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1.  Antibiotic Treatment of Severe Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease with Procalcitonin: A Randomized Noninferiority Trial 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0118241.
The duration of antibiotic treatment of exacerbations of COPD (ECOPD) is controversial. Serum procalcitonin (PCT) is a biomarker of bacterial infection used to identify the cause of ECOPD.
Methods and Findings
We investigated whether a PCT-guided plan would allow a shorter duration of antibiotic treatment in patients with severe ECOPD. For this multicenter, randomized, non-inferiority trial, we enrolled 184 patients hospitalized with ECOPD from 18 hospitals in Italy. Patients were assigned to receive antibiotics for 10 days (standard group) or for either 3 or 10 days (PCT group). The primary outcome was the rate of ECOPD at 6 months. Having planned to recruit 400 patients, we randomized only 183: 93 in the PCT group and 90 in the standard group. Thus, the completed study was underpowered. The ECOPD rate at 6 months between PCT-guided and standard antibiotic treatment was not significant (% difference, 4.04; 90% confidence interval [CI], −7.23 to 15.31), but the CI included the non-inferiority margin of 15. In the PCT-guided group, about 50% of patients were treated for 3 days, and there was no difference in primary or secondary outcomes compared to patients treated for 10 days.
Although the primary and secondary clinical outcomes were no different for patients treated for 3 or 10 days in the PCT group, the conclusion that antibiotics can be safely stopped after 3 days in patients with low serum PCT cannot be substantiated statistically. Thus, the results of this study are inconclusive regarding the noninferiority of the PCT-guided plan compared to the standard antibiotic treatment. The study was funded by Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (AIFA-FARM58J2XH). Clinical trial registered with (NCT01125098).
Trial Registration NCT01125098
PMCID: PMC4356612  PMID: 25760346
2.  The Burden of Image Based Emphysema and Bronchiolitis in HIV-Infected Individuals on Antiretroviral Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109027.
With the widespread use of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), individuals infected with human immune deficiency virus (HIV) are increasingly experiencing morbidity and mortality from respiratory disorders. However, the prevalence or the risk factors associated with emphysema and bronchiolitis are largely unknown.
Thoracic computed tomography (CT) scans were performed in 1,446 patients infected with HIV who were on ART and who attended a tertiary care metabolic clinic (average age 48 years and 29% females). Detailed history and physical examination including anthropometric measurements were performed. Complete pulmonary function tests were performed in a subset of these patients (n = 364). No subjects were acutely ill with a respiratory condition at the time of CT scanning.
Nearly 50% of the subjects had CT evidence for emphysema, bronchiolitis or both with 13% (n = 195) showing bronchiolitis, 19% (n = 274) showing emphysema and 16% (n = 238) revealing both. These phenotypes were synergistically associated with reduced regular physical activity (p for interaction <.0001). The most significant risk factors for both phenotypes were cigarette smoking, intravenous drug use and peripheral leucocytosis. Together, the area-under-the curve statistics was 0.713 (p = 0.0037) for discriminating those with and without these phenotypes. There were no significant changes in lung volumes or flow rates related to these phenotypes, though the carbon monoxide diffusion capacity was reduced for the emphysema phenotype.
Emphysema and bronchiolitis are extremely common in HIV-infected patients who are treated with ART and can be identified by use of thoracic CT scanning.
PMCID: PMC4212912  PMID: 25354261
3.  Pulmonary Disease Caused by Mycobacterium marseillense, Italy 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(10):1769-1770.
PMCID: PMC4193172  PMID: 25271594
Mycobacterium marseillense; pulmonary disease; immunocompetent; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; Italy
5.  Asthma in the elderly: what we know and what we have yet to know 
In the past, asthma was considered mainly as a childhood disease. However, asthma is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly nowadays. In addition, the burden of asthma is more significant in the elderly than in their younger counterparts, particularly with regard to mortality, hospitalization, medical costs or health-related quality of life. Nevertheless, asthma in the elderly is still been underdiagnosed and undertreated. Therefore, it is an imperative task to recognize our current challenges and to set future directions. This project aims to review the current literature and identify unmet needs in the fields of research and practice for asthma in the elderly. This will enable us to find new research directions, propose new therapeutic strategies, and ultimately improve outcomes for elderly people with asthma. There are data to suggest that asthma in older adults is phenotypically different from young patients, with potential impact on the diagnosis, assessment and management in this population. The diagnosis of AIE in older populations relies on the same clinical findings and diagnostic tests used in younger populations, but the interpretation of the clinical data is more difficult. The challenge today is to encourage new research in AIE but to use the existing knowledge we have to make the diagnosis of AIE, educate the patient, develop a therapeutic approach to control the disease, and ultimately provide a better quality of life to our elderly patients.
