Mast cells (MC) play an important role in allergic and non-allergic immune responses. Activation of human MC is modulated by several cell surface inhibitory receptors, including recently identified Allergin-1 expressed on both human and mouse MC. Although Allergin-1 suppresses IgE-mediated, mast cell–dependent anaphylaxis in mice, the expression profile and function of Allergin-1 on human primary MC remains undetermined. Here, we established a seven-color flow cytometry method for assessing expression and function of a very small number of human primary MC. We show that Allergin-1S1, a splicing isoform of Allergin-1, is predominantly expressed on human primary MC in both bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and nasal scratching specimens. Moreover, Allergin-1S1 inhibits IgE-mediated activation from human primary MC in BAL fluid. These results indicate that Allergin-1 on human primary MC exhibits similar characteristics as mouse Allergin-1 in the expression profile and function.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the volume doubling time (VDT) of lung cancer detected in our annual chest radiograph screening program and to compare it with those previously reported for computed tomography (CT) screening. In total, 209 patients who had a measurable tumor shadow and a history of participating in our chest radiograph mass screening program between 2006 and 2009 were included in this study. Indirect roentgenograms for patients with lung cancer were converted into digital images, and the section showing the tumor was enlarged on the monitor to a size of 0.01 mm. The mean VDT for all the patients was 158 days. Only 3.8% of the patients had a VDT of more than 400 days. In 140 patients with adenocarcinoma, the mean VDT was 177 days, and 5.0% of these patients had a VDT of more than 400 days. In the 44 patients with squamous cell carcinoma, the mean VDT was 133 days, and only 2.3% of these patients had a VDT of more than 400 days. These results were different from those previously reported for CT screening. In several reports on CT screening, more than 20% of the lung cancers had VDTs of more than 400 days. Since it is common knowledge that there are ‘indolent’ lung cancers with a VDT of more than 400 days, screening by annual chest radiography with rare overdiagnosis may need to be reconsidered.
volume doubling time; lung cancer; chest radiograph; mass screening program
The brain is one of the most common sites for the metastasis of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The present study describes two cases of an isolated solitary brain metastasis as a relapse of SCLC, which occurred more than one year after the completion of the initial successful treatment for SCLC. The tumors were identified during a regular check-up computed tomography (CT) scan and were successfully treated. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report the cases of two patients with an isolated solitary brain metastasis as a relapse of SCLC. Although extremely rare, the possibility of such recurrences should be considered, particularly in patients who have refused prophylactic cranial irradiation.
isolated solitary brain metastasis; relapse; small cell lung cancer
Recently, several genes and genetic loci associated with both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been described as common susceptibility factors for the two diseases. In complex diseases such as asthma and COPD, a large number of molecular and cellular components may interact through complex networks involving gene–gene and gene–environment interactions. We sought to understand the functional and regulatory pathways that play central roles in the pathobiology of asthma and COPD and to understand the overlap between these pathways. We searched the PubMed database up to September 2012 to identify genes found to be associated with asthma, COPD, tuberculosis, or essential hypertension in at least two independent reports of candidate-gene associations or in genome-wide studies. To learn how the identified genes interact with each other and other cellular proteins, we conducted pathway-based analysis using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software. We identified 108 genes and 58 genes that were significantly associated with asthma and COPD in at least two independent studies, respectively. These susceptibility genes were grouped into networks based on functional annotation: 12 (for asthma) and eleven (for COPD) networks were identified. Analysis of the networks for overlap between the two diseases revealed that the networks form a single complex network with 229 overlapping molecules. These overlapping molecules are significantly involved in canonical pathways including the “aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling,” “role of cytokines in mediating communication between immune cells,” “glucocorticoid receptor signaling,” and “IL-12 signaling and production in macrophages” pathways. The Jaccard similarity index for the comparison between asthma and COPD was 0.81 for the network-level comparison, and the odds ratio was 3.62 (P < 0.0001) for the asthma/COPD pair in comparison with the tuberculosis/ essential hypertension pair. In conclusion, although the identification of asthma and COPD networks is still far from complete, these networks may be used as frameworks for integrating other genome-scale information including expression profiling and phenotypic analysis. Network overlap between asthma and COPD may indicate significant overlap between the pathobiology of these two diseases, which are thought to be genetically related.
