A common promoter polymorphism (rs35705950) in MUC5B, the gene encoding mucin 5B, is associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It is not known whether this polymorphism is associated with interstitial lung disease in the general population.
We performed a blinded assessment of interstitial lung abnormalities detected in 2633 participants in the Framingham Heart Study by means of volumetric chest computed tomography (CT). We evaluated the relationship between the abnormalities and the genotype at the rs35705950 locus.
Of the 2633 chest CT scans that were evaluated, interstitial lung abnormalities were present in 177 (7%). Participants with such abnormalities were more likely to have shortness of breath and chronic cough and reduced measures of total lung and diffusion capacity, as compared with participants without such abnormalities. After adjustment for covariates, for each copy of the minor rs35705950 allele, the odds of interstitial lung abnormalities were 2.8 times greater (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0 to 3.9; P<0.001), and the odds of definite CT evidence of pulmonary fibrosis were 6.3 times greater (95% CI, 3.1 to 12.7; P<0.001). Although the evidence of an association between the MUC5B genotype and interstitial lung abnormalities was greater among participants who were older than 50 years of age, a history of cigarette smoking did not appear to influence the association.
The MUC5B promoter polymorphism was found to be associated with interstitial lung disease in the general population. Although this association was more apparent in older persons, it did not appear to be influenced by cigarette smoking. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00005121.)
We present a probability model for lung airways in computed tomography (CT) images. Lung airways are tubular structures that display specific features, such as low intensity and proximity to vessels and bronchial walls. From these features, the posterior probability for the airway feature space was computed using a Bayesian model based on 20 CT images from subjects with different degrees of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The likelihood probability was modeled using both a Gaussian distribution and a nonparametric kernel density estimation method. After exhaustive feature selection, good specificity and sensitivity were achieved in a cross-validation study for both the Gaussian (0.83, 0.87) and the nonparametric method (0.79, 0.89). The model generalizes well when trained using images from a late stage COPD group. This probability model may facilitate airway extraction and quantitative assessment of lung diseases, which is useful in many clinical and research settings.
CT; lung; probability model; airway segmentation; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involves aberrant airway inflammatory responses to cigarette smoke (CS) that are associated with epithelial cell dysfunction, cilia shortening, and mucociliary clearance disruption. Exposure to CS reduced cilia length and induced autophagy in vivo and in differentiated mouse tracheal epithelial cells (MTECs). Autophagy-impaired (Becn1+/– or Map1lc3B–/–) mice and MTECs resisted CS-induced cilia shortening. Furthermore, CS increased the autophagic turnover of ciliary proteins, indicating that autophagy may regulate cilia homeostasis. We identified cytosolic deacetylase HDAC6 as a critical regulator of autophagy-mediated cilia shortening during CS exposure. Mice bearing an X chromosome deletion of Hdac6 (Hdac6–/Y) and MTECs from these mice had reduced autophagy and were protected from CS-induced cilia shortening. Autophagy-impaired Becn1–/–, Map1lc3B–/–, and Hdac6–/Y mice or mice injected with an HDAC6 inhibitor were protected from CS-induced mucociliary clearance (MCC) disruption. MCC was preserved in mice given the chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid, but was disrupted in mice lacking the transcription factor NRF2, suggesting that oxidative stress and altered proteostasis contribute to the disruption of MCC. Analysis of human COPD specimens revealed epigenetic deregulation of HDAC6 by hypomethylation and increased protein expression in the airways. We conclude that an autophagy-dependent pathway regulates cilia length during CS exposure and has potential as a therapeutic target for COPD.
Leukotrienes have been implicated in the pathogenesis of acute exacerbations of COPD, but leukotriene modifiers have not been studied as a possible therapy for exacerbations.
We sought to test the safety and efficacy of adding oral zileuton (a 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor) to usual treatment for acute exacerbations of COPD requiring hospitalization.
Randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study of zileuton 600 mg orally, 4 times daily versus placebo for 14 days starting within 12 hours of hospital admission for COPD exacerbation. Primary outcome measure was hospital length of stay; secondary outcomes included treatment failure and biomarkers of leukotriene production.
