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1.  The PROactive innovative conceptual framework on physical activity 
The European Respiratory Journal  2014;44(5):1223-1233.
Although physical activity is considered an important therapeutic target in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), what “physical activity” means to COPD patients and how their perspective is best measured is poorly understood. We designed a conceptual framework, guiding the development and content validation of two patient reported outcome (PRO) instruments on physical activity (PROactive PRO instruments).
116 patients from four European countries with diverse demographics and COPD phenotypes participated in three consecutive qualitative studies (63% male, age mean±sd 66±9 years, 35% Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage III–IV). 23 interviews and eight focus groups (n = 54) identified the main themes and candidate items of the framework. 39 cognitive debriefings allowed the clarity of the items and instructions to be optimised.
Three themes emerged, i.e. impact of COPD on amount of physical activity, symptoms experienced during physical activity, and adaptations made to facilitate physical activity. The themes were similar irrespective of country, demographic or disease characteristics. Iterative rounds of appraisal and refinement of candidate items resulted in 30 items with a daily recall period and 34 items with a 7-day recall period.
For the first time, our approach provides comprehensive insight on physical activity from the COPD patients’ perspective. The PROactive PRO instruments’ content validity represents the pivotal basis for empirically based item reduction and validation.
Conceptual framework as basis of PROactive PRO instruments to assess physical activity from COPD patient perspective http://ow.ly/ytJoS
doi:10.1183/09031936.00004814
PMCID: PMC4216453  PMID: 25034563
2.  Genome-wide mRNA expression profiling in vastus lateralis of COPD patients with low and normal fat free mass index and healthy controls 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):1.
Background
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has significant systemic effects beyond the lungs amongst which muscle wasting is a prominent contributor to exercise limitation and an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality. The molecular mechanisms leading to skeletal muscle dysfunction/wasting are not fully understood and are likely to be multi-factorial. The need to develop therapeutic strategies aimed at improving skeletal muscle dysfunction/wasting requires a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for these abnormalities. Microarrays are powerful tools that allow the investigation of the expression of thousands of genes, virtually the whole genome, simultaneously. We aim at identifying genes and molecular pathways involved in skeletal muscle wasting in COPD.
Methods
We assessed and compared the vastus lateralis transcriptome of COPD patients with low fat free mass index (FFMI) as a surrogate of muscle mass (COPDL) (FEV1 30 ± 3.6%pred, FFMI 15 ± 0.2 Kg.m−2) with patients with COPD and normal FFMI (COPDN) (FEV1 44 ± 5.8%pred, FFMI 19 ± 0.5 Kg.m−2) and a group of age and sex matched healthy controls (C) (FEV1 95 ± 3.9%pred, FFMI 20 ± 0.8 Kg.m−2) using Agilent Human Whole Genome 4x44K microarrays. The altered expression of several of these genes was confirmed by real time TaqMan PCR. Protein levels of P21 were assessed by immunoblotting.
Results
A subset of 42 genes was differentially expressed in COPDL in comparison to both COPDN and C (PFP < 0.05; −1.5 ≥ FC ≥ 1.5). The altered expression of several of these genes was confirmed by real time TaqMan PCR and correlated with different functional and structural muscle parameters. Five of these genes (CDKN1A, GADD45A, PMP22, BEX2, CGREF1, CYR61), were associated with cell cycle arrest and growth regulation and had been previously identified in studies relating muscle wasting and ageing. Protein levels of CDKN1A, a recognized marker of premature ageing/cell cycle arrest, were also found to be increased in COPDL.
Conclusions
This study provides evidence of differentially expressed genes in peripheral muscle in COPD patients corresponding to relevant biological processes associated with skeletal muscle wasting and provides potential targets for future therapeutic interventions to prevent loss of muscle function and mass in COPD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0139-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0139-5
PMCID: PMC4333166  PMID: 25567521
COPD; Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction; Skeletal muscle wasting; Gene expression; Ageing
3.  Determinants and outcomes of physical activity in patients with COPD: a systematic review 
Thorax  2014;69(8):731-739.