COPD; asthma; network; common pathways; aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling
The purpose of this study was to examine clinical features and treatment modality approaches in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), particularly in those aged 80 years and older. Using databases available at Mito Kyodo General Hospital (Japan), the medical records of COPD patients between April 2009 and December 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. The patient population was divided into three age groups; less than 70 years (the <70 age group), between 70–79 years (the 70–79 age group) and 80 years or older (the ≥80 age group). Demographic data, as well as the efficacy and safety of tiotropium, were compared between the three groups. Patients in the ≥80 age group comprised 35.6% of the study population with COPD (n=174). The ≥80 and 70–79 age groups demonstrated a higher proportion of comorbid disease compared with the <70 age group. A subjective improvement of dyspnea on effort as well as no additional adverse effects were observed in the ≥80 age group, similar to the other two age groups. However, higher incidence of acute exacerbation of COPD in patients aged ≥80 years old was found, particularly in those with comorbid disease. The efficacy and safety of tiotropium in COPD patients in the ≥80 age group were almost identical to patients <80 years old, however, physicians must be cautious with acute exacerbation of COPD in the extremely elderly population with comorbid disease.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; tiotropium; elderly; octogenarian; comorbid disease
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of erlotinib for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we performed a population-based observational study. The study involved 307 patients treated with erlotinib at 14 sites (17 departments) in Ibaraki (Japan) between December 2007 and December 2010. The tumor response and disease control rates were 11.1 and 46.3% in all patients, respectively. The median time to treatment failure and survival time were 1.6 months (95% confidence interval, 41–57 days) and 5.3 months (134–181 days) in all patients, respectively. Survival was significantly prolonged in EGFR mutation-positive patients compared with negative patients. EGFR mutation-negative patients who presented with a skin rash had significantly prolonged survival compared with those without a skin rash. The most common adverse event was skin disorder, followed by diarrhea. Although 45.6% of the patients in this study received erlotinib as a fourth-line or subsequent treatment, the results from this study were similar to those of clinical studies. We deduce that erlotinib is effective against NSCLC and is tolerated in clinical practice.
erlotinib; non-small cell lung cancer; observational study; population-based
The aim of our retrospective study was to evaluate the clinicopathological features associated with distant metastasis from small cell lung cancer (SCLC). We reviewed patients diagnosed with SCLC metastasis at the time of presentation between 1999 and 2010. Among the consecutive 251 SCLC patients diagnosed, 152 (60.6%) patients had distant metastasis, of which 20.3, 18.3, 15.5, 10.0 and 6.0% of patients had liver, bone, brain, lung and adrenal gland metastasis, respectively. In a multivariate analysis using Cox’s proportional hazards model, we identified that liver, bone and brain metastasis as well as the presence of pleural and/or pericardial fluids were unfavorable prognostic factors. However, lung, adrenal gland and extrathoracic lymph node metastasis were not statistically significant prognostic factors. With regard to the treatment of SCLC patients, particularly those with liver, bone and brain metastasis or pleural and/or pericardial fluids, we should take the metastasizing organs into consideration.