Sixty subjects were randomized to zileuton and 59 to placebo (the study was stopped short of enrollment goals because of slow recruitment). There was no difference in hospital length of stay (3.75±2.19 vs. 3.86±3.06 days for zileuton vs. placebo, p=0.39) or treatment failure (23% vs. 27% for zileuton vs. placebo, p=0.63) despite a decline in urinary LTE4 levels in the zileuton-treated group as compared to placebo at 24 hours (change in natural log-transformed ng/mg creatinine −1.38± 1.19 vs. 0.14±1.51, p<0.0001) and 72 hours (−1.32±2.08 vs. 0.26±1.93, p<0.006). Adverse events were similar in both groups.
While oral zileuton during COPD exacerbations that require hospital admission is safe and reduces urinary LTE4 levels, we found no evidence suggesting that this intervention shortened hospital stay, with the limitation that our sample size may have been insufficient to detect a modest but potentially meaningful clinical improvement.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD); Leukotrienes; Zileuton; Clinical trial
The Food and Drug Adminstration recently approved a diphtheria-conjugated pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for adults, although its long-term immunogenicity is unknown. We report that, in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, conjugate vaccination elicits a superior immune response to free-polysaccharide vaccine that persists for >2 years.
Background. Although the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against invasive disease in young healthy persons, randomized controlled trials in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have demonstrated no benefit in the intention-to-treat population. We previously reported that the 7-valent diphtheria-conjugated pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PCV7) is safe and induced greater serotype-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and functional antibody than did PPSV23 1 month after vaccination. We hypothesized that these advantages would persist at 1 and 2 years.
Methods. One hundred eighty-one patients with moderate to severe COPD were randomized to receive PPSV23 (n = 90) or PCV7 (1.0 mL; n = 91). We measured IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and assessed functional antibody activity by a standardized opsonophagocytosis assay, reported as a killing index (OPK). We determined differences in IgG and OPK between vaccine groups at 1 and 2 years.
Results. Relative to PPSV23, PCV7 induced greater OPK at both 1 and 2 years for 6 of 7 serotypes (not 19F). This response was statistically greater for 5 of 7 serotypes at 1 year and 4 of 7 at 2 years. Comparable differences in IgG were observed but were less often statistically significant. Despite meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for PPSV23 administration, almost 50% of individuals had never been vaccinated. No differences in the frequency of acute exacerbations, pneumonia, or hospitalization were observed.
Conclusions. PCV7 induces a greater functional antibody response than PPSV23 in patients with COPD that persists for 2 years after vaccination. This superior functional response supports testing of conjugate vaccination in studies examining clinical end points.
Clinical Trials Registration: NCT00457977.
The value of quantitative computed tomography (QCT) to identify chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) phenotypes is increasingly appreciated. We hypothesized that QCT-defined emphysema and airway abnormalities relate to St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and BODE.
1,200 COPDGene subjects meeting GOLD criteria for COPD with QCT analysis were included. Total lung emphysema was measured using density mask technique with a -950 HU threshold. An automated program measured mean wall thickness (WT), wall area percent (WA%) and pi10 in six segmental bronchi. Separate multivariate analyses examined the relative influence of airway measures and emphysema on SGRQ and BODE.
In separate models predicting SGRQ score, a one unit standard deviation (SD) increase in each airway measure predicted higher SGRQ scores (for WT, 1.90 points higher, p=0.002; for WA%, 1.52 points higher, p=0.02; for pi10, 2.83 points higher p<0.001). The comparable increase in SGRQ for a one unit SD increase in percent emphysema in these models was relatively weaker, significant only in the pi10 model (for percent emphysema, 1.45 points higher, p=0.01). In separate models predicting BODE, a one unit SD increase in each airway measure predicted higher BODE scores (for WT, 1.07 fold increase, p<0.001; for WA%, 1.20 fold increase, p<0.001; for pi10, 1.16 fold increase, p<0.001). In these models, emphysema more strongly influenced BODE (range 1.24-1.26 fold increase, p<0.001).
Emphysema and airway disease both relate to clinically important parameters. The relative influence of airway disease is greater for SGRQ; the relative influence of emphysema is greater for BODE.
Imaging; COPD; emphysema
Rationale and Objectives
There are limited data on, and controversies regarding gender differences in the airway dimensions of smokers. Multi-detector CT (MDCT) images were analyzed to examine whether gender could explain differences in airway dimensions of anatomically matched airways in smokers.