Background
The relationship between physical activity, disease severity, health status and prognosis in patients with COPD has not been systematically assessed. Our aim was to identify and summarise studies assessing associations between physical activity and its determinants and/or outcomes in patients with COPD and to develop a conceptual model for physical activity in COPD.
Methods
We conducted a systematic search of four databases (Medline, Embase, CINAHL and Psychinfo) prior to November 2012. Teams of two reviewers independently selected articles, extracted data and used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) to assess quality of evidence.
Results
86 studies were included: 59 were focused on determinants, 23 on outcomes and 4 on both. Hyperinflation, exercise capacity, dyspnoea, previous exacerbations, gas exchange, systemic inflammation, quality of life and self-efficacy were consistently related to physical activity, but often based on cross-sectional studies and low-quality evidence. Results from studies of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments were inconsistent and the quality of evidence was low to very low. As outcomes, COPD exacerbations and mortality were consistently associated with low levels of physical activity based on moderate quality evidence. Physical activity was associated with other outcomes such as dyspnoea, health-related quality of life, exercise capacity and FEV1 but based on cross-sectional studies and low to very low quality evidence.
Conclusions
Physical activity level in COPD is consistently associated with mortality and exacerbations, but there is poor evidence about determinants of physical activity, including the impact of treatment.
doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204763
PMCID: PMC4112490  PMID: 24558112
COPD epidemiology; Exercise; COPD Exacerbations
4.  Improving physical activity in COPD: towards a new paradigm 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):115.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a debilitating disease affecting patients in daily life, both physically and emotionally. Symptoms such as dyspnea and muscle fatigue, lead to exercise intolerance, which, together with behavioral issues, trigger physical inactivity, a key feature of COPD. Physical inactivity is associated with adverse clinical outcomes, including hospitalization and all-cause mortality. Increasing activity levels is crucial for effective management strategies and could lead to improved long-term outcomes. In this review we summarize objective and subjective instruments for evaluating physical activity and focus on interventions such as pulmonary rehabilitation or bronchodilators aimed at increasing activity levels. To date, only limited evidence exists to support the effectiveness of these interventions. We suggest that a multimodal approach comprising pulmonary rehabilitation, pharmacotherapy, and counselling programs aimed at addressing emotional and behavioural aspects of COPD may be an effective way to increase physical activity and improve health status in the long term.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-115
PMCID: PMC4176094  PMID: 24229341
Physical activity; Bronchodilators; Pulmonary rehabilitation; COPD; Activity monitors
5.  Presence of IgG Anti-gp160/120 Antibodies Confers Higher HIV Capture Capacity to Erythrocytes from HIV-Positive Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45808.
Background
HIV binding has been demonstrated in erythrocytes from HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals. However, the presence of immunoglobulins G anti-HIV (IgG anti-HIV) in erythrocytes from HIV-positive individuals is still to be elucidated. Moreover, the capacity of erythrocytes from HIV-positive individuals to capture an additional amount of HIV has not been studied. Indeed, it is unknown if HIV binding to erythrocytes in HIV-positive persons could have consequences on the cell-free infectious virus available.
Methodology/Principal Findings
IgGs anti-HIV associated to erythrocytes were found in 77.3% (58/75) of the HIV-positive individuals studied and the IgGs anti-gp160 and anti-p24 were the most frequently found. We found a positive association between detectable plasma viral load (pVL) and presence of IgGs anti-HIV associated to erythrocyte (p<0.005), though the anti-p24/160 were present with or without detectable pVL. The HIV capture capacity was higher in erythrocytes from HIV-positive than HIV-negative individuals (p<0.0001). Furthermore, among the HIV-positive individuals the higher viral capture capacity was associated with the presence of anti-gp160/gp120 on erythrocytes. Moreover, the viral capture by erythrocytes was independent of pVL (rho = 0.022, p = 0.8817). Additionally, reduction of cell-free infectious virus and available viral load was observed in the presence of erythrocytes from HIV-positive individuals.