small cell lung cancer; metastasis; survival
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) triggers dendritic cell–mediated T helper (Th) 2 inflammatory responses. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs3806933, in the promoter region of the TSLP gene creates a binding site for the transcription factor activating protein (AP)–1. The variant enhances AP-1 binding to the regulatory element, and increases the promoter–reporter activity of TSLP in response to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly[I:C]) stimulation in normal human bronchial epithelium (NHBE). We investigated whether polymorphisms including the SNP rs3806933 could affect the susceptibility to and clinical phenotypes of bronchial asthma. We selected three representative (i.e., Tag) SNPs and conducted association studies of the TSLP gene, using two independent populations (639 patients with childhood atopic asthma and 838 control subjects, and 641 patients with adult asthma and 376 control subjects, respectively). We further examined the effects of corticosteroids and a long-acting β2-agonist (salmeterol) on the expression levels of the TSLP gene in response to poly(I:C) in NHBE. We found that the promoter polymorphisms rs3806933 and rs2289276 were significantly associated with disease susceptibility in both childhood atopic and adult asthma. The functional SNP rs3806933 was associated with asthma (meta-analysis, P = 0.000056; odds ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.14–1.47). A genotype of rs2289278 was correlated with pulmonary function. Moreover, the induction of TSLP mRNA and protein expression induced by poly(I:C) in NHBE was synergistically impaired by a corticosteroid and salmeterol. TSLP variants are significantly associated with bronchial asthma and pulmonary function. Thus, TSLP may serve as a therapeutic target molecule for combination therapy.
asthma; TSLP; bronchial epithelial cells; combination therapy; genetic polymorphisms
The aim of this study was to clarify the effect of aging on renal function. Serum creatinine (SCr), blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and 24-h creatinine clearance (measured-CrCl) were examined in lung cancer patients and the measured-CrCl were compared with CrCl estimates by employing two commonly used equations. In total, 787 lung cancer patients who were diagnosed between 2001 and 2010 were retrospectively analyzed. SCr and urine creatinine, BUN and measured-CrCl were evaluated prior to treatment. The Cockcroft-Gault (CG) and modification of diet in renal disease (MDRD) formulae were also used to estimate CrCl. SCr, BUN and measured-CrCl showed a significant decline in the elderly. In the 787 lung cancer patients, a significant correlation coefficient was found between measured-CrCl and age. However, in patients aged 80 years or older, no significant correlation coefficient was found between measured-CrCl and age. In the comparison between the measured CrCl and the CrCls estimated by the two formulae, the CG-CrCl levels were lower than those of the measured-CrCl, whereas the MDRD-CrCl levels were higher. Age is a crucial factor influencing renal function in patients with lung cancer. Particularly in the elderly, a decline in CrCl and greater individual variability in CrCl, as well as discrepancies in measured-CrCl and estimated CrCls are significant factors.
renal function; creatinine clearance; lung cancer; elderly
The purpose of this study was to confirm the correlation between serum levels of cystatin C (Cys-C) and those of creatinine (Cre), the most widely used index of renal function in clinical practice, and to evaluate serum levels of Cys-C, with a particular focus on the effects of aging, body mass index (BMI), C-reactive protein (CRP) and disease extent in patients with lung cancer. Serum Cys-C levels in a total of 39 patients (median 72 years), who were diagnosed as having lung cancer were analyzed retrospectively. The serum Cys-C was determined using colloidal gold particles coated with anti-Cys C antibodies. A significant correlation coefficient was found between serum levels of Cys-C and those of Cre (P=0.001), but only moderate agreement. Serum Cys-C levels increased in an age-dependent manner with significant differences among 3 age groups: patients younger than 65 years, those aged 65 to 74 years and those aged 75 years or older (P=0.001). However, no correlation was observed between Cys-C and BMI, Cys-C and CRP, or Cys-C and disease extent of lung cancer. Estimation of renal function is important since renal insufficiency is directly correlated to increased chemotherapeutic complications in oncological practice. Thus, estimation of serum Cys-C levels may be important, but adjustment of Cys-C for age should be taken into consideration.