Materials and Methods
We used VIDA imaging software to analyze MDCT scans from 2047 smokers (M:F, 1021:1026) from the COPDGene® cohort. The airway dimensions were analyzed from segmental to subsubsegmental bronchi. We compared the differences of luminal area, inner diameter, wall thickness, wall area percentage (WA%) for each airway between men and women, and multiple linear regression including covariates (age, gender, body sizes, and other relevant confounding factors) was used to determine the predictors of each airway dimensions.
Lumen area, internal diameter and wall thickness were smaller for women than men in all measured airway (18.4 vs 22.5 mm2 for segmental bronchial lumen area, 10.4 vs 12.5 mm2 for subsegmental bronchi, 6.5 vs 7.7 mm2 for subsubsegmental bronchi, respectively p < 0.001). However, women had greater WA% in subsegmental and subsubsegmental bronchi. In multivariate regression, gender remained one of the most significant predictors of WA%, lumen area, inner diameter and wall thickness.
Women smokers have higher WA%, but lower luminal area, internal diameter and airway thickness in anatomically matched airways as measured by CT scan than do male smokers. This difference may explain, in part, gender differences in the prevalence of COPD and airflow limitation.
Airway dimensions; CT scan; Gender differences; Smoker
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with accelerated loss of lung function and death. Identification of patients at risk for these events, particularly those requiring hospitalization, is of major importance. Severe pulmonary hypertension is an important complication of advanced COPD and predicts acute exacerbations, though pulmonary vascular abnormalities also occur early in the course of the disease. We hypothesized that a computed tomographic (CT) metric of pulmonary vascular disease (pulmonary artery enlargement, as determined by a ratio of the diameter of the pulmonary artery to the diameter of the aorta [PA:A ratio] of >1) would be associated with severe COPD exacerbations.
We conducted a multicenter, observational trial that enrolled current and former smokers with COPD. We determined the association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history at enrollment of severe exacerbations requiring hospitalization and then examined the usefulness of the ratio as a predictor of these events in a longitudinal follow-up of this cohort, as well as in an external validation cohort. We used logistic-regression and zero-inflated negative binomial regression analyses and adjusted for known risk factors for exacerbation.
Multivariate logistic-regression analysis showed a significant association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history of severe exacerbations at the time of enrollment in the trial (odds ratio, 4.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.43 to 6.65; P<0.001). A PA:A ratio of more than 1 was also independently associated with an increased risk of future severe exacerbations in both the trial cohort (odds ratio, 3.44; 95% CI, 2.78 to 4.25; P<0.001) and the external validation cohort (odds ratio, 2.80; 95% CI, 2.11 to 3.71; P<0.001). In both cohorts, among all the variables analyzed, a PA:A ratio of more than 1 had the strongest association with severe exacerbations.
Pulmonary artery enlargement (a PA:A ratio of >1), as detected by CT, was associated with severe exacerbations of COPD. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00608764 and NCT00292552.)
Automatic aorta segmentation in thoracic computed tomography (CT) scans is important for aortic calcification quantification and to guide the segmentation of other central vessels. We propose an aorta segmentation algorithm consisting of an initial boundary detection step followed by 3D level set segmentation for refinement. Our algorithm exploits aortic cross-sectional circularity: we first detect aorta boundaries with a circular Hough transform on axial slices to detect ascending and descending aorta regions, and we apply the Hough transform on oblique slices to detect the aortic arch. The centers and radii of circles detected by Hough transform are fitted to smooth cubic spline functions using least-squares fitting. From these center and radius spline functions, we reconstruct an initial aorta surface using the Frenet frame. This reconstructed tubular surface is further refined with 3D level set evolutions. The level set framework we employ optimizes a functional that depends on both edge strength and smoothness terms and evolves the surface to the position of nearby edge location corresponding to the aorta wall. After aorta segmentation, we first detect the aortic calcifications with thresholding applied to the segmented aorta region. We then filter out the false positive regions due to nearby high intensity structures. We tested the algorithm on 45 CT scans and obtained a closest point mean error of 0.52 ± 0.10 mm between the manually and automatically segmented surfaces. The true positive detection rate of calcification algorithm was 0.96 over all CT scans.
