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1.  Smokers with CT Detected Emphysema and No Airway Obstruction Have Decreased Plasma Levels of EGF, IL-15, IL-8 and IL-1ra 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60260.
Low-grade inflammation and emphysema have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. However, the systemic inflammatory response in patients with emphysema is still unknown.
To compare the plasma cytokine profiles in two groups of current or former smokers without airway obstruction: a control group of individuals without computed tomography (CT) detected emphysema vs. a study group of individuals with CT detected emphysema.
Subjects underwent a chest CT, spirometry, and determination of EGF, IL-15, IL-1ra, IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1β, TGFα, TNFα, and VEGF levels in plasma. Cytokine levels in each group were compared adjusting for confounding factors.
160 current smokers and former smokers without airway obstruction participated in the study: 80 without emphysema and 80 subjects with emphysema. Adjusted group comparisons revealed significant reductions in EGF (−0.317, p = 0.01), IL-15 (−0.21, p = 0.01), IL-8 (−0.180, p = 0.02) and IL-1ra (−0.220, p = 0.03) in subjects with emphysema and normal spirometry.
Current or former smokers expressing a well-defined disease characteristic such as emphysema, has a specific plasma cytokine profile. This includes a decrease of cytokines mainly implicated in activation of apoptosis or decrease of immunosurveillance. This information should be taken into account when evaluated patients with tobacco respiratory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3618450  PMID: 23577098
2.  Inflammatory and repair serum biomarker pattern. Association to clinical outcomes in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):71.
The relationship between serum biomarkers and clinical expressions of COPD is limited. We planned to further describe this association using markers of inflammation and injury and repair.
We studied lung function, comorbidities, exercise tolerance, BODE index, and quality of life in 253 COPD patients and recorded mortality over three years. Serum levels of Interleukins 6,8 and16, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF α) [inflammatory panel], vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) [injury and repair panel] and pulmonary and activation-regulated chemokine (PARC/CCL-18) and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1/CCL2) [chemoattractant panel] were measured. We related the pattern of the biomarker levels to minimal clinically important differences (MCID) using a novel visualization method [ObServed Clinical Association Results (OSCAR) plot].
Levels of the inflammatory markers IL-6, TNF α were higher and those of injury and repair lower (p < 0.01) with more advanced disease (GOLD 1 vs. 4). Using the OSCAR plot, we found that patients in the highest quartile of inflammatory and lowest quartile of injury and repair biomarkers level were more clinically compromised and had higher mortality (p < 0.05).
In COPD, serum biomarkers of inflammation and repair are distinctly associated with important clinical parameters and survival.
PMCID: PMC3493287  PMID: 22906131
Exercise; Inflammation; Phenotypes; Repair; Survival
3.  TNFA-863 polymorphism is associated with a reduced risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A replication study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:132.
TNF-α mediated inflammation is thought to play a key role in the respiratory and systemic features of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The aim of the present study was to replicate and extend recent findings in Taiwanese and Caucasian populations of associations between COPD susceptibility and variants of the TNFA gene in a Spanish cohort.
The 3 reported SNPs were complemented with nine tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of the TNFA and LTA genes and genotyped in 724 individuals (202 COPD patients, 90 smokers without COPD and 432 healthy controls). Pulmonary function parameters and serum inflammatory markers were also measured in COPD patients.
The TNFA rs1800630 (-863C/A) SNP was associated with a lower COPD susceptibility (ORadj = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.33-0.77, p = 0.001). The -863A allele was also associated with less severe forms of the disease (GOLD stages I and II) (ORadj = 0.303, 95%CI = 0.14-0.65, p = 0.014) and with lower scores of the BODE index (< 2) (ORadj = 0.40, 95%CI = 0.17-0.94, p = 0.037). Moreover, the -863A carrier genotype was associated with a better FEV1 percent predicted (p = 0.004) and a lower BODE index (p = 0.003) over a 2 yrs follow-up period. None of the TNFA or LTA gene variants correlated with the serum inflammatory markers in COPD patients (p > 0.05).
We replicated the previously reported association between the TNFA -863 SNP and COPD. TNFA -863A allele may confer a protective effect to the susceptibility to the disease in the Spanish population.
PMCID: PMC3209447  PMID: 21985478
4.  Gender Differences in Plasma Biomarker Levels in a Cohort of COPD Patients: A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16021.
Little is known about gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
There are differences in serum biomarker levels between women and men with COPD.
Explore gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with COPD and smokers without COPD.
We measured plasma levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-16, MCP-1, MMP-9, PARC and VEGF in 80 smokers without COPD (40 males, 40 females) and 152 stable COPD patients (76 males, 76 females) with similar airflow obstruction. We determined anthropometrics, smoking history, lung function, exercise tolerance, body composition, BODE index, co-morbidities and quality of life. We then explored associations between plasma biomarkers levels and the clinical characteristics of the patients and also with the clinical and physiological variables known to predict outcome in COPD.