Conclusions/Significance
Results suggest that in HIV-positive individuals, erythrocytes are capable of capturing high amounts of HIV by the presence of IgGs anti-gp160/120 on their membranes and this may produce a reduction in the available free virus. Finally, the current measurement of pVL would underestimate the real viral quantity due to the HIV binding through specific antibodies to erythrocytes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045808
PMCID: PMC3458065  PMID: 23049866
6.  Validity of activity monitors in health and chronic disease: a systematic review 
The assessment of physical activity in healthy populations and in those with chronic diseases is challenging. The aim of this systematic review was to identify whether available activity monitors (AM) have been appropriately validated for use in assessing physical activity in these groups. Following a systematic literature search we found 134 papers meeting the inclusion criteria; 40 conducted in a field setting (validation against doubly labelled water), 86 in a laboratory setting (validation against a metabolic cart, metabolic chamber) and 8 in a field and laboratory setting. Correlation coefficients between AM outcomes and energy expenditure (EE) by the criterion method (doubly labelled water and metabolic cart/chamber) and percentage mean differences between EE estimation from the monitor and EE measurement by the criterion method were extracted. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed to pool the results across studies where possible. Types of devices were compared using meta-regression analyses. Most validation studies had been performed in healthy adults (n = 118), with few carried out in patients with chronic diseases (n = 16). For total EE, correlation coefficients were statistically significantly lower in uniaxial compared to multisensor devices. For active EE, correlations were slightly but not significantly lower in uniaxial compared to triaxial and multisensor devices. Uniaxial devices tended to underestimate TEE (−12.07 (95%CI; -18.28 to −5.85) %) compared to triaxial (−6.85 (95%CI; -18.20 to 4.49) %, p = 0.37) and were statistically significantly less accurate than multisensor devices (−3.64 (95%CI; -8.97 to 1.70) %, p<0.001). TEE was underestimated during slow walking speeds in 69% of the lab validation studies compared to 37%, 30% and 37% of the studies during intermediate, fast walking speed and running, respectively. The high level of heterogeneity in the validation studies is only partly explained by the type of activity monitor and the activity monitor outcome. Triaxial and multisensor devices tend to be more valid monitors. Since activity monitors are less accurate at slow walking speeds and information about validated activity monitors in chronic disease populations is lacking, proper validation studies in these populations are needed prior to their inclusion in clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-84
PMCID: PMC3464146  PMID: 22776399
Chronic diseases; Doubly labelled water; Indirect calorimetry; Activity monitoring; Physical activity; Validation study; Systematic review
7.  Validity of Six Activity Monitors in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Comparison with Indirect Calorimetry 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39198.
Reduced physical activity is an important feature of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Various activity monitors are available but their validity is poorly established. The aim was to evaluate the validity of six monitors in patients with COPD. We hypothesized triaxial monitors to be more valid compared to uniaxial monitors. Thirty-nine patients (age 68±7years, FEV1 54±18%predicted) performed a one-hour standardized activity protocol. Patients wore 6 monitors (Kenz Lifecorder (Kenz), Actiwatch, RT3, Actigraph GT3X (Actigraph), Dynaport MiniMod (MiniMod), and SenseWear Armband (SenseWear)) as well as a portable metabolic system (Oxycon Mobile). Validity was evaluated by correlation analysis between indirect calorimetry (VO2) and the monitor outputs: Metabolic Equivalent of Task [METs] (SenseWear, MiniMod), activity counts (Actiwatch), vector magnitude units (Actigraph, RT3) and arbitrary units (Kenz) over the whole protocol and slow versus fast walking. Minute-by-minute correlations were highest for the MiniMod (r = 0.82), Actigraph (r = 0.79), SenseWear (r = 0.73) and RT3 (r = 0.73). Over the whole protocol, the mean correlations were best for the SenseWear (r = 0.76), Kenz (r = 0.52), Actigraph (r = 0.49) and MiniMod (r = 0.45). The MiniMod (r = 0.94) and Actigraph (r = 0.88) performed better in detecting different walking speeds. The Dynaport MiniMod, Actigraph GT3X and SenseWear Armband (all triaxial monitors) are the most valid monitors during standardized physical activities. The Dynaport MiniMod and Actigraph GT3X discriminate best between different walking speeds.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039198