We present a fully automatic computational vascular morphometry (CVM) approach for the clinical assessment of pulmonary vascular disease (PVD). The approach is based on the automatic extraction of the lung intraparenchymal vasculature using scale-space particles. Based on the detected features, we developed a set of image-based biomarkers for the assessment of the disease using the vessel radii estimation provided by the particle’s scale. The biomarkers are based on the interrelation between vessel cross-section area and blood volume. We validate our vascular extraction method using simulated data with different complexity and we present results in 2,500 CT scans with different degrees of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) severity. Results indicate that our CVM pipeline may track vascular remodeling present in COPD and it can be used in further clinical studies to assess the involvement of PVD in patient populations.
Scale-space; vessel segmentation; biomarkers; pulmonary vascular disease; COPD; CT
We present an image pipeline for airway phenotype extraction suitable for large-scale genetic and epidemiological studies including genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). We use scale-space particles to densely sample intraparenchymal airway locations in a large cohort of high-resolution CT scans. The particle methodology is based on a constrained energy minimization problem that results in a set of candidate airway points situated in both physical space and scale. Those points are further clustered using connected components filtering to increase their specificity. Finally, we use the particle locations to perform airway wall detection using an edge detector based on the zero-crossing of the second order derivative. Given the airway wall locations, we compute three phenotypes for airway disease: wall thickening (Pi10,WA%) and luminal remodeling (P%). We validate the airway extraction technique and present results in 2,500 scans for the association of the extracted phenotypes with clinical outcomes that will be deployed as part of the COPDGene study GWAS analysis.
Airway segmentation; Scale-space; phenotypes; COPD; CT
Gas trapping quantified on chest CT scans has been proposed as a surrogate for small airway disease in COPD. We sought to determine if measurements using paired inspiratory and expiratory CT scans may be better able to separate gas trapping due to emphysema from gas trapping due to small airway disease.
Smokers with and without COPD from the COPDGene Study underwent inspiratory and expiratory chest CT scans. Emphysema was quantified by the percent of lung with attenuation < −950HU on inspiratory CT. Four gas trapping measures were defined: (1) Exp−856, the percent of lung < −856HU on expiratory imaging; (2) E/I MLA, the ratio of expiratory to inspiratory mean lung attenuation; (3) RVC856-950, the difference between expiratory and inspiratory lung volumes with attenuation between −856 and −950 HU; and (4) Residuals from the regression of Exp−856 on percent emphysema.
In 8517 subjects with complete data, Exp−856 was highly correlated with emphysema. The measures based on paired inspiratory and expiratory CT scans were less strongly correlated with emphysema. Exp−856, E/I MLA and RVC856-950 were predictive of spirometry, exercise capacity and quality of life in all subjects and in subjects without emphysema. In subjects with severe emphysema, E/I MLA and RVC856-950 showed the highest correlations with clinical variables.
Quantitative measures based on paired inspiratory and expiratory chest CT scans can be used as markers of small airway disease in smokers with and without COPD, but this will require that future studies acquire both inspiratory and expiratory CT scans.
Emphysema; Chest CT scan; Small airways; Lung function tests; Smoking
Measurements of lung function, including spirometry and body plethesmography, are easy to perform and are the current clinical standard for assessing disease severity. However, these lung functional techniques do not adequately explain the observed variability in clinical manifestations of disease and offer little insight into the relationship of lung structure and function. Lung imaging and the image based assessment of lung disease has matured to the extent that it is common for clinical, epidemiologic, and genetic investigation to have a component dedicated to image analysis. There are several exciting imaging modalities currently being used for the non-invasive study of lung anatomy and function. In this review we will focus on two of them, x-ray computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Following a brief introduction of each method we detail some of the most recent work being done to characterize smoking-related lung disease and the clinical applications of such knowledge.
Radiology and other Imaging; COPD; Asthma; Emphysema
Rationale: The relationship between interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) and exercise capacity has not been comprehensively evaluated.
Objectives: To assess the validity of the 6-minute walk test in subjects with ILA, and to examine the association between ILA and 6-minute walk distance (6MWD).
Methods: Spearman correlation coefficients were used to assess the strength of the relationships between 6MWD and relevant measures of dyspnea, health-related quality of life, and pulmonary function in a cohort of 2,416 people who smoke from the COPDGene study. Unadjusted and adjusted linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the strength of the association between ILA and 6MWD.