The plasma biomarkers level explored were similar in men and women without COPD. In contrast, in patients with COPD the median value in pg/mL of IL-6 (6.26 vs 8.0, p = 0.03), IL-16 (390 vs 321, p = 0.009) and VEGF (50 vs 87, p = 0.02) differed between women and men. Adjusted for smoking history, gender was independently associated with IL-16, PARC and VEGF levels. There were also gender differences in the associations between IL-6, IL-16 and VEGF and physiologic variables that predict outcomes.
In stable COPD patients with similar airflow obstruction, there are gender differences in plasma biomarker levels and in the association between biomarker levels and important clinical or physiological variables. Further studies should confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC3022655  PMID: 21267454
5.  COPD heterogeneity: Gender differences in the multidimensional BODE index 
The BODE index was recently validated as a multidimensional tool for the evaluation of patients with COPD. The influence of gender on the BODE index has not been studied.
The contribution of each component of the disease to the BODE index may differ according to gender.
We evaluated age, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), Modified Medical Research Council (MMRC) score, 6-min walk distance (6MWD), and body mass index (BMI) in 52 men and 52 women with COPD and the same BODE index. We compared the studied parameters between men and women and then performed a multiple regression analysis by gender.
We found statistically significant differences between men and women in all parameters: FEV1 % (55 ± 17 vs 63 ± 18, p < 0.001), MMRC [1 (0–2) vs 1 (1–2) p = 0.03], BMI [28 (26–30) vs 25 (22–30), p = 0.05], and 6MWD [546 (451–592) vs 462 (419–520), p = 0.001]. Multiple regression analysis revealed that each component of the BODE index had different weight (β standardized coefficient) in men and women respectively: FEV1% (0.74 vs 0.62), MMRC (0.31 vs 0.48), BMI (−0.09 vs −0.17), and 6MWD (0.13 vs 0.10).
The contribution of each component to the BODE index differs by gender in subjects with similar BODE scores. Long term longitudinal studies will help determine the significance of our findings.
PMCID: PMC2695614  PMID: 18044687
Gender; COPD; BODE index
6.  Gender and respiratory factors associated with dyspnea in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):18.
We had shown that COPD women expressed more dyspnea than men for the same degree of airway obstruction.
Evaluate gender differences in respiratory factors associated with dyspnea in COPD patients.
In a FEV1 % matched population of 100 men and women with COPD we measured: age, MMRC, FEV1, FVC, TLC, IC/TLC, PaO2, PaCO2, DLCO, Pimax, P0.1, Ti/Ttot, BMI, ffmi, 6MWD and VAS scale before and after the test, the Charlson score and the SGRQ. We estimated the association between these parameters and MMRC scores. Multivariate analysis determined the independent strength of those associations.
MMRC correlated with: BMI (men:-0.29, p = 0.04; women:-0.28, p = 0.05), ffmi (men:-0.39, p = 0.01), FEV1 % (men:-0.64, p < 0.001; women:-0.29, p = 0.04), FVC % (men:-0.45, p = 0.001; women:-0.33, p = 0.02), IC/TLC (men:-0.52, p < 0.001; women: -0.27, p = 0.05), PaO2 (men:-0.59, p < 0.001), PaCO2 (men:0.27, p = 0.05), DLCO (men:-0.54, p < 0.001), P0.1/Pimax (men:0.46, p = 0.002; women:0.47, p = 0.005), dyspnea measured with the Visual Analog Scale before (men:0.37, p = 0.04; women:0.52, p = 0.004) and after 6MWD (men:0.52, p = 0.002; women:0.48, p = 0.004) and SGRQ total (men:0.50, p < 0.001; women:0.59, p < 0.001). Regression analysis showed that P0.1/Pimax in women (r2 = 0.30) and BMI, DLCO, PaO2 and P0.1/Pimax in men (r2 = 0.81) were the strongest predictors of MMRC scores.
In mild to severe COPD patients attending a pulmonary clinic, P0.1/Pimax was the unique predictor of MMRC scores only in women. Respiratory factors explain most of the variations of MMRC scores in men but not in women. Factors other than the respiratory ones should be included in the evaluation of dyspnea in women with COPD.
PMCID: PMC1821020  PMID: 17341300
7.  Gender associated differences in determinants of quality of life in patients with COPD: a case series study 
The influence of gender on the expression of COPD has received limited attention. Quality of Life (QoL) has become an important outcome in COPD patients. The aim of our study was to explore factors contributing to gender differences in Quality of Life of COPD patients.
In 146 men and women with COPD from a pulmonary clinic we measured: Saint George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), age, smoking history, PaO2, PaCO2, FEV1, FVC, IC/TLC, FRC, body mass index (BMI), 6 minute walk distance (6MWD), dyspnea (modified MRC), degree of comorbidity (Charlson index) and exacerbations in the previous year. We explored differences between genders using Mann-Whitney U-rank test. To investigate the main determinants of QoL, a multiple lineal regression analysis was performed using backward Wald's criteria, with those variables that significantly correlated with SGRQ total scores.
