placebo and monotherapy.
Both aclidinium/formoterol BID doses significantly improved bronchodilation versus monotherapy, and dyspnoea versus placebo, with no increase in safety risk. Aclidinium/formoterol may be an effective treatment for patients with COPD.
Trial registration NCT01462942.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-178) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4273456  PMID: 25404569
Aclidinium bromide/formoterol fumarate; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Fixed-dose combination
8.  A dose-ranging study of the bronchodilator effects of abediterol (LAS100977), a long-acting β2-adrenergic agonist, in asthma; a Phase II, randomized study 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:176.
Long-acting β2-adrenergic agonists (LABAs) are recommended in combination with inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) for asthma management. Abediterol is a novel, selective, potent, once-daily LABA in development for treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This study aimed to determine abediterol doses with similar peak bronchodilatory effect to salbutamol 400 μg, and duration of action compatible with once-daily dosing in patients with persistent, stable asthma.
This was a Phase II, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, crossover, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study ( NCT01425801) in 62 patients with mild-to-moderate asthma who were also receiving an ICS. Patients received single doses of abediterol 0.313, 0.625, 1.25, or 2.5 μg, salbutamol 400 μg, or placebo in the morning. Spirometry was performed up to 36 h post-dose; safety and tolerability were assessed throughout the study. The primary endpoint was change from baseline in peak forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). Additional endpoints included trough FEV1, normalized area under the FEV1 curve (FEV1 AUC) up to 24 h post-dose, and peak and trough forced vital capacity (FVC).
Abediterol produced dose-dependent improvements in peak FEV1 from baseline compared with placebo, from 0.274 (95% CI 0.221, 0.327) to 0.405 L (95% CI 0.353, 0.458) for abediterol 0.313 to 2.5 μg, respectively (p < 0.0001 all doses). Abediterol 0.625, 1.25, and 2.5 μg had similar magnitude of peak FEV1 effect to salbutamol. Dose-dependent changes from baseline in trough FEV1 versus placebo were 0.219 (95% CI 0.136, 0.302) to 0.400 L (95% CI 0.317, 0.483) for abediterol 0.313 to 2.5 μg, respectively (p < 0.0001). All abediterol doses achieved significant improvements versus placebo in FEV1 AUC 0–6, 0–12, and 0–24 h, and peak and trough FVC (p < 0.05). Less than 10% of patients experienced treatment-related adverse events for each dose of abediterol; most were mild to moderate in intensity and the most common were headache and nasopharyngitis. There were no clinically relevant changes in heart rate.
Abediterol 0.625–2.5 μg provided dose-dependent, clinically and statistically significant bronchodilation versus placebo in patients with asthma, with a peak effect similar to salbutamol and duration of action compatible with once-daily dosing. All doses of abediterol were well tolerated.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-176) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320624  PMID: 25398689
LABA; Chronic respiratory disease; Asthma; Dose-finding; Bronchodilation
9.  The effect of the novel phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor MEM 1414 on the allergen induced responses in mild asthma 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:166.
Inhaled allergen challenge is a standard method to study airway responses to inflammatory provocation and evaluate the therapeutic potential of novel anti-inflammatory compounds in asthma. MEM 1414 is a novel oral PDE4 inhibitor with high affinity and selectivity creating the potential for an improved side effect profile vs non-selective PDE inhibitors. We evaluated the tolerability and effect of MEM 1414 on airway responses in mild asthmatics.
A randomised double blind placebo controlled cross over study in two centres, in which sixteen steroid naïve atopic asthmatics were challenged with inhaled allergen. Subjects were dosed with MEM 1414 (600 mg) or placebo, twice daily orally for 7 days. Allergen challenge was performed on day 6 (2 hours post-dose), and methacholine responsiveness was measured 24 hours post allergen (day 7). Biomarkers of drug effects using ex vivo LPS stimulation of whole blood production of interleukin (IL)-6 and leukotriene (LT)-B4 and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) were measured on day 6 (0, 2 and 8 hours post-dose). Plasma pharmacokinetics were measured on days 1, 6 and 7. The primary endpoint was the effect on late asthmatic response to allergen.