Measurements and Main Results: In all subjects, and in those with ILA, 6MWD in COPDGene was associated with relevant clinical and physiologic measures. The mean 6MWD in COPDGene subjects with ILA was 386 m (SD, 128 m), and 82% and 19% of subjects with ILA had 6MWDs less than or equal to 500 and 250 m, respectively. ILA was associated with a reduced 6MWD in univariate (−30 m; 95% confidence interval, −50 to −10; P = 0.004) and multivariate models (−19 m; 95% confidence interval, −33 to −5; P = 0.008). Compared with subjects without ILA, subjects with ILA had an 80% and 77% increase in their odds to have a walk distance limited to less than or equal to 500 and 250 m, respectively. Although these findings were dependent on ILA subtype, they were not limited to those with COPD.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that ILA is associated with measurable decrements in the 6MWD of people who smoke.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00608764).
six-minute walk distance; emphysema; interstitial lung disease; subclinical; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Rationale: The role of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) in the development or progression of interstitial lung disease (ILD) is controversial.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between statin use and ILD.
Methods: We used regression analyses to evaluate the association between statin use and interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) in a large cohort of smokers from COPDGene. Next, we evaluated the effect of statin pretreatment on bleomycin-induced fibrosis in mice and explored the mechanism behind these observations in vitro.
Measurements and Main Results: In COPDGene, 38% of subjects with ILA were taking statins compared with 27% of subjects without ILA. Statin use was positively associated in ILA (odds ratio, 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–2.50; P = 0.04) after adjustment for covariates including a history of high cholesterol or coronary artery disease. This association was modified by the hydrophilicity of statin and the age of the subject. Next, we demonstrate that statin administration aggravates lung injury and fibrosis in bleomycin-treated mice. Statin pretreatment enhances caspase-1–mediated immune responses in vivo and in vitro; the latter responses were abolished in bone marrow–derived macrophages isolated from Nlrp3−/− and Casp1−/− mice. Finally, we provide further insights by demonstrating that statins enhance NLRP3-inflammasome activation by increasing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation in macrophages.
Conclusions: Statin use is associated with ILA among smokers in the COPDGene study and enhances bleomycin-induced lung inflammation and fibrosis in the mouse through a mechanism involving enhanced NLRP3-inflammasome activation. Our findings suggest that statins may influence the susceptibility to, or progression of, ILD.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00608764).
statins; interstitial lung disease; pulmonary fibrosis; inflammasome; mitochondrial reactive oxygen species
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on T cells can modulate their responses, however, the extent and significance of TLR expression by lung T cells, NK cells, or NKT cells in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is unknown.
Lung tissue collected from clinically-indicated resections (n = 34) was used either: (a) to compare the expression of TLR1, TLR2, TLR2/1, TLR3, TLR4, TLR5, TLR6 and TLR9 on lung CD8+ T cells, CD4+ T cells, NK cells and NKT cells from smokers with or without COPD; or (b) to isolate CD8+ T cells for culture with anti-CD3ε without or with various TLR ligands. We measured protein expression of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-13, perforin, granzyme A, granzyme B, soluble FasL, CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL5, CCL11, and CXCL9 in supernatants.
All the lung subsets analyzed demonstrated low levels of specific TLR expression, but the percentage of CD8+ T cells expressing TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR6 and TLR2/1 was significantly increased in COPD subjects relative to those without COPD. In contrast, from the same subjects, only TLR2/1 and TLR2 on lung CD4+ T cells and CD8+ NKT cells, respectively, showed a significant increase in COPD and there was no difference in TLR expression on lung CD56+ NK cells. Production of the Tc1 cytokines IFN-γ and TNF-α by lung CD8+ T cells were significantly increased via co-stimulation by Pam3CSK4, a specific TLR2/1 ligand, but not by other agonists. Furthermore, this increase in cytokine production was specific to lung CD8+ T cells from patients with COPD as compared to lung CD8+ T cells from smokers without COPD.
These data suggest that as lung function worsens in COPD, the auto-aggressive behavior of lung CD8+ T cells could increase in response to microbial TLR ligands, specifically ligands against TLR2/1.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; CD8+ T cells; Toll-like receptors; Lung
In COPD patients, hyperinflation impairs cardiac function. We examined whether lung deflation improves oxygen pulse, a surrogate marker of stroke volume.