Compared with men, women had worse scores in all domains of the SGRQ (total 38 vs 26, p = 0.01, symptoms 48 vs 39, p = 0.03, activity 53 vs 37, p = 0.02, impact 28 vs 15, p = 0.01). SGRQ total scores correlated in men with: FEV1% (-0.378, p < 0.001), IC/TLC (-0.368, p = 0.002), PaO2 (-0.379, p = 0.001), PaCO2 (0.256, p = 0.05), 6MWD (-0.327, p = 0.005), exacerbations (0.366, p = 0.001), Charlson index (0.380, p = 0.001) and MMRC (0.654, p < 0.001). In women, the scores correlated only with FEV1% (-0.293, p = 0.013) PaO2 (-0.315, p = 0.007), exacerbations (0.290, p = 0.013) and MMRC (0.628, p < 0.001). Regression analysis (B, 95% CI) showed that exercise capacity (0.05, 0.02 to 0.09), dyspnea (17.6, 13.4 to 21.8), IC/TLC (-51.1, -98.9 to -3.2) and comorbidity (1.7, 0.84 to 2.53) for men and dyspnea (9.7, 7.3 to 12.4) and oxygenation (-0.3, -0.6 to -0.01) for women manifested the highest independent associations with SGRQ scores.
In moderate to severe COPD patients attending a pulmonary clinic, there are gender differences in health status scores. In turn, the clinical and physiological variables independently associated with those scores differed in men and women. Attention should be paid to the determinants of QoL scores in women with COPD.
PMCID: PMC1592076  PMID: 17007639
8.  Smoking and Health-Related Quality of Life in the General Population. Independent Relationships and Large Differences According to Patterns and Quantity of Smoking and to Gender 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91562.
Relationships between smoking and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the general population remain unclear.
To quantify the independent associations between smoking patterns and HRQoL and to identify any threshold or non-linear tendencies in these associations.
A national representative, cross-sectional household survey of the French general non institutionalized population included 7525 men and 8486 women, aged 25–64 year in 2003. Scores on the eight subscales of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form were the primary outcomes. Linear regression analyses were used to evaluate the associations between HRQoL and smoking history, quantity of smoking and smoking cessation while controlling for various socio-economic variables, depression, alcohol dependence and pathological conditions. Analyses were conducted in 2013.
Independent associations between smoking and HRQoL were found, including small positive associations for occasional or light smoking (up to 5 cigarettes per day), and larger and diffuse negative associations above this threshold. Much weaker associations and higher thresholds for negative HRQoL were found for women than for men. For ex-smokers of both genders, HRQoL was found to be better between 2 and 5 years after quitting.
Smoking was independently related to HRQoL, with large differences according to the pattern and quantity of smoking, and to gender. These results may have considerable relevance both for public health action and care of smokers.
PMCID: PMC3956698  PMID: 24637739
9.  Finding the Best Thresholds of FEV1 and Dyspnea to Predict 5-Year Survival in COPD Patients: The COCOMICS Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89866.
FEV1 is universally used as a measure of severity in COPD. Current thresholds are based on expert opinion and not on evidence.
We aimed to identify the best FEV1 (% predicted) and dyspnea (mMRC) thresholds to predict 5-yr survival in COPD patients.
Design and Methods
We conducted a patient-based pooled analysis of eleven COPD Spanish cohorts (COCOMICS). Survival analysis, ROC curves, and C-statistics were used to identify and compare the best FEV1 (%) and mMRC scale thresholds that predict 5-yr survival.
A total of 3,633 patients (93% men), totaling 15,878 person-yrs. were included, with a mean age 66.4±9.7, and predicted FEV1 of 53.8% (±19.4%). Overall 975 (28.1%) patients died at 5 years. The best thresholds that spirometrically split the COPD population were: mild ≥70%, moderate 56–69%, severe 36–55%, and very severe ≤35%. Survival at 5 years was 0.89 for patients with FEV1≥70 vs. 0.46 in patients with FEV1 ≤35% (H.R: 6; 95% C.I.: 4.69–7.74). The new classification predicts mortality significantly better than dyspnea (mMRC) or FEV1 GOLD and BODE cutoffs (all p<0.001). Prognostic reliability is maintained at 1, 3, 5, and 10 years. In younger patients, survival was similar for FEV1 (%) values between 70% and 100%, whereas in the elderly the relationship between FEV1 (%) and mortality was inversely linear.
The best thresholds for 5-yr survival were obtained stratifying FEV1 (%) by ≥70%, 56–69%, 36–55%, and ≤35%. These cutoffs significantly better predict mortality than mMRC or FEV1 (%) GOLD and BODE cutoffs.
PMCID: PMC3937394  PMID: 24587085
10.  New GOLD classification: longitudinal data on group assignment 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):3.