PMCID: PMC3380044  PMID: 22745715
8.  Analysis of HIV Type 1 BF Recombinant Sequences from South America Dates the Origin of CRF12_BF to a Recombination Event in the 1970s 
Abstract
HIV-1 epidemics in South America are believed to have originated in part from the subtype B epidemic initiated in the Caribbean/North America region. However, circulation of BF recombinants in similar proportions was extensively reported. Information currently shows that many BF recombinants share a recombination structure similar to that found in the CRF12_BF. In the present study, analyzing a set of 405 HIV sequences, we identified the most likely origin of the BF epidemic in an early event of recombination. We found that the subtype B epidemics in South America analyzed in the present study were initiated by a founder event that occurred in the early 1970s, a few years after the introduction of these strains in the Americas. Regarding the F/BF recombinant epidemics, by analyzing a subtype F genomic segment within the viral gene gag present in the majority of the BF recombinants, we found evidence of a geographic divergence very soon after the introduction of subtype F strains in South America. Moreover, through analysis of a subtype B segment present in all the CRF12_BF-like recombination structure, we estimated the circulation of the subtype B strain that gave rise to that recombinant structure around the same time period estimated for the introduction of subtype F strains. The HIV epidemics in South America were initiated in part through a founder event driven by subtype B strains coming from the previously established epidemic in the north of the continent. A second introduction driven by subtype F strains is likely to have encountered the incipient subtype B epidemic that soon after their arrival recombined with them, originating the BF epidemic in the region. These results may explain why in South America the majority of F sequences are found as BF recombinants.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0118
PMCID: PMC3131829  PMID: 20919926
9.  Structural and Functional Changes of Peripheral Muscles in Copd Patients 
Purpose of Review
The purpose of this review is to identify new advances in our understanding of skeletal muscle dysfunction in patients with COPD.
Recent findings
Recent studies have confirmed the relevance of muscle dysfunction as an independent prognosis factor in COPD. Animal studies have shed light on the molecular mechanisms governing skeletal muscle hypertrophy/atrophy. Recent evidence in patients with COPD highlighted the contribution of protein breakdown and mitochondrial dysfunction as pathogenic mechanisms leading to muscle dysfunction in these patients.
Summary
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a debilitating disease impacting negatively on health status and the functional capacity of patients. COPD goes beyond the lungs and incurs significant systemic effects among which muscle dysfunction/wasting in one of the most important. Muscle dysfunction is a prominent contributor to exercise limitation, healthcare utilization and an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality. Gaining more insight into the molecular mechanisms leading to muscle dysfunction/wasting is key for the development of new and tailored therapeutic strategies to tackle skeletal muscle dysfunction/wasting in COPD patients.
doi:10.1097/MCP.0b013e328336438d
PMCID: PMC2920417  PMID: 20071991
COPD; systemic effects; muscle dysfunction; muscle wasting
10.  The role of IREB2 and transforming growth factor beta-1 genetic variants in COPD: a replication case-control study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:24.
Background
Genetic factors are known to contribute to COPD susceptibility and these factors are not fully understood. Conflicting results have been reported for many genetic studies of candidate genes based on their role in the disease. Genome-wide association studies in combination with expression profiling have identified a number of new candidates including IREB2. A meta-analysis has implicated transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFbeta1) as a contributor to disease susceptibility.
Methods
We have examined previously reported associations in both genes in a collection of 1017 white COPD patients and 912 non-diseased smoking controls. Genotype information was obtained for seven SNPs in the IREB2 gene, and for four SNPs in the TGFbeta1 gene. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between COPD cases and controls, and odds ratios were calculated. The analysis was adjusted for age, sex, smoking and centre, including interactions of age, sex and smoking with centre.