Treatment with MEM 1414 abrogated the late phase response with a mean difference in FEV1 (LAR 3–10 hours) of 104 ml (25%) vs placebo (p < 0.005), with no effect on the early response. Biomarker responses were also attenuated with MEM 1414 treatment with reductions in LPS-stimulated whole blood assays for TNFα at 8 hours (p < 0.03) and LTB4 at 24 hours (p = 0.0808) with no change in the IL-6 response. The MEM 1414 treatment phase was associated with higher incidence of nausea (6/16 MEM 1414 vs 2/16 placebo) and vomiting (3/16 vs 0/16 placebo).
Oral MEM 1414, a novel PDE4 inhibitor, significantly reduces the late response following inhaled allergen challenge. MEM 1414 also inhibited whole blood assays of cytokine production from inflammatory cells. MEM 1414 was associated with a typical adverse event profile of PDE4 inhibitors, namely nausea and vomiting although these were mild side effects.
Trial registration number
Current controlled trials ISRCTN48047493.
PMCID: PMC4228152  PMID: 25351474
Phosphodiesterase (PDE4); Inhaled allergen challenge; Asthma; COPD; Biomarkers; TNFα; LTB4
10.  Altered Gene Expression in Blood and Sputum in COPD Frequent Exacerbators in the ECLIPSE Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107381.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are defined as frequent exacerbators suffer with 2 or more exacerbations every year. The molecular mechanisms responsible for this phenotype are poorly understood. We investigated gene expression profile patterns associated with frequent exacerbations in sputum and blood cells in a well-characterised cohort. Samples from subjects from the ECLIPSE COPD cohort were used; sputum and blood samples from 138 subjects were used for microarray gene expression analysis, while blood samples from 438 subjects were used for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Using microarray, 150 genes were differentially expressed in blood (>±1.5 fold change, p≤0.01) between frequent compared to non-exacerbators. In sputum cells, only 6 genes were differentially expressed. The differentially regulated genes in blood included downregulation of those involved in lymphocyte signalling and upregulation of pro-apoptotic signalling genes. Multivariate analysis of the microarray data followed by confirmatory PCR analysis identified 3 genes that predicted frequent exacerbations; B3GNT, LAF4 and ARHGEF10. The sensitivity and specificity of these 3 genes to predict the frequent exacerbator phenotype was 88% and 33% respectively. There are alterations in systemic immune function associated with frequent exacerbations; down-regulation of lymphocyte function and a shift towards pro-apoptosis mechanisms are apparent in patients with frequent exacerbations.
PMCID: PMC4179270  PMID: 25265030
11.  Increased levels of soluble interleukin-6 receptor and CCL3 in COPD sputum 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):103.
COPD patients have increased numbers of macrophages and neutrophils in the lungs. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) trans-signaling via its soluble receptor sIL-6R, governs the influx of innate immune cells to inflammatory foci through regulation of the chemokine CCL3. We hypothesized that there would be enhanced levels of IL-6, sIL-6R and CCL3 in COPD sputum.
59 COPD patients, 15 HNS and 15 S underwent sputum induction and processing with phosphate buffered saline to obtain supernatants for IL-6, sIL-6R and CCL3 analysis. Cytoslides were produced for differential cell counting and immunocytochemistry (COPD; n = 3) to determine cell type surface expression of the CCL3 receptors CCR5 and CCR1.
COPD patients expressed higher levels (p < 0.05) of sIL-6R and CCL3 compared to controls (sIL-6R medians pg/ml: COPD 166.4 vs S 101.1 vs HNS 96.4; CCL3 medians pg/ml: COPD 117.9 vs S 0 vs HNS 2.7). COPD sIL-6R levels were significantly correlated with sputum neutrophil (r = 0.5, p < 0.0001) and macrophage (r = 0.3, p = 0.01) counts. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that CCR5 and CCR1 were exclusively expressed on airway macrophages.
Enhanced airway generation of sIL-6R may promote IL-6 trans-signaling in COPD. Associated upregulation of CCL3 may facilitate the recruitment of macrophages into the airways by ligation of CCR1 and CCR5.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0103-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4156958  PMID: 25183374
COPD; Sputum; Two-step sputum processing; Interleukin-6; sIL-6R; CCL3
12.  Extrafine Beclomethasone/formoterol compared to Fluticasone/salmeterol Combination Therapy in COPD 
The study evaluated the efficacy of beclomethasone dipropionate/formoterol fumarate (BDP/FF) extrafine combination versus fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (FP/S) combination in COPD patients.