Little is known about the longitudinal changes associated with using the 2013 update of the multidimensional GOLD strategy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To determine the COPD patient distribution of the new GOLD proposal and evaluate how this classification changes over one year compared with the previous GOLD staging based on spirometry only.
We analyzed data from the CHAIN study, a multicenter observational Spanish cohort of COPD patients who are monitored annually. Categories were defined according to the proposed GOLD: FEV1%, mMRC dyspnea, COPD Assessment Test (CAT), Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ), and exacerbations-hospitalizations. One-year follow-up information was available for all variables except CCQ data.
At baseline, 828 stable COPD patients were evaluated. On the basis of mMRC dyspnea versus CAT, the patients were distributed as follows: 38.2% vs. 27.2% in group A, 17.6% vs. 28.3% in group B, 15.8% vs. 12.9% in group C, and 28.4% vs. 31.6% in group D. Information was available for 526 patients at one year: 64.2% of patients remained in the same group but groups C and D show different degrees of variability. The annual progression by group was mainly associated with one-year changes in CAT scores (RR, 1.138; 95%CI: 1.074-1.206) and BODE index values (RR, 2.012; 95%CI: 1.487-2.722).
In the new GOLD grading classification, the type of tool used to determine the level of symptoms can substantially alter the group assignment. A change in category after one year was associated with longitudinal changes in the CAT and BODE index.
PMCID: PMC3900265  PMID: 24417879
COPD; GOLD; Longitudinal
11.  Prevalence and Burden of Breathlessness in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Managed in Primary Care 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85540.
Background & Aims
Breathlessness is a primary clinical feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We aimed to describe the frequency of and factors associated with breathlessness in a cohort of COPD patients identified from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), a general practice electronic medical records database.
Patients with a record of COPD diagnosis after January 1 2008 were identified in the CPRD. Breathlessness was assessed using the Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnoea scale, with scoring ranging from 1–5, which has been routinely administered as a part of the regular assessment of patients with COPD in the general practice since April 2009. Stepwise multivariate logistic regression estimated independent associations with dyspnoea. Negative binomial regression evaluated a relationship between breathlessness and exacerbation rate during follow-up.
The total cohort comprised 49,438 patients diagnosed with COPD; 40,425 (82%) had any MRC dyspnoea grade recorded. Of those, 22,770 (46%) had moderate-to-severe dyspnoea (MRC≥3). Breathlessness increased with increasing airflow limitation; however, moderate-to-severe dyspnoea was also observed in 32% of patients with mild airflow obstruction. Other factors associated with increased dyspnoea grade included female gender, older age (≥70 years), obesity (BMI ≥30), history of moderate-to-severe COPD exacerbations, and frequent visits to the general practitioner. Patients with worse breathlessness were at higher risk of COPD exacerbations during follow-up.
Moderate-to-severe dyspnoea was reported by >40% of patients diagnosed with COPD in primary care. Presence of dyspnoea, including even a perception of mild dyspnoea (MRC = 2), was associated with increased disease severity and a higher risk of COPD exacerbations during follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3888425  PMID: 24427316
12.  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) During the Two Last Years of Life – A Retrospective Study of Decedents 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84110.
Little is known about the management of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during the last years of life. The aim of the study was to describe how management of COPD is performed in Sweden during the last two years of life.
From the nationwide Cause of Death register all individuals with COPD as the underlying cause of death during two years were identified in one sparsely and one densely populated area of Sweden. Data were collected from medical records using a pre-defined protocol, especially developed for this purpose.
Of 822 individuals with COPD as underlying cause of death, medical records from 729 were available. The COPD diagnosis was based on lung function measurements in approximately half of the patients and median age at COPD diagnosis was 74 years (range 34-95). Women died at younger age, median 78 years (range 52-96) than did men (80 years (51-99)). The median survival time from diagnosis to death was 6 years in men and women in both areas. Among women and men 8.3% and 4.3% were never smokers, respectively. The structure of COPD management differed between the two areas, with utilization of physiotherapists, dieticians and working therapists being more used in the northern area, likely because of differences in accessibility to care institutions.
In Sweden COPD is mostly diagnosed late in life and often not verified by lung function measurements. Opposite to the general population, women with COPD die at a lower age than men.
PMCID: PMC3868592  PMID: 24367631
13.  Overtreatment of COPD with Inhaled Corticosteroids - Implications for Safety and Costs: Cross-Sectional Observational Study  
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75221.
Combined inhaled long-acting beta-agonists and corticosteroids (LABA+ICS) are costly. They are recommended in severe or very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They should not be prescribed in mild or moderate disease. In COPD ICS are associated with side-effects including risk of pneumonia. We quantified appropriateness of prescribing and examined the risks and costs associated with overuse.
Data were extracted from the electronic and paper records of 41 London general practices (population 310,775) including spirometry, medications and exacerbations. We classified severity, assessed appropriateness of prescribing using the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines for 2009, and performed a sensitivity analysis using the broader recommendations of the 2011 revision.