PMCID: PMC4137434  PMID: 25152804
6.  Echocardiography, Spirometry, and Systemic Acute-Phase Inflammatory Proteins in Smokers with COPD or CHF: An Observational Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80166.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic heart failure (CHF) may coexist in elderly patients with a history of smoking. Low-grade systemic inflammation induced by smoking may represent the link between these 2 conditions. In this study, we investigated left ventricular dysfunction in patients primarily diagnosed with COPD, and nonreversible airflow limitation in patients primarily diagnosed with CHF. The levels of circulating high-sensitive C-reactive protein (Hs-CRP), pentraxin 3 (PTX3), interleukin-1β (IL-1 β), and soluble type II receptor of IL-1 (sIL-1RII) were also measured as markers of systemic inflammation in these 2 cohorts. Patients aged ≥50 years and with ≥10 pack years of cigarette smoking who presented with a diagnosis of stable COPD (n=70) or stable CHF (n=124) were recruited. All patients underwent echocardiography, N-terminal pro-hormone of brain natriuretic peptide measurements, and post-bronchodilator spirometry. Plasma levels of Hs-CRP, PTX3, IL-1 β, and sIL-1RII were determined by using a sandwich enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay in all patients and in 24 healthy smokers (control subjects). Although we were unable to find a single COPD patient with left ventricular dysfunction, we found nonreversible airflow limitation in 34% of patients with CHF. On the other hand, COPD patients had higher plasma levels of Hs-CRP, IL1 β, and sIL-1RII compared with CHF patients and control subjects (p < 0.05). None of the inflammatory biomarkers was different between CHF patients and control subjects. In conclusion, although the COPD patients had no evidence of CHF, up to one third of patients with CHF had airflow limitation, suggesting that routine spirometry is warranted in patients with CHF, whereas echocardiography is not required in well characterized patients with COPD. Only smokers with COPD seem to have evidence of systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3823838  PMID: 24244639
7.  Characterisation of exacerbation risk and exacerbator phenotypes in the POET-COPD trial 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):116.
Data examining the characteristics of patients with frequent exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and associated hospitalisations and mortality are scarce.
Post-hoc analysis of the Prevention Of Exacerbations with Tiotropium in COPD (POET-COPD) trial, targeting exacerbations as the primary endpoint. Patients were classified as non-, infrequent, and frequent exacerbators (0, 1, or ≥ 2 exacerbations during study treatment), irrespective of study treatment. A multivariate Cox regression model assessed the effect of covariates on time to first exacerbation.
In total, 7376 patients were included in the analysis: 63.5% non-exacerbators, 22.9% infrequent, 13.6% frequent exacerbators. Factors significantly associated with exacerbation risk were age, sex, body mass index, COPD duration and severity, smoking history, baseline inhaled corticosteroid use, and preceding antibiotic or systemic corticosteroid courses. Frequent exacerbators had greater severity and duration of COPD, received more pulmonary medication, and ≥ 2 systemic corticosteroid or antibiotic courses in the preceding year, and were more likely to be female and ex-smokers. The small proportion of frequent exacerbators (13.6%) accounted for 56.6% of exacerbation-related hospitalisations, which, overall, were associated with a three-fold increase in mortality.
The frequent exacerbator phenotype was closely associated with exacerbation-related hospitalisations, and exacerbation-related hospitalisations were associated with poorer survival.
Trial registration
NCT00563381; Study identifier: BI 205.389.
PMCID: PMC3833311  PMID: 24168767
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Exacerbations; Mortality; Hospitalisation; Tiotropium; Salmeterol; GOLD
8.  Step-down from high dose fixed combination therapy in asthma patients: a randomized controlled trial 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):54.