cystatin C; elderly; lung cancer
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common inflammatory skin disease caused by multiple genetic and environmental factors. AD is characterized by the local infiltration of T helper type 2 (Th2) cells. Recent clinical studies have shown important roles of the Th2 chemokines, CCL22 and CCL17 in the pathogenesis of AD. To investigate whether polymorphisms of the CCL22 gene affect the susceptibility to AD, we conducted association studies and functional studies of the related variants. We first resequenced the CCL22 gene and found a total of 39 SNPs. We selected seven tag SNPs in the CCL22 gene, and conducted association studies using two independent Japanese populations (1st population, 916 cases and 1,032 controls; 2nd population 1,034 cases and 1,004 controls). After the association results were combined by inverse variance method, we observed a significant association at rs4359426 (meta-analysis, combined P = 9.6×10−6; OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.65–0.85). Functional analysis revealed that the risk allele of rs4359426 contributed to higher expression levels of CCL22 mRNA. We further examined the allelic differences in the binding of nuclear proteins by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The signal intensity of the DNA-protein complex derived from the G allele of rs223821, which was in absolute LD with rs4359426, was higher than that from the A allele. Although further functional analyses are needed, it is likely that related variants play a role in susceptibility to AD in a gain-of-function manner. Our findings provide a new insight into the etiology and pathogenesis of AD.
The present study was carried out to evaluate whether measured-creatinine clearance (measured-CrCl) and Cockcroft and Gault-CrCl (CG-CrCl) are capable of appropriately detecting a decline in renal function in lung cancer patients, including elderly patients, and to clarify a CrCl level with which to discriminate between patients with or without renal impairment. The measured-CrCl prior and subsequent to platinum-based chemotherapy of lung cancer patients was retrospectively analyzed. Measured-CrCl and CG-CrCl were evaluated prior and subsequent to platinum-based chemotherapy for lung cancer. Measured-CrCl and CG-CrCl in 59 lung cancer patients including 25 patients aged ≥65 years were retrospectively analyzed. In patients treated with carboplatin-based chemotherapy, measured-CrCl was indicative of a decline in renal function, whereas CG-CrCl was not. The optimal measured-CrCl level was <60 ml/min post-pretreatment and >90 ml/min at pre-treatment. In cases with pre-treatment measured-CrCl levels of >90 ml/min, favorable renal function is necessary in order to carry out platinum-based chemotherapy in lung cancer patients, including the elderly.
renal function; creatinine clearance; lung cancer; elderly
Influenza virus is a common respiratory tract viral infection. Although influenza can be fatal in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, its pathogenesis is not fully understood. The Nrf2-mediated antioxidant system is essential to protect the lungs from oxidative injury and inflammation. In the present study, we investigated the role of Nrf2 in protection against influenza virus-induced pulmonary inflammation after cigarette smoke exposure with both in vitro and in vivo approaches. For in vitro analyses, peritoneal macrophages isolated from wild-type and Nrf2-deficient mice were treated with poly(I:C) and/or cigarette smoke extract. For in vivo analysis, these mice were infected with influenza A virus with or without exposure to cigarette smoke. In Nrf2-deficient macrophages, NF-κB activation and the induction of its target inflammatory genes were enhanced after costimulation with cigarette smoke extract and poly(I:C) compared with wild-type macrophages. The induction of antioxidant genes was observed for the lungs of wild-type mice but not those of Nrf2-deficient mice after cigarette smoke exposure. Cigarette smoke-exposed Nrf2-deficient mice showed higher rates of mortality than did wild-type mice after influenza virus infection, with enhanced peribronchial inflammation, lung permeability damage, and mucus hypersecretion. Lung oxidant levels and NF-κB-mediated inflammatory gene expression in the lungs were also enhanced in Nrf2-deficient mice. Our data indicate that the antioxidant pathway controlled by Nrf2 is pivotal for protection against the development of influenza virus-induced pulmonary inflammation and injury under oxidative conditions.