3537 patients had a diagnosis of COPD. Spirometry was recorded for 2458(69%). 709(29%) did not meet GOLD criteria. 1749(49%) with confirmed COPD were analysed: 8.6% under-treated, 38% over-treated. Over-prescription of ICS in GOLD stage I or II (n=403, 38%) and in GOLD III or IV without exacerbations (n=231, 33.6%) was common. An estimated 12 cases (95%CI 7-19) annually of serious pneumonia were likely among 897 inappropriately treated. 535 cases of overtreatment involved LABA+ICS with a mean per patient cost of £553.56/year (€650.03). Using the broader indications for ICS in the 2011 revised GOLD guideline 25% were still classified as over-treated. The estimated risk of 15 cases of pneumonia (95%CI 8-22) in 1074 patients currently receiving ICS would rise by 20% to 18 (95%CI 9.8-26.7) in 1305 patients prescribed ICS if all with GOLD grade 3 and 4 received LABA+ICS.
Over-prescription of ICS in confirmed COPD was widespread with considerable potential for harm. In COPD where treatment is often escalated in the hope of easing the burden of disease clinicians should consider both the risks and benefits of treatment and the costs where the benefits are unproven.
PMCID: PMC3806778  PMID: 24194824
14.  Neural Mechanisms Underlying Breathing Complexity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75740.
Breathing is maintained and controlled by a network of automatic neurons in the brainstem that generate respiratory rhythm and receive regulatory inputs. Breathing complexity therefore arises from respiratory central pattern generators modulated by peripheral and supra-spinal inputs. Very little is known on the brainstem neural substrates underlying breathing complexity in humans. We used both experimental and theoretical approaches to decipher these mechanisms in healthy humans and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the most frequent chronic lung disease in the general population mainly due to tobacco smoke. In patients, airflow obstruction associated with hyperinflation and respiratory muscles weakness are key factors contributing to load-capacity imbalance and hence increased respiratory drive. Unexpectedly, we found that the patients breathed with a higher level of complexity during inspiration and expiration than controls. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we scanned the brain of the participants to analyze the activity of two small regions involved in respiratory rhythmogenesis, the rostral ventro-lateral (VL) medulla (pre-Bötzinger complex) and the caudal VL pons (parafacial group). fMRI revealed in controls higher activity of the VL medulla suggesting active inspiration, while in patients higher activity of the VL pons suggesting active expiration. COPD patients reactivate the parafacial to sustain ventilation. These findings may be involved in the onset of respiratory failure when the neural network becomes overwhelmed by respiratory overload We show that central neural activity correlates with airflow complexity in healthy subjects and COPD patients, at rest and during inspiratory loading. We finally used a theoretical approach of respiratory rhythmogenesis that reproduces the kernel activity of neurons involved in the automatic breathing. The model reveals how a chaotic activity in neurons can contribute to chaos in airflow and reproduces key experimental fMRI findings.
PMCID: PMC3789752  PMID: 24098396
15.  A Cohort Study of the Impact of Tooth Loss and Periodontal Disease on Respiratory Events among COPD Subjects: Modulatory Role of Systemic Biomarkers of Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e68592.
In COPD patients, fatal and non-fatal respiratory-related events are influenced by age, severity of respiratory disease, and comorbidities.
Analyze the effects of edentulism, periodontal disease and systemic biomarkers of inflammation on the occurrence of serious fatal and non-fatal respiratory-related events among subjects with COPD.
Cases were identified from Dental Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Edentulism was defined as study participants without any natural teeth or implants. Participants with one or more natural teeth (comprising 11,378 subjects) were studied as dentate subjects. Periodontal disease status among dentate individuals was determined using the consensus definitions published by the joint Center for Disease Control/American Association of Periodontology working group). Adjusted Hazard Models are developed to evaluate the relationship between edentulism/periodontal disease and COPD Related Events. Models were then stratified by GOLD Stage I, II and III/IV. Serum biomarkers were also evaluated to explore the effect of systemic inflammation.
A statistically significant association was found between oral health status and COPD-related events, even adjusting for conditions such as hypertension, smoking and diabetes. Edentulous individuals who had been diagnosed with COPD had a higher incidence and were at greater risk of having a COPD related event (hospitalization and death) than individuals who had teeth and whose mouths had healthy periodontal status. However, being edentulous did not convey excess risk for COPD-related events for those study participants who were classified as GOLD III/IV at baseline. Finally, we showed that individuals who had levels of serum IL-6 in the highest two quartiles were at even higher risk for COPD-related events.
These findings suggest that the risk for COPD-related events after adjusting for potential confounders may be attributable to both edentulism and elevated serum IL-6 levels.
PMCID: PMC3738507  PMID: 23950871
16.  Reliability of FEV1/FEV6 to Diagnose Airflow Obstruction Compared with FEV1/FVC: The PLATINO Longitudinal Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e67960.