Asthma guidelines suggest that therapy can be reduced once asthma is controlled. Despite these recommendations, asthmatic patients are seldom stepped down in clinical practice, and questions remain about when and how to reduce asthma therapy. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate lung function and asthma control in patients who were stepped down from the highest recommended dose of inhaled corticosteroid/long acting β2 agonist combination therapy.
This was a prospective, randomised, controlled, two-arm parallel group study. Asthmatic patients who were fully controlled with a high daily dose (1000/100 μg) of fluticasone/salmeterol were randomly assigned to 6 months of open-label treatment with either 500/100 μg fluticasone/salmeterol Diskus daily or 400/24 μg extrafine beclomethasone/formoterol pMDI daily. The primary outcome was the change in morning peak expiratory flow (PEF) values between baseline and the end of treatment. The secondary outcomes included asthma control and exacerbation frequency.
Four hundred twenty-two patients were included in the analysis. The PEF values remained above 95% of the predicted values throughout the study. The end-study morning PEF rates showed equivalence between the groups (difference between means, 2.49 L/min; 95% CI, -13.43 to 18.42). No changes from baseline were detected in PEF and forced expiratory volume in 1 second measured at the clinics, in the symptom scores or in the use of rescue medication. Asthma control was maintained in 95.2% of the patients at 6 months. No significant differences between the groups were detected in any other parameter, including exacerbation frequency and adverse events.
Stepping down patients whose asthma is controlled with the highest recommended dose of fluticasone/salmeterol to either 500/100 μg fluticasone/salmeterol daily or 400/24 μg extra-fine beclomethasone/formoterol daily provides comparable maintenance of lung function and asthma control.
Trial registration NCT00497237
PMCID: PMC3431221  PMID: 22731754
Beclomethasone; Extrafine; Fluticasone; Formoterol; Salmeterol
9.  Does roflumilast decrease exacerbations in severe COPD patients not controlled by inhaled combination therapy? the REACT study protocol 
Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) continue to suffer exacerbations, even when treated with maximum recommended therapy (eg, inhaled combinations of long-acting β2-agonist and high dose inhaled corticosteroids, with or without a long-acting anticholinergic [long-acting muscarinic antagonist]). Roflumilast is approved to treat severe COPD in patients with chronic bronchitis – and a history of frequent exacerbations – as an add-on to bronchodilators.
The REACT (Roflumilast in the Prevention of COPD Exacerbations While Taking Appropriate Combination Treatment) study (identification number RO-2455-404-RD, clinicaltrials. gov identifier NCT01329029) will investigate whether roflumilast further reduces exacerbations when added to inhaled combination therapy in patients still suffering from frequent exacerbations.
Patients and methods
REACT is a 1-year randomized, double-blind, multicenter, phase III/IV study of roflumilast 500 μg once daily or placebo on top of a fixed long-acting β2-agonist/inhaled corticosteroid combination. A concomitant long-acting muscarinic antagonist will be allowed at stable doses. The primary outcome is the rate of moderate or severe COPD exacerbations. Using a Poisson regression model with a two-sided significance level of 5%, a sample size of 967 patients per treatment group is needed for 90% power. COPD patients with severe to very severe airflow limitation, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and at least two exacerbations in the previous year will be recruited.
It is hypothesized that because roflumilast (a phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor) has a different mode of action to bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids, it may provide additional benefits when added to these treatments in frequent exacerbators. REACT will be important to determine the role of roflumilast in COPD management. Here, the design and rationale for this important study is described.
PMCID: PMC3393336  PMID: 22791991
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; roflumilast; protocol; LABA; ICS; exacerbation
10.  Energy Expenditure at Rest and during Walking in Patients with Chronic Respiratory Failure: A Prospective Two-Phase Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23770.
Measurements of Energy Expenditure (EE) at rest (REE) and during physical activities are increasing in interest in chronic patients. In this study we aimed at evaluating the validity/reliability of the SenseWear®Armband (SWA) device in terms of REE and EE during assisted walking in Chronic Respiratory Failure (CRF) patients receiving long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT).