Results
Our data replicate the association of IREB2 SNPs in association with COPD for SNP rs2568494, rs2656069 and rs12593229 with respective adjusted p-values of 0.0018, 0.0039 and 0.0053. No significant associations were identified for TGFbeta1.
Conclusions
These studies have therefore confirmed that the IREB2 locus is a contributor to COPD susceptibility and suggests a new pathway in COPD pathogenesis invoking iron homeostasis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-24
PMCID: PMC3047296  PMID: 21320324
11.  Presence of p24-Antigen Associated to Erythrocyte in HIV-Positive Individuals Even in Patients with Undetectable Plasma Viral Load 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14544.
Background
HIV adherence to erythrocytes has been demonstrated in vitro, and it has been suggested that erythrocytes may be carriers of the virus. However, the association between HIV particles or viral proteins and erythrocytes in HIV-infected individuals is still to be elucidated.
Methodology/Principal Findings
HIV-positive participants (n = 112) were classified into two groups according to values of three plasma viral loads (pVL) determined during the 12-month period prior to the study. The first group included 71 individuals with detectable pVL, whereas the second group included 41 individuals with undetectable pVL. Plasma viral load, erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen and p24-antigen in plasma were determined at the moment of the study. A total of 51 out of the 71 patients with detectable pVL showed erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen whereas 13 showed p24-antigen in plasma. Twenty-two out of the 51 patients with erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen showed pVL<10,000 copies/ml and undetectable p24-antigen in plasma. The data indicates that the amount of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen was not related to p24-antigen in plasma or pVL levels in this group. Among the 41 patients with prior undetectable pVL, eight presented detectable pVL and erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen at the moment of the study. The other 33 showed undetectable pVL and five of these presented erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen. A positive relationship was found between the presence of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen and the detectable pVL at the moment of the study (p<0.00001). Even more, in another series of assays, a detectable viral load associated to erythrocytes was determined and it was always accompanied by erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen detection.
Conclusions/Significance
This study demonstrates the presence of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen in HIV-infected individuals. Since erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen is not always related to pVL or p24-antigen in plasma, erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen showed viral expression not represented in plasma. Therefore, the determination of erythrocyte-associated p24-antigen may contribute to better understand the kinetics and/or evolution of HIV infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014544
PMCID: PMC3022626  PMID: 21267446
12.  Association of MMP - 12 polymorphisms with severe and very severe COPD: A case control study of MMPs - 1, 9 and 12 in a European population 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:7.
Background
Genetic factors play a role in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but are poorly understood. A number of candidate genes have been proposed on the basis of the pathogenesis of COPD. These include the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) genes which play a role in tissue remodelling and fit in with the protease - antiprotease imbalance theory for the cause of COPD. Previous genetic studies of MMPs in COPD have had inadequate coverage of the genes, and have reported conflicting associations of both single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and SNP haplotypes, plausibly due to under-powered studies.
Methods
To address these issues we genotyped 26 SNPs, providing comprehensive coverage of reported SNP variation, in MMPs- 1, 9 and 12 from 977 COPD patients and 876 non-diseased smokers of European descent and evaluated their association with disease singly and in haplotype combinations. We used logistic regression to adjust for age, gender, centre and smoking history.
Results
Haplotypes of two SNPs in MMP-12 (rs652438 and rs2276109), showed an association with severe/very severe disease, corresponding to GOLD Stages III and IV.
Conclusions
Those with the common A-A haplotype for these two SNPs were at greater risk of developing severe/very severe disease (p = 0.0039) while possession of the minor G variants at either SNP locus had a protective effect (adjusted odds ratio of 0.76; 95% CI 0.61 - 0.94). The A-A haplotype was also associated with significantly lower predicted FEV1 (42.62% versus 44.79%; p = 0.0129). This implicates haplotypes of MMP-12 as modifiers of disease severity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-7
PMCID: PMC2820470  PMID: 20078883

Results 1-12 (12)