A 6-second spirometry test is easier than full exhalations. We compared the reliability of the ratio of the Forced expiratory volume in 1 second/Forced expiratory volume in 6 seconds (FEV1/FEV6) to the ratio of the FEV1/Forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) for the detection of airway obstruction.
The PLATINO population-based survey in individuals aged 40 years and over designed to estimate the prevalence of post-Bronchodilator airway obstruction repeated for the same study participants after 5–9 years in three Latin-American cities.
Using the FEV1/FVC
The FEV1/FEV6 is a more reliable index than FEV1/FVC because FVC varies with the duration of the forced exhalation. Reporting FET and FEV1/FEV6
PMCID: PMC3731337  PMID: 23936297
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65593.
Epicardial Adipose Tissue (EAT) volume as determined by chest computed tomography (CT) is an independent marker of cardiovascular events in the general population. COPD patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, however nothing is known about the EAT volume in this population.
To assess EAT volume in COPD and explore its association with clinical and physiological variables of disease severity.
We measured EAT using low-dose CT in 171 stable COPD patients and 70 controls matched by age, smoking history and BMI. We determined blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and HbA1c levels, microalbuminuria, lung function, BODE index, co-morbidity index and coronary artery calcium score (CAC). EAT volume were compared between groups. Uni and multivariate analyses explored the relationship between EAT volume and the COPD related variables.
COPD patients had a higher EAT volume [143.7 (P25–75, 108.3–196.6) vs 129.1 (P25–75, 91.3–170.8) cm3, p = 0.02)] and the EAT volume was significantly associated with CAC (r = 0.38, p<0.001) and CRP (r = 0.32, p<0.001) but not with microalbuminuria (r = 0.12, p = 0.13). In COPD patients, EAT volume was associated with: age, pack-years, BMI, gender, FEV1%, 6 MWD, MMRC and HTN. Multivariate analysis showed that only pack-years (B = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.5–1.3), BMI (B = 7.8, 95% CI: 5.7–9.9) and 6 MWD (B = −0.2, 95% CI: −0.3–−0.1), predicted EAT volume.
EAT volume is increased in COPD patients and is independently associated with smoking history, BMI and exercise capacity, all modifiable risk factors of future cardiovascular events. EAT volume could be a non-invasive marker of COPD patients at high risk for future cardiovascular events.
PMCID: PMC3675061  PMID: 23762399
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64382.
In obstructive sleep apnea patients (OSA), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) adherence is crucial to improve symptoms and cardiometabolic outcomes. The choice of mask may influence CPAP adherence but this issue has never been addressed properly.
To evaluate the impact of nasal pillows, nasal and oronasal masks on CPAP adherence in a cohort of OSA.
Newly CPAP treated OSA participating in “Observatoire Sommeil de la Fédération de Pneumologie”, a French national prospective cohort, were included between March 2009 and December 2011. Anthropometric data, medical history, OSA severity, sleepiness, depressive status, treatment modalities (auto-CPAP versus fixed pressure, pressure level, interface type, use of humidifiers) and CPAP-related side effects were included in multivariate analysis to determine independent variables associated with CPAP adherence.
2311 OSA (age = 57(12) years, apnea+hypopnea index = 41(21)/h, 29% female) were included. Nasal masks, oronasal masks and nasal pillows were used by 62.4, 26.2 and 11.4% of the patients, respectively. In univariate analysis, oronasal masks and nasal pillows were associated with higher risk of CPAP non-adherence. CPAP non-adherence was also associated with younger age, female gender, mild OSA, gastroesophageal reflux, depression status, low effective pressure and CPAP-related side effects. In multivariate analysis, CPAP non-adherence was associated with the use of oronasal masks (OR = 2.0; 95%CI = 1.6; 2.5), depression, low effective pressure, and side effects.
As oronasal masks negatively impact on CPAP adherence, a nasal mask should be preferred as the first option. Patients on oronasal masks should be carefully followed.
PMCID: PMC3654912  PMID: 23691209
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61315.
Myeloperoxidase is a strong oxidant stored in primary granules of neutrophils with potent antibacterial and proatherogenic properties. Myeloperoxidase has been implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the relationship of myeloperoxidase to health outcomes in COPD is not well known. We measured serum myeloperoxidase levels from 4,677 subjects with mild to moderate airflow limitation in the Lung Health Study. Using a Cox proportional hazards model, we determined the relationship of serum myeloperoxidase concentration to the risk of all-cause and disease specific causes of mortality. We found that serum myeloperoxidase concentrations were significantly related to accelerated decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) over 11 years of follow-up (p<0.0001), and this association persisted after adjustments for age, sex, race, baseline FEV1, and smoking status (p = 0.048). Serum myeloperoxidase concentrations were also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular mortality (p = 0.036). Individuals in the highest quintile of myeloperoxidase had a hazard ratio of cardiovascular mortality of 1.90 (95% confidence interval 1.00–3.58; p = 0.049) compared with those in the lowest quintile, which was particularly notable in patients who continued to smoke (adjusted p-value of 0.0396). However, serum myeloperoxidase concentration was not related to total mortality, respiratory mortality, or deaths from malignancies. In conclusion, increased serum myeloperoxidase levels are associated with rapid lung function decline and poor cardiovascular outcomes in COPD patients, which support the emerging role of myeloperoxidase in the pathogenesis of COPD progression and cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3630209  PMID: 23637811
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47705.