Methodology/Principal Findings
In a two-phase prospective protocol we studied 40 severe patients and 35 age-matched healthy controls. In phase-1 we determined the validity and repeatability of REE measured by SWA (REEa) in comparison with standard calorimetry (REEc). In phase-2 we then assessed EE and Metabolic Equivalents-METs by SWA during the 6-minute walking test while breathing oxygen in both assisted (Aid) or unassisted (No-Aid) modalities. When compared with REEc, REEa was slightly lower in patients (1351±169 vs 1413±194 kcal/day respectively, p<0.05), and less repeatable than in healthy controls (0.14 and 0.43 coefficient respectively). COPD patients with CRF patients reported a significant gain with Aid as compared with No-Aid modality in terms of meters walked, perceived symptoms and EE.
SWA provides a feasible and valid method to assess the energy expenditure in CRF patients on LTOT, and it shows that aided walking results in a substantial energy saving in this population.
PMCID: PMC3166086  PMID: 21909356
11.  Short term efficacy of nebulized beclomethasone in mild-to-moderate wheezing episodes in pre-school children 
Few data are available on the usefulness of short term treatment with low-medium dose of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in pre-school children with wheezing exacerbations.
To compare the efficacy of one week treatment with 400 μg b.i.d. nebulized beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP), plus nebulized 2500 μg prn salbutamol (BDP group), versus nebulized b.i.d. placebo, plus nebulized prn 2500 μg salbutamol (placebo group), a post-hoc analysis was performed on data obtained in 166 pre-school children with multiple-trigger wheezing, recruited during an acute wheezing episode.
The percentage of symptom-free days (SFDs) was significantly higher in the BDP group (54.7%) than in the placebo group (40.5%; p = 0.012), with a 35% relative difference. Day-by-day analysis showed that the percentage of SFDs was already higher in the BDP group after 2 days (7.4%), the difference reaching statistical significance at day 6 (12.3%; p = 0.035). Cough score was also reduced in the BDP group (0.11) as compared with the placebo group (0.39; p = 0.048), the difference reaching statistical significance after 5 days of treatment (0.18 and 0.47 respectively; p = 0.047). The mean number of nebulizations per day of prn salbutamol was lower in the BDP group as compared to the placebo group (0.26 and 0.34, respectively), but the difference was not significant (p = 0.366). There were no differences in positive effects of BDP treatment between children with and without risk factors for asthma.
A 1-week treatment with nebulized BDP and prn salbutamol is effective in increasing SFDs and improving cough in children with wheezing, providing a clinical rationale for the short term use of ICS in episodic wheeze exacerbations in pre-school children.
Trial Registration (NCT00497523)
PMCID: PMC3170583  PMID: 21859484
12.  Systems medicine and integrated care to combat chronic noncommunicable diseases 
Genome Medicine  2011;3(7):43.
We propose an innovative, integrated, cost-effective health system to combat major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular, chronic respiratory, metabolic, rheumatologic and neurologic disorders and cancers, which together are the predominant health problem of the 21st century. This proposed holistic strategy involves comprehensive patient-centered integrated care and multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-level systems approaches to tackle NCDs as a common group of diseases. Rather than studying each disease individually, it will take into account their intertwined gene-environment, socio-economic interactions and co-morbidities that lead to individual-specific complex phenotypes. It will implement a road map for predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory (P4) medicine based on a robust and extensive knowledge management infrastructure that contains individual patient information. It will be supported by strategic partnerships involving all stakeholders, including general practitioners associated with patient-centered care. This systems medicine strategy, which will take a holistic approach to disease, is designed to allow the results to be used globally, taking into account the needs and specificities of local economies and health systems.
PMCID: PMC3221551  PMID: 21745417
13.  Efficacy and safety of once-daily aclidinium in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):55.
The long-term efficacy and safety of aclidinium bromide, a novel, long-acting muscarinic antagonist, were investigated in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In two double-blind, 52-week studies, ACCLAIM/COPD I (n = 843) and II (n = 804), patients were randomised to inhaled aclidinium 200 μg or placebo once-daily. Patients were required to have a post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity ratio of ≤70% and FEV1 <80% of the predicted value. The primary endpoint was trough FEV1 at 12 and 28 weeks. Secondary endpoints were health status measured by St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and time to first moderate or severe COPD exacerbation.