In 129 NETT patients with cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) and arterial blood gases (ABG substudy), hyperinflation was assessed with residual volume to total lung capacity ratio (RV/TLC), and cardiac function with oxygen pulse (O2 pulse=VO2/HR) at baseline and 6 months. Medical and surgical patients were divided into “deflators” and “non-deflators” based on change in RV/TLC from baseline (ΔRV/TLC). We defined deflation as the ΔRV/TLC experienced by 75% of surgical patients. We examined changes in O2 pulse at peak and similar (iso-work) exercise. Findings were validated in 718 patients who underwent CPET without ABGs.
In the ABG substudy, surgical and medical deflators improved their RV/TLC and peak O2 pulse (median ΔRV/TLC −18.0% vs. −9.3%, p=0.0003; median ΔO2 pulse 13.6% vs. 1.8%, p=0.12). Surgical deflators also improved iso-work O2 pulse (0.53 mL/beat, p=0.04 at 20 watts). In the validation cohort, surgical deflators experienced a greater improvement in peak O2 pulse than medical deflators (mean 18.9% vs. 1.1%). In surgical deflators improvements in O2 pulse at rest and during unloaded pedaling (0.32 mL/beat, p<0.0001 and 0.47 mL/beat, p<0.0001, respectively) corresponded with significant reductions in HR and improvements in VO2. On multivariate analysis, deflators were 88% more likely than non-deflators to have an improvement in O2 pulse (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.30–2.72, p=0.0008).
In COPD, decreased hyperinflation through lung volume reduction is associated with improved O2 pulse.
cardiac function; hyperinflation; lung volume reduction surgery; oxygen pulse
Rationale: The characterization of young adults who develop late-onset diseases may augment the detection of novel genes and promote new pathogenic insights.
Methods: We analyzed data from 2,500 individuals of African and European ancestry in the COPDGene Study. Subjects with severe, early-onset chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (n = 70, age < 55 yr, FEV1 < 50% predicted) were compared with older subjects with COPD (n = 306, age > 64 yr, FEV1 < 50% predicted).
Measurements and Main Results: Subjects with severe, early-onset COPD were predominantly females (66%), P = 0.0004. Proportionally, early-onset COPD was seen in 42% (25 of 59) of African Americans versus 14% (45 of 317) of non-Hispanic whites, P < 0.0001. Other risk factors included current smoking (56 vs. 17%, P < 0.0001) and self-report of asthma (39 vs. 25%, P = 0.008). Maternal smoking (70 vs. 44%, P = 0.0001) and maternal COPD (23 vs. 12%, P = 0.03) were reported more commonly in subjects with early-onset COPD. Multivariable regression analysis found association with African American race, odds ratio (OR), 7.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3–24; P = 0.0007); maternal COPD, OR, 4.7 (95% CI, 1.3–17; P = 0.02); female sex, OR, 3.1 (95% CI, 1.1–8.7; P = 0.03); and each pack-year of smoking, OR, 0.98 (95% CI, 0.96–1.0; P = 0.03).
Conclusions: These observations support the hypothesis that severe, early-onset COPD is prevalent in females and is influenced by maternal factors. Future genetic studies should evaluate (1) gene-by-sex interactions to address sex-specific genetic contributions and (2) gene-by-race interactions.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; female; African Americans
Severe hypoxemia is a major complication of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Long term oxygen therapy is beneficial in hypoxemic COPD patients. However, the clinical and radiographic predictors of hypoxemia and the use of oxygen therapy are not well described. This study aimed to find the correlates of resting hypoxemia and the pattern of oxygen use in moderate to severe COPD patients.
Subjects with GOLD stage II or higher COPD from the first 2500 COPDGene subjects were included in this analysis. All subjects were current or ex-smokers between ages 45 and 80. Severe resting hypoxemia was defined as room air oxygen saturation (SpO2) ≤ 88%. Use of supplemental oxygen therapy was determined by questionnaire.
Eighty-two of 1060 COPD subjects (7.7%) had severe resting hypoxemia. Twenty-one of the 82 (25.6%) were not using continuous supplemental oxygen. Female sex, higher BMI, lower FEV1, and enrollment in Denver were independent risk factors for hypoxemia; emphysema severity on quantitative chest CT scan did not predict hypoxemia. 132 of 971(13.6%) subjects without severe resting hypoxemia were using continuous supplemental oxygen. In non-hypoxemic oxygen users, Denver recruitment, higher BMI, lower FEV1, and more severe dyspnea were associated with the use of continuous oxygen.