A mediation model explores the direct and indirect effects between an independent variable and a dependent variable by including other variables (or mediators). Mediation analysis has recently been used to dissect the direct and indirect effects of genetic variants on complex diseases using case-control studies. However, bias could arise in the estimations of the genetic variant-mediator association because the presence or absence of the mediator in the study samples is not sampled following the principles of case-control study design. In this case, the mediation analysis using data from case-control studies might lead to biased estimates of coefficients and indirect effects. In this article, we investigated a multiple-mediation model involving a three-path mediating effect through two mediators using case-control study data. We propose an approach to correct bias in coefficients and provide accurate estimates of the specific indirect effects. Our approach can also be used when the original case-control study is frequency matched on one of the mediators. We employed bootstrapping to assess the significance of indirect effects. We conducted simulation studies to investigate the performance of the proposed approach, and showed that it provides more accurate estimates of the indirect effects as well as the percent mediated than standard regressions. We then applied this approach to study the mediating effects of both smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on the association between the CHRNA5-A3 gene locus and lung cancer risk using data from a lung cancer case-control study. The results showed that the genetic variant influences lung cancer risk indirectly through all three different pathways. The percent of genetic association mediated was 18.3% through smoking alone, 30.2% through COPD alone, and 20.6% through the path including both smoking and COPD, and the total genetic variant-lung cancer association explained by the two mediators was 69.1%.
PMCID: PMC3471886  PMID: 23077662
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e45396.
The electronic nose (e nose) provides distinctive breath fingerprints for selected respiratory diseases. Both reproducibility and respiratory function correlates of breath fingerprint are poorly known.
To measure reproducibility of breath fingerprints and to assess their correlates among respiratory function indexes in elderly healthy and COPD subjects.
25 subjects (5 COPD patients for each GOLD stage and 5 healthy controls) over 65 years underwent e-nose study through a seven sensor system and respiratory function tests at times 0, 7, and 15 days. Reproducibility of the e nose pattern was computed. The correlation between volatile organic compound (VOC) pattern and respiratory function/clinical parameters was assessed by the Spearman's rho.
Measurements and Main Results
VOC patterns were highly reproducible within healthy and GOLD 4 COPD subjects, less among GOLD 1–3 patients.VOC patterns significantly correlated with expiratory flows (Spearman's rho ranging from 0.36 for MEF25% and sensor Co-Buti-TPP, to 0.81 for FEV1% and sensor Cu-Buti-TPP p<0.001)), but not with residual volume and total lung capacity.
VOC patterns strictly correlated with expiratory flows. Thus, e nose might conveniently be used to assess COPD severity and, likely, to study phenotypic variability. However, the suboptimal reproducibility within GOLD 1–3 patients should stimulate further research to identify more reproducible breath print patterns.
PMCID: PMC3471938  PMID: 23077492
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46746.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a growing economic burden worldwide. Smoking cessation is thought to be the single most effective way of reducing the economic burden of COPD. The impact of other strategies such as interventions that predict risk of disease, reduce progression of disease, or reduce exacerbations has not been systematically studied.
We estimated the economic and clinical burden of COPD over the next 25 years in Canada and the impact of three potential interventions (screening test for predisposition to COPD, new drugs to avoid progression into more severe disease stages, and predictive test for exacerbations) on COPD burden.
Using a dynamic simulation model, we projected the total burden of COPD (cost, morbidity, and mortality) from 2011 to 2035 using the population of Canada as a case study. The model stratified population based on sex, age, smoking status, respiratory symptoms, and their COPD stage. The cost and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) associated with each intervention were estimated.
The model indicates that annual societal cost of COPD is $4.52 billion (B) Canadian dollars in 2011 and will reach $3.61B ($7.33B undiscounted) per year in 2035. Over the next 25 years, COPD will be responsible for approximately $101.4B in societal costs ($147.5B undiscounted) and 12.9 million QALYs lost (19.0 million undiscounted). Our results suggested that the best strategy to reduce the financial burden of COPD is by reducing exacerbations. Smoking cessation, while it is the cornerstone of COPD prevention, has only a modest effect in attenuating the financial burden of COPD over the next 25 years in Western countries such as Canada.
Our data suggest that any intervention that can reduce the number of exacerbations has a substantial impact on morbidity and costs of COPD and should be considered in conjunction with the ongoing efforts to reduce smoking rates.
PMCID: PMC3469627  PMID: 23071626
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46144.
Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) share a common risk factor in cigarette smoking and a large portion of patients with lung cancer suffer from COPD synchronously. We therefore hypothesized that COPD is an independent risk factor for lung cancer. Our aim was to investigate the intrinsic linkage of COPD (or emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma) and lung cancer.