At 12 and 28 weeks, aclidinium improved trough FEV1 versus placebo in ACCLAIM/COPD I (by 61 and 67 mL; both p < 0.001) and ACCLAIM/COPD II (by 63 and 59 mL; both p < 0.001). More patients had a SGRQ improvement ≥4 units at 52 weeks with aclidinium versus placebo in ACCLAIM/COPD I (48.1% versus 39.5%; p = 0.025) and ACCLAIM/COPD II (39.0% versus 32.8%; p = 0.074). The time to first exacerbation was significantly delayed by aclidinium in ACCLAIM/COPD II (hazard ratio [HR] 0.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.55 to 0.92; p = 0.01), but not ACCLAIM/COPD I (HR 1.0; 95% CI 0.72 to 1.33; p = 0.9). Adverse events were minor in both studies.
Aclidinium is effective and well tolerated in patients with moderate to severe COPD.
Trial registration NCT00363896 (ACCLAIM/COPD I) and NCT00358436 (ACCLAIM/COPD II).
PMCID: PMC3098801  PMID: 21518460
Aclidinium bromide; anticholinergic; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; long-acting muscarinic antagonist
14.  Long-acting beta-agonists in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: current and future agents 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):149.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by progressive airflow limitation and debilitating symptoms. For patients with moderate-to-severe COPD, long-acting bronchodilators are the mainstay of therapy; as symptoms progress, guidelines recommend combining bronchodilators from different classes to improve efficacy. Inhaled long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) have been licensed for the treatment of COPD since the late 1990s and include formoterol and salmeterol. They improve lung function, symptoms of breathlessness and exercise limitation, health-related quality of life, and may reduce the rate of exacerbations, although not all patients achieve clinically meaningful improvements in symptoms or health related quality of life. In addition, LABAs have an acceptable safety profile, and are not associated with an increased risk of respiratory mortality, although adverse effects such as palpitations and tremor may limit the dose that can be tolerated.
Formoterol and salmeterol have 12-hour durations of action; however, sustained bronchodilation is desirable in COPD. A LABA with a 24-hour duration of action could provide improvements in efficacy, compared with twice-daily LABAs, and the once-daily dosing regimen could help improve compliance. It is also desirable that a new LABA should demonstrate fast onset of action, and a safety profile at least comparable to existing LABAs.
A number of novel LABAs with once-daily profiles are in development which may be judged against these criteria. Indacaterol, a LABA with a 24-hour duration of bronchodilation and fast onset of action, is the most advanced of these. Preliminary results from large clinical trials suggest indacaterol improves lung function compared with placebo and other long-acting bronchodilators. Other LABAs with a 24-hour duration of bronchodilation include carmoterol, vilanterol trifenatate and oldaterol, with early results indicating potential for once-daily dosing in humans.
The introduction of once-daily LABAs also provides the opportunity to develop combination inhalers of two or more classes of once-daily long-acting bronchodilators, which may be advantageous for COPD patients through simplification of treatment regimens as well as improvements in efficacy. Once-daily LABAs used both alone and in combination with long-acting muscarinic antagonists represent a promising advance in the treatment of COPD, and are likely to further improve outcomes for patients.
PMCID: PMC2991288  PMID: 21034447
15.  Beclomethasone/formoterol fixed combination for the management of asthma: patient considerations 
Drugs for asthma and other chronic obstructive diseases of the lungs should be preferably delivered by the inhalation route to match therapeutic effects with low systemic exposure. Inhaled drugs are delivered to the lungs via different devices, mainly metered dose inhalers and dry powder inhalers, each characterized by specific inhaler technique and instructions for use. The patient–device interaction is part of the prescribed therapy and can have a relevant impact on adherence and clinical outcomes. The most suitable device should be considered for each patient to assure the correct drug intake and adherence to the prescribed therapy. The development of new drugs/devices in the past decades improved the compliance with inhaler and possibly drug delivery to the bronchi. The present review focuses on the recently developed beclomethasone/formoterol extrafine fixed combination and technical aspects of drug delivery to the lungs in patient’s perspective.