The trial was a 12-week multicentre, randomised, double-blind, double dummy study; 419 patients with moderate/severe COPD were randomised to BDP/FF 200/12 μg or FP/S 500/50 μg twice daily. The primary objective was to demonstrate the equivalence between treatments in terms of Transition Dyspnoea Index (TDI) score and the superiority of BDP/FF in terms of change from pre-dose in the first 30 minutes in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1). Secondary endpoints included lung function, symptom scores, symptom-free days and use of rescue medication, St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, six minute walking test and COPD exacerbations.
BDP/FF was equivalent to FP/S in terms of TDI score and superior in terms of FEV1 change from pre-dose (p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between treatments in secondary outcome measures, confirming overall comparability in terms of efficacy and tolerability. Moreover, a clinically relevant improvement (>4 units) in SGRQ was detected in the BDP/FF group only.
BDP/FF extrafine combination provides COPD patients with an equivalent improvement of dyspnoea and a faster bronchodilation in comparison to FP/S.
Trial registration NCT01245569
PMCID: PMC4008134  PMID: 24621109
13.  Corticosteroid effects on COPD alveolar macrophages: Dependency on cell culture methodology 
Journal of Immunological Methods  2014;405(100):144-153.
It is unclear whether cell culture methodology affects the corticosteroid sensitivity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) alveolar macrophages. We compared the effect of a short and a long isolation procedure on corticosteroid inhibition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated cytokine release from COPD alveolar macrophages. We also investigated signalling pathways associated with macrophage activation during cell isolation. Macrophages cultured using a short isolation protocol released higher unstimulated levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and chemokine C–X–C motif ligand (CXCL) 8; these macrophages were less sensitive to corticosteroid inhibition of LPS stimulated TNF-α and CXCL8 release when compared to a long isolation procedure. This was associated with increased p38 mitogen activated kinase (MAPK) activation. The p38 MAPK inhibitor, BIRB-796, significantly reduced unstimulated cytokine release. A key finding of this study was that both cell culture methods showed no difference in the corticosteroid sensitivity between COPD and control macrophages. We conclude that the culture of alveolar macrophages using a short isolation procedure alters cytokine production through p38 MAPK activation; this is associated with a change in corticosteroid sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC4004046  PMID: 24530567
Alveolar macrophage; Cytokines; Inflammation; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Corticosteroids; p38 MAPK
14.  Inhibition of the early asthmatic response to inhaled allergen by the 5-lipoxygenase activating protein inhibitor GSK2190915: a dose–response study 
GSK2190915, a 5-lipoxygenase activating protein inhibitor, inhibits the production of cysteinyl leukotrienes and leukotriene B4 and 5-oxo-6,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid. We have previously reported that GSK2190915 100 mg daily inhibits early and late asthmatic responses to inhaled allergen; the effects of lower doses have not been reported. This study assessed the dose–response effects of GSK2190915 10 mg and 50 mg on the early asthmatic response (EAR) to inhaled allergen.
Nineteen subjects with mild asthma and an EAR were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, three-way crossover study of GSK2190915 10 mg, 50 mg, and placebo orally once-daily for 3 days. Allergen challenge was performed 2 hours after the third dose.
Compared with placebo, GSK2190915 10 mg and 50 mg caused significant, dose-dependent attenuation of the minimum forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1) absolute change from baseline; mean treatment differences were 0.21 L (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.04 L, 0.38 L) and 0.41 L (95% CI 0.24 L, 0.58 L), respectively. GSK2190915 50 mg was more effective than 10 mg; mean difference between treatments was 0.20 L, (95% CI 0.03 L, 0.36 L). Compared with placebo, GSK2190915 50 mg, but not 10 mg, significantly inhibited the weighted mean FEV1 absolute change from baseline.
GSK2190915 50 mg attenuated the EAR similarly to GSK2190915 100 mg in our previous study, suggesting 50 mg is at the top of the dose–response curve. GSK2190915 10 mg is a suboptimal dose. The EAR can be used to assess the therapeutic dose of a new treatment for asthma.