A large number of COPD patients without severe hypoxemia were using supplemental oxygen therapy and the pattern of oxygen use was affected by factors other than resting SpO2 and emphysema severity. Longitudinal data will be required to reveal the effects of oxygen therapy in this subgroup.
Hypoxemia; long-term oxygen therapy; COPD; emphysema
Williams-Beuren Syndrome (WBS) is caused by a submicroscopic deletion on chromosome 7q11.23 that encompasses the entire elastin (ELN) gene. Elastin, a key component of elastic fibers within the lung, is progressively destroyed in emphysema. Defects in the elastin gene have been associated with increased susceptibility towards developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema in both humans and mice. We postulate that hemizygosity at the elastin gene locus may increase susceptibility towards the development of COPD and emphysema in subjects with WBS. We describe an adult subject with WBS who was a lifelong non-smoker and was found to have moderate emphysema. We also examined the pulmonary function of a separate cohort of adolescents and young adults with WBS. Although no significant spirometric abnormalities were identified, a significant proportion of subjects reported respiratory symptoms. Thus while significant obstructive disease does not appear to be common in relatively young adults with WBS, subclinical emphysema and lung disease may exist which possibly could worsen with advancing age. Further investigation may elucidate the pathogenesis of non-smoking related emphysema.
Elastin; emphysema; pulmonary function tests; Williams Syndrome
Rationale and Objectives
To evaluate the correlations of tracheal volume and collapsibility on inspiratory and end-expiratory computed tomography (CT) with lung volume and with lung function in smokers.
Materials and Methods
The institutional review board approved this study at each institution. 85 smokers (mean age 68, range 45–87 years; 40 females and 45 males) underwent pulmonary function tests and chest CT at full inspiration and end-expiration. On both scans, intrathoracic tracheal volume and lung volume were measured. Collapsibility of the trachea and the lung was expressed as expiratory/inspiratory (E/I) ratios of these volumes. Correlations of the tracheal measurements with the lung measurements and with lung function were evaluated by the linear regression analysis.
Tracheal volume showed moderate or strong, positive correlations with lung volume on both inspiratory (r=0.661, p<0.0001) and end-expiratory (r=0.749, p<0.0001) scans. The E/I ratio of tracheal volume showed a strong, positive correlation with the E/I ratio of lung volume (r=0.711, p<0.0001). A weak, negative correlation was found between the E/I ratio of tracheal volume and the ratio of forced expiratory volume in the first second to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) (r=−0.436, p<0.0001). Also, a weak, positive correlation was observed between the E/I ratio of tracheal volume and the ratio of residual volume to total lung capacity (RV/TLC) (r=0.253, p=0.02).
Tracheal volume and collapsibility, measured by inspiratory and end-expiratory CT scans, is related to lung volume and collapsibility. The highly collapsed trachea on end-expiratory CT does not indicate more severe airflow limitation or air-trapping in smokers.
Tracheal volume; lung volume; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; tracheomalacia
Acute exacerbations adversely affect patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Macrolide antibiotics benefit patients with a variety of inflammatory airway diseases.
We performed a randomized trial to determine whether azithromycin decreased the frequency of exacerbations in participants with COPD who had an increased risk of exacerbations but no hearing impairment, resting tachycardia, or apparent risk of prolongation of the corrected QT interval.
A total of 1577 subjects were screened; 1142 (72%) were randomly assigned to receive azithromycin, at a dose of 250 mg daily (570 participants), or placebo (572 participants) for 1 year in addition to their usual care. The rate of 1-year follow-up was 89% in the azithromycin group and 90% in the placebo group. The median time to the first exacerbation was 266 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 227 to 313) among participants receiving azithromycin, as compared with 174 days (95% CI, 143 to 215) among participants receiving placebo (P<0.001). The frequency of exacerbations was 1.48 exacerbations per patient-year in the azithromycin group, as compared with 1.83 per patient-year in the placebo group (P=0.01), and the hazard ratio for having an acute exacerbation of COPD per patient-year in the azithromycin group was 0.73 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.84; P<0.001). The scores on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (on a scale of 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating better functioning) improved more in the azithromycin group than in the placebo group (a mean [±SD] decrease of 2.8±12.8 vs. 0.6±11.4, P=0.004); the percentage of participants with more than the minimal clinically important difference of −4 units was 43% in the azithromycin group, as compared with 36% in the placebo group (P=0.03). Hearing decrements were more common in the azithromycin group than in the placebo group (25% vs. 20%, P=0.04).