The present hospital-based case-control study included 1,069 patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer and 1,132 age frequency matched cancer-free controls. The odds ratios (ORs) for the associations between each previous pulmonary disease and lung cancer were estimated with logistic regression models, adjusting for age, sex, family history of cancer, BMI and pack year smoking. In meta-analysis, the pooled effects of previous pulmonary diseases were analyzed with random effects models; and stratification analyses were conducted on smoking status and ethnicity.
In the case-control study, previous COPD was associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (OR = 1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00∼1.68); so were emphysema (OR = 1.55, 95%CI = 1.03∼2.32) and chronic bronchitis (OR = 1.22, 95%CI = 0.99∼1.67); while asthma was associated with odds for decreased risk of lung cancer (OR = 0.29, 95%CI = 0.16∼0.53). These associations were more pronounced in smokers (P<.05 for all strata), but not in non-smokers. In meta-analysis, 35 studies (22,010 cases and 44,438 controls) were identified. COPD was significantly associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (pooled OR = 2.76; 95% CI = 1.85–4.11), so were emphysema (OR = 3.02; 95% CI = 2.41–3.79) and chronic bronchitis (OR = 1.88; 95% CI = 1.49–2.36); and these associations were more pronounced in smokers than in non-smokers (P<.001 respectively). No significant association was observed for asthma.
Previous COPD could increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers.
PMCID: PMC3460937  PMID: 23029414
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44993.
Cigarette smoke is the main risk factor for emphysema, which is a key pathology in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Low attenuation areas (LAA) in computed tomography (CT) images reflect emphysema, and the cumulative size distribution of LAA clusters follows a power law characterized by the exponent D. This property of LAA clusters can be explained by model simulation, where mechanical force breaks alveolar walls causing local heterogeneous lung tissue destruction. However, a longitudinal CT study has not investigated whether continuous smoking causes the spatially heterogeneous progression of emphysema.
We measured annual changes in ratios of LAA (LAA%), D and numbers of LAA clusters (LAN) in CT images acquired at intervals of ≥3 years from 22 current and 31 former smokers with COPD to assess emphysema progression. We constructed model simulations using CT images to morphologically interpret changes in current smokers.
D was decreased in current and former smokers, whereas LAA% and LAN were increased only in current smokers. The annual changes in LAA%, D, and LAN were greater in current, than in former smokers (1.03 vs. 0.37%, p = 0.008; −0.045 vs. −0.01, p = 0.004; 13.9 vs. 1.1, p = 0.007, respectively). When LAA% increased in model simulations, the coalescence of neighboring LAA clusters decreased D, but the combination of changes in D and LAN in current smokers could not be explained by the homogeneous emphysema progression model despite cluster coalescence. Conversely, a model in which LAAs heterogeneously increased and LAA clusters merged somewhat in relatively advanced emphysematous regions could reflect actual changes.
Susceptibility to parenchymal destruction induced by continuous smoking is not uniform over the lung, but might be higher in local regions of relatively advanced emphysema. These could result in the spatially heterogeneous progression of emphysema in current smokers.
PMCID: PMC3445600  PMID: 23028728
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42728.
Severe alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is a strong risk factor for COPD. But the impact of gene variants resulting in mild or intermediate AAT deficiency on the longitudinal course of respiratory health remains controversial. There is indication from experimental studies that pro-inflammatory agents like cigarette smoke can interact with these variants and thus increase the risk of adverse respiratory health effects. Therefore, we tested the effect of the presence of a protease inhibitor (Pi) S or Z allele (PiMS and PiMZ) on the change in lung function in different inflammation-exposed subgroups of a large, population-based cohort study.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The SAPALDIA population includes over 4600 subjects from whom SERPINA1 genotypes for S and Z alleles, spirometry and respiratory symptoms at baseline and after 11 years follow-up, as well as proxies for inflammatory conditions, such as detailed smoking history, obesity and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), were available. All analyses were performed by applying multivariate regression models. There was no overall unfavourable effect of PiMS or PiMZ genotype on lung function change. We found indication that PiZ heterozygosity interacted with inflammatory stimuli leading to an accelerated decline in measures in use as indices for assessing mild airway obstruction. Obese individuals with genotype PiMM had an average annual decline in the forced mid expiratory flow (ΔFEF25-75%) of 58.4 ml whereas in obese individuals with PiMZ it amounted to 92.2 ml (p = 0.03). Corresponding numbers for persistent smokers differed even more strongly (66.8 ml (PiMM) vs. 108.2 ml (PiMZ), p = 0.005). Equivalent, but less strong associations were observed for the change in the FEV1/FVC ratio.
We suggest that, in addition to the well established impact of the rare PiZZ genotype, one Z allele may be sufficient to accelerate lung function decline in population subgroups characterized by elevated levels of low grade inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3418297  PMID: 22912729

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