IL-17F plays a crucial role in airway inflammatory diseases including asthma, but its function has not been fully elucidated. CCL20 is also involved in allergic airway inflammation, while its regulatory mechanisms remain to be defined. To further identify a novel role of IL-17F, the expression of CCL20 by IL-17F in bronchial epithelial cells and the signaling mechanisms involved were investigated. Bronchial epithelial cells were stimulated with IL-17F, and the levels of CCL20 gene and protein measured, with the effects of the addition of various kinase inhibitors and siRNAs also investigated. IL-17F significantly induced the expression of CCL20 gene and protein. Pretreatment with inhibitors for MEK1/2, Raf1 and MSK1, and overexpression of a Raf1 dominant-negative mutant significantly diminished IL-17F-induced CCL20 production. Moreover, transfection of the siRNAs targeting MSK1, p90RSK, and CREB blocked CCL20 expression. These findings suggest that IL-17F is able to induce CCL20 via Raf1-MEK1/2-ERK1/2-MSK1/p90RSK-CREB signaling pathway in bronchial epithelial cells. The IL-17F/CCL20 axis may be a novel pharmacological target for asthma.
Asthma is a complex phenotype influenced by genetic and environmental factors. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with 938 Japanese pediatric asthma patients and 2,376 controls. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showing strong associations (P<1×10−8) in GWAS were further genotyped in an independent Japanese samples (818 cases and 1,032 controls) and in Korean samples (835 cases and 421 controls). SNP rs987870, located between HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1, was consistently associated with pediatric asthma in 3 independent populations (Pcombined = 2.3×10−10, odds ratio [OR] = 1.40). HLA-DP allele analysis showed that DPA1*0201 and DPB1*0901, which were in strong linkage disequilibrium, were strongly associated with pediatric asthma (DPA1*0201: P = 5.5×10−10, OR = 1.52, and DPB1*0901: P = 2.0×10−7, OR = 1.49). Our findings show that genetic variants in the HLA-DP locus are associated with the risk of pediatric asthma in Asian populations.
Asthma is the most common chronic disorder in children, and asthma exacerbation is an important cause of childhood morbidity and hospitalization. Here, taking advantage of recent technological advances in human genetics, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up validation studies to identify genetic variants for asthma. By examining 6,428 Asians, we found rs987870 and HLA-DPA1*0201/DPB1*0901 were associated with pediatric asthma. The association signal was stretched in the region of HLA-DPB2, collagen, type XI, alpha 2 (COL11A2), and Retinoid X receptor beta (RXRB), but strong linkage disequilibrium in this region made it difficult to specifically identify causative variants. Interestingly, the SNP (or the HLA-DP allele) associated with pediatric asthma (Th-2 type immune diseases) in the present study confers protection against Th-1 type immune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, the association results obtained in the present study could partially explain the inverse relationship between asthma and Th-1 type immune diseases and may lead to better understanding of Th-1/Th-2 immune diseases.
An Nrf2-dependent response is a central protective mechanism against oxidative stress. We propose that particular genetic variants of the Nrf2 gene may be associated with a rapid forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) decline induced by cigarette smoking.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 915 Japanese from a general population. Values of annual decline in FEV1 were computed for each individual using a linear mixed-effect model. Multiple clinical characteristics were assessed to identify associations with annual FEV1 decline. Tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Nrf2 gene (rs2001350, rs6726395, rs1962142, rs2364722) and one functional SNP (rs6721961) in the Nrf2 promoter region were genotyped to assess interactions between the Nrf2 polymorphisms and smoking status on annual FEV1 decline.
Annual FEV1 decline was associated with smoking behavior and inversely correlated with FEV1/FVC and FEV1 % predicted. The mean annual FEV1 declines in individuals with rs6726395 G/G, G/A, or A/A were 26.2, 22.3, and 20.8 mL/year, respectively, and differences in these means were statistically significant (pcorr = 0.016). We also found a significant interaction between rs6726395 genotype and smoking status on the FEV1 decline (p for interaction = 0.011). The haplotype rs2001350T/rs6726395A/rs1962142A/rs2364722A/rs6721961T was associated with lower annual decline in FEV1 (p = 0.004).