PMCID: PMC3862733  PMID: 24357936
GSK2190915; FLAP inhibitor; early asthmatic response
15.  Inhaled LPS challenges in smokers: a study of pulmonary and systemic effects 
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a TLR4 agonist which activates NFκB dependent cytokine production. We investigated LPS inhalation in healthy smokers as a model of COPD bacterial exacerbations. We studied safety, reproducibility, the translocation of the NFκB subunit p65 in sputum cells and changes in systemic biomarkers of inflammation.
Twelve smokers inhaled 5 and 30 µg LPS and safety was monitored over 24 h. IL-6, CRP, CCl-18, SP-D, CC-16 and β-defensin 2 were measured in serum samples collected at baseline, 4, 8 and 24 h. Sputum was induced at baseline, 6 and 24 h for cell counts and p65 expression. Repeated challenges were performed after a 2 week interval in 10 smokers.
LPS inhalation was well tolerated. Significant increases occurred in sputum neutrophil counts with both doses, with a maximum increase of 21.5% at 6 h after 30 µg which was reproducible, ri (intraclass correlation coefficient) = 0.88. LPS increased sputum cell nuclear p65 translocation and phospho-p65 expression. All of the serum biomarkers increased following challenge but with different temporal patterns.
Inhaled LPS challenge in smokers causes pulmonary and systemic inflammation that involves NFκB activation. This appears to be a suitable model for studying bacterial exacerbations of COPD.
PMCID: PMC3522816  PMID: 22469312
lipopolysaccharide; smoker; induced sputum
16.  The role of the liver X receptor in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):106.
There is a need for novel anti-inflammatory therapies to treat COPD. The liver X receptor (LXR) is a nuclear hormone receptor with anti-inflammatory properties.
We investigated LXR gene and protein expression levels in alveolar macrophages and whole lung tissue from COPD patients and controls, the effect of LXR activation on the suppression of inflammatory mediators from LPS stimulated COPD alveolar macrophages, and the effect of LXR activation on the induction of genes associated with alternative macrophage polarisation.
The levels of LXR mRNA were significantly increased in whole lung tissue extracts in COPD patients and smokers compared to non-smokers. The expression of LXR protein was significantly increased in small airway epithelium and alveolar epithelium in COPD patients compared to controls. No differences in LXR mRNA and protein levels were observed in alveolar macrophages between patient groups. The LXR agonist GW3965 significantly induced the expression of the LXR dependent genes ABCA1 and ABCG1 in alveolar macrophage cultures. In LPS stimulated alveolar macrophages, GW3965 suppressed the production of CXCL10 and CCL5, whilst stimulating IL-10 production.
GW3965 did not significantly suppress the production of TNFα, IL-1β, or CXCL8. Our major finding is that LXR activation has anti-inflammatory effects on CXC10, CCL5 and IL-10 production from alveolar macrophages.
PMCID: PMC3852990  PMID: 24118845
COPD; Liver X receptor; Alveolar macrophage; Inflammatory cytokines
17.  Correction: Loss of Glucocorticoid Receptor Expression by DNA Methylation Prevents Glucocorticoid Induced Apoptosis in Human Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):10.1371/annotation/4aad3313-abac-404f-85b0-3b95aec89be4.
PMCID: PMC3762989
18.  Down Regulation of T Cell Receptor Expression in COPD Pulmonary CD8 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71629.