Among selected subjects with COPD, azithromycin taken daily for 1 year, when added to usual treatment, decreased the frequency of exacerbations and improved quality of life but caused hearing decrements in a small percentage of subjects. Although this intervention could change microbial resistance patterns, the effect of this change is not known. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00325897.)
We formulate registration-based elastography in a probabilistic framework and apply it to study lung elasticity in the presence of emphysematous and fibrotic tissue. The elasticity calculations are based on a Finite Element discretization of a linear elastic biomechanical model. We marginalize over the boundary conditions (deformation) of the biomechanical model to determine the posterior distribution over elasticity parameters. Image similarity is included in the likelihood, an elastic prior is included to constrain the boundary conditions, while a Markov model is used to spatially smooth the inhomogeneous elasticity. We use a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) technique to characterize the posterior distribution over elasticity from which we extract the most probable elasticity as well as the uncertainty of this estimate. Even though registration-based lung elastography with inhomogeneous elasticity is challenging due the problem's highly underdetermined nature and the sparse image information available in lung CT, we show promising preliminary results on estimating lung elasticity contrast in the presence of emphysematous and fibrotic tissue.
Rationale and Objectives
The relationship between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and atherosclerosis has been suggested; this association may relate to systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, which can lead to alteration of small pulmonary vessels. The relationship between atherosclerosis and small pulmonary vessel alteration, however, has not been assessed in COPD patients. We tested the hypothesis that the severity of thoracic aortic calcification measured by computed tomography (CT) would be associated with the total cross-sectional area of small pulmonary vessels (CSA) on CT images.
Materials and Methods
The study was approved by the institutional review board and was HIPAA compliant. Informed consent was waived. For 51 COPD patients enrolled in the NHBLI Lung Tissue Research Consortium (LTRC), we calculated the percentage of total CSAs of less than 5 mm2 for the total lung area (%CSA<5). Thoracic aortic calcification, quantified by modified Agatston score, was measured. The correlations between thoracic aortic calcification score and %CSA<5, pulmonary function, and extent of emphysema were evaluated. Multiple linear regression analysis using aortic calcification score as the dependent outcome was also performed.
The %CSA<5 had a significant negative correlation with the thoracic aortic calcification score (r=−0.566, p<0.0001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed significant correlation between the aortic calcification score and %CSA<5 (p<0.0001) independent of age, pack-years, extent of emphysema, and FEV1%.
Atherosclerosis, assessed by aortic calcification, is associated with the small pulmonary vascular alteration in COPD. Systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction may cause the close relationship between atherosclerosis and small pulmonary vessel alteration.
chronic obstructive; systemic inflammation; pulmonary artery; atherosclerosis; computed tomography
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), characterized by airflow limitation, is a disorder with high phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Pulmonary emphysema is a major but variable component of COPD; familial data suggest that different components of COPD, such as emphysema, may be influenced by specific genetic factors.
Objectives: To identify genetic determinants of emphysema assessed through high-resolution chest computed tomography in individuals with COPD.
Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of emphysema determined from chest computed tomography scans with a total of 2,380 individuals with COPD in three independent cohorts of white individuals from (1) a cohort from Bergen, Norway, (2) the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE) Study, and (3) the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT). We tested single-nucleotide polymorphism associations with the presence or absence of emphysema determined by radiologist assessment in two of the three cohorts and a quantitative emphysema trait (percentage of lung voxels less than –950 Hounsfield units) in all three cohorts.
Measurements and Main Results: We identified association of a single-nucleotide polymorphism in BICD1 with the presence or absence of emphysema (P = 5.2 × 10−7 with at least mild emphysema vs. control subjects; P = 4.8 × 10−8 with moderate and more severe emphysema vs. control subjects).
Conclusions: Our study suggests that genetic variants in BICD1 are associated with qualitative emphysema in COPD. Variants in BICD1 are associated with length of telomeres, which suggests that a mechanism linked to accelerated aging may be involved in the pathogenesis of emphysema.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00292552).
emphysema; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; BICD1; single-nucleotide polymorphism