PMCID: PMC2621423  PMID: 19209268
beclomethasone; formoterol; modulite; extrafine
16.  Respiratory muscles training in COPD patients 
It is known that respiratory muscles undergo adaptation in response to overload stimuli during exercise training in stable COPD patients, thus resulting in significant increase of respiratory muscle function as well as the individual’s improvements. The present article reviews the most updated evidence with regard to the use of respiratory muscle training (RMT) methods in COPD patients. Basically, three types of RMT (resistive training, pressure threshold loading, and normocapnic hyperpnea) have been reported. Frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise must be carefully considered for a training effect. In contrast with the plentitude of existing data inherent to inspiratory muscle training (IMT), literature is still lacking in showing clinical and physiological studies related to expiratory muscle training (EMT). In particular, while it seems that IMT is slightly superior to EMT in providing additional benefits other than respiratory muscle function such as a reduction in dyspnea, both the effects and the safety of EMT is still to be definitively elucidated in patients with COPD.
PMCID: PMC2692111  PMID: 18044062
respiratory muscles; pulmonary hyperinflation; dyspnea
17.  Montelukast and fluticasone compared with salmeterol and fluticasone in protecting against asthma exacerbation in adults: one year, double blind, randomised, comparative trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;327(7420):891.
Objectives To assess the effect of montelukast versus salmeterol added to inhaled fluticasone propionate on asthma exacerbation in patients whose symptoms are inadequately controlled with fluticasone alone.
Design and setting A 52 week, two period, double blind, multicentre trial during which patients whose symptoms remained uncontrolled by inhaled corticosteroids were randomised to add montelukast or salmeterol.
Participants Patients (15-72 years; n = 1490) had a clinical history of chronic asthma for ≥ 1 year, a baseline forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) value 50-90% predicted, and a β agonist improvement of ≥ 12% in FEV1.
Main outcome measures The primary end point was the percentage of patients with at least one asthma exacerbation.
Results 20.1% of the patients in the group receiving montelukast and fluticasone had an asthma exacerbation compared with 19.1% in the group receiving salmeterol and fluticasone; the difference was 1% (95% confidence interval -3.1% to 5.0%). With a risk ratio (montelukast-fluticasone/salmeterol-fluticasone) of 1.05 (0.86 to 1.29), treatment with montelukast and fluticasone was shown to be non-inferior to treatment with salmeterol and fluticasone. Salmeterol and fluticasone significantly increased FEV1 before a β agonist was used and morning peak expiratory flow compared with montelukast and fluticasone (P ≤ 0.001), whereas FEV1 after a β agonist was used and improvements in asthma specific quality of life and nocturnal awakenings were similar between the groups. Montelukast and fluticasone significantly (P = 0.011) reduced peripheral blood eosinophil counts compared with salmeterol and fluticasone. Both treatments were generally well tolerated.
Conclusion The addition of montelukast in patients whose symptoms remain uncontrolled by inhaled fluticasone could provide equivalent clinical control to salmeterol.
PMCID: PMC218809  PMID: 14563743
18.  The C-C chemokine receptors CCR4 and CCR8 identify airway T cells of allergen-challenged atopic asthmatics 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2001;107(11):1357-1364.
In vitro polarized human Th2 cells preferentially express the chemokine receptors CCR3, CCR4, and CCR8 and migrate to their ligands: eotaxin, monocyte-derived chemokine (MDC), thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), and I-309. We have studied the expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors in the airway mucosa of atopic asthmatics. Immunofluorescent analysis of endobronchial biopsies from six asthmatics, taken 24 hours after allergen challenge, demonstrates that virtually all T cells express IL-4 and CCR4. CCR8 is coexpressed with CCR4 on 28% of the T cells, while CCR3 is expressed on eosinophils but not on T cells. Expression of the CCR4-specific ligands MDC and TARC is strongly upregulated on airway epithelial cells upon allergen challenge, suggesting an involvement of this receptor/ligand axis in the regulation of lymphocyte recruitment into the asthmatic bronchi. In contrast to asthma, T cells infiltrating the airways of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary sarcoidosis produce IFN-γ and express high levels of CXCR3, while lacking CCR4 and CCR8 expression. These data support the role of CCR4, of its ligands MDC and TARC, and of CCR8 in the pathogenesis of allergen-induced late asthmatic responses and suggest that these molecules could be considered as targets for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC209325  PMID: 11390417

Results 1-18 (18)