CD8 cells may contribute towards an autoimmune process in COPD. Down regulation of T cell receptor (TCR) signalling molecules occurs in autoimmune diseases with consequent T cell dysfunction. We hypothesise that TCR signalling is abnormal in COPD pulmonary CD8 cells. Micro-array gene expression analysis of blood and pulmonary COPD CD8 samples was performed and compared to pulmonary CD8 cells from smoker controls (S). We focused on the TCR signalling pathway, with validation of key findings using polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence. TCR signalling molecules in COPD pulmonary CD8 cells were down regulated compared to blood CD8 cells (CD247: fold change (FC) −2.43, Q = 0.001; LCK: FC −2.25, Q = 0.01). Micro-array analysis revealed no significant differences between COPD and S pulmonary CD8 cells. However, PCR revealed significantly lower gene expression levels of CD247 (FC −1.79, p = 0.04) and LCK (FC −1.77, p = 0.01) in COPD compared to S pulmonary CD8 cells. CD247 down regulation in COPD CD8 cells was confirmed by immunofluorescent staining of bronchoalveolar lavage cells: Significantly fewer COPD CD8 cells co-expressed CD247 compared to healthy non-smoker CD8 cells (mean 88.9 vs 75.2%, p<0.05) There is down regulation of TCR signalling molecules in COPD pulmonary CD8 cells. This may cause T cell dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3747211  PMID: 23977094
19.  Evaluation of Glucocorticoid Receptor Function in COPD Lung Macrophages Using Beclomethasone-17-Monopropionate 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64257.
Previous studies of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) function in COPD lung macrophages have used dexamethasone to evaluate inhibition of cytokine production. We have now used the clinically relevant corticosteroid beclomethasone-17-monopropionate (17-BMP) to assess GR function in COPD lung macrophages, and investigated the transactivation of glucocorticoid sensitive genes and GR phosphorylation in addition to cytokine production. Lung macrophages were purified from surgically acquired lung tissue, from patients with COPD, smokers, and non-smokers. The transactivation of glucocorticoid sensitive genes (FKBP51 and GILZ) by 17-BMP were analysed by polymerase chain reaction. 17-BMP suppression of LPS-induced TNFα, IL-6 and CXCL8 was measured by ELISA and GR phosphorylation was measured by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. 17-BMP reduced cytokine release in a concentration dependent manner, with >70% inhibition of all cytokines, and no difference between COPD patients and controls. Similarly, the transactivation of FKBP51 and GILZ, and GR phosphorylation was similar between COPD patients and controls. In this context, GR function in COPD lung macrophages is unaltered. 17-BMP effectively suppresses cytokine production in COPD lung macrophages.
PMCID: PMC3660317  PMID: 23704983
20.  Diesel Exhaust Particle Exposure In Vitro Alters Monocyte Differentiation and Function 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51107.
Air pollution by diesel exhaust particles is associated with elevated mortality and increased hospital admissions in individuals with respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. During active inflammation monocytes are recruited to the airways and can replace resident alveolar macrophages. We therefore investigated whether chronic fourteen day exposure to low concentrations of diesel exhaust particles can alter the phenotype and function of monocytes from healthy individuals and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Monocytes were purified from the blood of healthy individuals and people with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Monocyte-derived macrophages were generated in the presence or absence of diesel exhaust particles and their phenotypes studied through investigation of their lifespan, cytokine generation in response to Toll like receptor agonists and heat killed bacteria, and expression of surface markers. Chronic fourteen day exposure of monocyte-derived macrophages to concentrations of diesel exhaust particles >10 µg/ml caused mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction, and a gradual loss of cells over time both in healthy and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease individuals. Chronic exposure to lower concentrations of diesel exhaust particles impaired CXCL8 cytokine responses to lipopolysaccharide and heat killed E. coli, and this phenotype was associated with a reduction in CD14 and CD11b expression. Chronic diesel exhaust particle exposure may therefore alter both numbers and function of lung macrophages differentiating from locally recruited monocytes in the lungs of healthy people and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
PMCID: PMC3517601  PMID: 23236439
21.  Effect of AeroChamber Plus™ on the lung and systemic bioavailability of beclometasone dipropionate/formoterol pMDI 
To assess the effect of AeroChamber Plus™ on lung deposition and systemic exposure to extra-fine beclometasone dipropionate (BDP)/formoterol (100/6 µg) pMDI (Foster®). The lung deposition of the components of the combination given with the pMDI was also evaluated using the charcoal block technique.
Twelve healthy male volunteers received four inhalations of extra-fine BDP/formoterol (100/6 µg) using (i) pMDI alone, (ii) pMDI and AeroChamber Plus™ and (iii) pMDI and charcoal ingestion.
Compared with pMDI alone, use of AeroChamber Plus™ increased the peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) of BDP (2822.3 ± 1449.9 vs. 5454.9 ± 3197.1 pg ml−1), its active metabolite beclometasone 17-monopropionate (17-BMP) (771.6 ± 288.7 vs. 1138.9 ± 495.6 pg ml−1) and formoterol (38.4 ± 17.8 vs. 54.7 ± 20.0 pg ml−1). For 17-BMP and formoterol, the AUC(0,30 min), indicative of lung deposition, was increased in the AeroChamber Plus™ group by 41% and 45%, respectively. This increase was mainly observed in subjects with inadequate inhalation technique. However, use of AeroChamber Plus™ did not increase the total systemic exposure to 17-BMP and formoterol. Results after ingestion of charcoal confirmed that AUC(0,30 min) can be taken as an index of lung bioavailability and that more than 30% of the inhaled dose of extra-fine BDP/formoterol 100/6 µg was delivered to the lung using the pMDI alone.
The use of AeroChamber Plus™ optimizes the delivery of BDP and formoterol to the lung in subjects with inadequate inhalation technique. The total systemic exposure was not increased, supporting the safety of extra-fine BDP/formoterol pMDI with AeroChamber Plus™.
PMCID: PMC3244640  PMID: 21615456
beclometasone 17-monopropionate; beclometasone dipropionate; extra-fine; fixed combination; formoterol; spacer
22.  Exhaled volatile organic compounds for phenotyping chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a cross-sectional study 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):72.
Non-invasive phenotyping of chronic respiratory diseases would be highly beneficial in the personalised medicine of the future. Volatile organic compounds can be measured in the exhaled breath and may be produced or altered by disease processes. We investigated whether distinct patterns of these compounds were present in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and clinically relevant disease phenotypes.
Breath samples from 39 COPD subjects and 32 healthy controls were collected and analysed using gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Subjects with COPD also underwent sputum induction. Discriminatory compounds were identified by univariate logistic regression followed by multivariate analysis: 1. principal component analysis; 2. multivariate logistic regression; 3. receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.
Comparing COPD versus healthy controls, principal component analysis clustered the 20 best-discriminating compounds into four components explaining 71% of the variance. Multivariate logistic regression constructed an optimised model using two components with an accuracy of 69%. The model had 85% sensitivity, 50% specificity and ROC area under the curve of 0.74. Analysis of COPD subgroups showed the method could classify COPD subjects with far greater accuracy. Models were constructed which classified subjects with ≥2% sputum eosinophilia with ROC area under the curve of 0.94 and those having frequent exacerbations 0.95. Potential biomarkers correlated to clinical variables were identified in each subgroup.
The exhaled breath volatile organic compound profile discriminated between COPD and healthy controls and identified clinically relevant COPD subgroups. If these findings are validated in prospective cohorts, they may have diagnostic and management value in this disease.
PMCID: PMC3514190  PMID: 22916684
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Biomarkers; Breath tests; Metabolomics
23.  Once-daily NVA237 improves exercise tolerance from the first dose in patients with COPD: the GLOW3 trial 
Exercise limitation, dynamic hyperinflation, and exertional dyspnea are key features of symptomatic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We assessed the effects of glycopyrronium bromide (NVA237), a once-daily, long-acting muscarinic antagonist, on exercise tolerance in patients with moderate to severe COPD.
Patients were randomized to a cross-over design of once-daily NVA237 50 μg or placebo for 3 weeks, with a 14-day washout. Exercise endurance, inspiratory capacity (IC) during exercise, IC and expiratory volumes from spirometry, plethysmographic lung volumes, leg discomfort and dyspnea under exercise (Borg scales), and transition dyspnea index were measured on Days 1 and 21 of treatment. The primary endpoint was endurance time during a submaximal constant-load cycle ergometry test on Day 21.
A total of 108 patients were randomized to different treatment groups (mean age, 60.5 years; mean post-bronchodilator, forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] 57.1% predicted). Ninety-five patients completed the study. On Day 21, a 21% difference in endurance time was observed between patients treated with NVA237 and those treated with placebo (P < 0.001); the effect was also significant from Day 1, with an increase of 10%. Dynamic IC at exercise isotime and trough FEV1 showed significant and clinically relevant improvements from Day 1 of treatment that were maintained throughout the study. This was accompanied by inverse decreases in residual volume and functional residual capacity. NVA237 was superior to placebo (P < 0.05) in decreasing leg discomfort (Borg CR10 scale) on Day 21 and exertional dyspnea on Days 1 and 21 (transition dyspnea index and Borg CR10 scale at isotime). The safety profile of NVA237 was similar to that of the placebo.
NVA237 50 μg once daily produced immediate and significant improvement in exercise tolerance from Day 1. This was accompanied by sustained reductions in lung hyperinflation (indicated by sustained and significant improvements in IC at isotime), and meaningful improvements in trough FEV1 and dyspnea. Improvements in exercise endurance increased over time, suggesting that mechanisms beyond improved lung function may be involved in enhanced exercise tolerance. ( Identifier: NCT01154127).
PMCID: PMC3430121  PMID: 22973092
COPD; dyspnea; FEV1; exercise tolerance; LAMA; NVA237
24.  T lymphocyte insensitivity to corticosteroids in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):20.
There are increased numbers of activated lymphocytes in the lungs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. The clinical benefits of corticosteroids in COPD patients are limited. Our hypothesis is that lymphocytes play a role in this corticosteroid insensitivity.
To investigate the effects of the corticosteroid dexamethasone on lung lymphocyte cytokine production from patients with COPD compared to controls.
Cultured airway lymphocytes obtained by bronchoscopy from healthy non-smokers (HNS), smokers (S) and COPD patients were stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) & phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), +/- dexamethasone. Supernatants were assayed for interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon (IFN)γ. Immunofluoresence was used to analyse changes in CD8 glucocorticoid receptor (GRα and GRβ) expression.
The inhibition of PHA/PMA stimulated IFNγ production by dexamethasone was reduced in COPD patients compared to HNS (p < 0.05 at concentrations from 0.1-1 μM). There was also a significant reduction (p < 0.05) in the mean inhibitory effect at 1 μM in COPD patients (54.1%) compared to smokers (72.1%), and in smokers compared to HNS (85.5%). There was a numerically reduced effect of dexamethasone on IL-2 production that did not reach statistical significance. There was no difference in GRα and GRβ expression in follicular CD8 cells between COPD patients (50.9% and 30.4% respectively) and smokers (52.9% and 29.7% respectively).
IFNγ production from COPD airway lymphocytes is corticosteroid insensitive. This phenomenon may be important in the poor clinical response often observed with corticosteroids.
PMCID: PMC3320534  PMID: 22417244
COPD; Lymphocytes; Corticosteriods
25.  Loss of Glucocorticoid Receptor Expression by DNA Methylation Prevents Glucocorticoid Induced Apoptosis in Human Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e24839.
Human small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is highly aggressive, and quickly develops resistance to therapy. SCLC cells are typically insensitive to glucocorticoids due to impaired glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression. This is important as we have previously shown that expression of a GR transgene induces cell death in-vitro, and inhibits tumor growth in-vivo. However, the underlying mechanism for loss of GR expression is unknown. The SCLC cell line, DMS79, has low GR expression, compared to non-SCLC cell lines and normal bronchial epithelial cells. Retroviral GR expression in DMS79 cells caused activation of the apoptotic pathway as evidenced by marked induction of caspase-3 activity. Methylation analysis of the GR promoter revealed some methylation in the 1D, and 1E promoters of the GR gene, however the ubiquitous constitutively active 1C promoter was heavily methylated. In the 1C promoter there was a highly significant increase in DNA methylation in a panel of 14 human SCLC cell lines compared to a mixed panel of GR expressing, and non-expressing cell lines, and to peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Furthermore, within the panel of SCLC cell lines there was a significant negative correlation seen between methylation of the 1C promoter, and GR protein expression. Reversal of GR gene methylation with DNA methyltransferase inhibition caused increased GR mRNA and protein expression in SCLC but not non-SCLC cells. This resulted in increased Gc sensitivity, decreased Bcl-2 expression and increased caspase-3 activity in SCLC cells. These data suggest that DNA methylation decreases GR gene expression in human SCLC cells, in a similar manner to that for conventional tumor suppressor genes.
PMCID: PMC3184945  PMID: 21984896

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