This study indicated that an Nrf2-dependent response to exogenous stimuli may affect annual FEV1 decline in the general population. It appears that the genetic influence of Nrf2 is modified by smoking status, suggesting the presence of a gene-environment interaction in accelerated decline in FEV1.
Rationale: Inhaled granulocyte/macrophage–colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a promising therapy for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) but has not been adequately studied.
Objectives: To evaluate safety and efficacy of inhaled GM-CSF in patients with unremitting or progressive PAP.
Methods: We conducted a national, multicenter, self-controlled, phase II trial at nine pulmonary centers throughout Japan. Patients who had lung biopsy or cytology findings diagnostic of PAP, an elevated serum GM-CSF antibody level, and a PaO2 of less than 75 mm Hg entered a 12-week observation period. Those who improved (i.e., alveolar–arterial oxygen difference [A–aDO2] decreased by 10 mm Hg) during observation were excluded. The rest entered sequential periods of high-dose therapy (250 μg Days 1–8, none Days 9–14; × six cycles; 12 wk); low-dose therapy (125 μg Days 1–4, none Days 5–14; × six cycles; 12 wk), and follow-up (52 wk).
Measurements and Main Results: Fifty patients with PAP were enrolled in the study. During observation, nine improved and two withdrew; all of these were excluded. Of 35 patients completing the high- and low-dose therapy, 24 improved, resulting in an overall response rate of 62% (24/39; intention-to-treat analysis) and reduction in A–aDO2 of 12.3 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, 8.4–16.2; n = 35, P < 0.001). No serious adverse events occurred, and serum GM-CSF autoantibody levels were unchanged. A treatment-emergent correlation occurred between A–aDO2 and diffusing capacity of the lung, and high-resolution CT revealed improvement of ground-glass opacity. Twenty-nine of 35 patients remained stable without further therapy for 1 year.
Conclusions: Inhaled GM-CSF therapy is safe, effective, and provides a sustained therapeutic effect in autoimmune PAP.
Clinical trial registered with www.controlled-trials.com/isrctn (ISRCTN18931678), www.jmacct.med.or.jp/english (JMA-IIA00013).
Sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin-8 (Siglec-8) promotes the apoptosis of eosinophils and inhibits FcɛRI-dependent mediator release from mast cells. We investigated the genetic association between sequence variants in Siglec-8 and diagnosis of asthma, total levels of serum IgE (tIgE), and diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) in diverse populations. The effect of sequence variants on Siglec-8 glycan ligand-binding activity was also examined. Significant association with asthma was observed for SNP rs36498 (odds ratios (OR), 0.69, P=8.8 × 10−5) among African Americans and for SNP rs10409962 (Ser/Pro) in the Japanese population (OR, 0.69, P=0.019). Supporting this finding, we observed association between SNP rs36498 and current asthma among Brazilian families (P=0.013). Significant association with tIgE was observed for SNP rs6509541 among African Americans (P=0.016), and replicated among the Brazilian families (P=0.02). In contrast, no association was observed with EE in Caucasians. By using a synthetic polymer decorated with 6′-sulfo-sLex, a known Siglec-8 glycan ligand, we did not find any differences between the ligand-binding activity of HEK293 cells stably transfected with the rs10409962 risk allele or the WT allele. However, our association results suggest that the Siglec8 gene may be a susceptibility locus for asthma.
sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin-8 (Siglec8); polymorphisms; asthma; eosinophilic esophagitis
Few studies have investigated the significance of decreased FEV1 in non-COPD, nonasthmatic healthy subjects. We hypothesized that a lower FEV1 in these subjects is a potential marker of an increased susceptibility to obstructive lung disease such as asthma and COPD. This was a cross-sectional analysis of 1505 Japanese adults. We divided the population of healthy adults with no respiratory diseases whose FEV1/FVC ratio was ≥70% (n = 1369) into 2 groups according to their prebronchodilator FEV1 (% predicted) measurements: <80% (n = 217) and ≥80% (n = 1152). We compared clinical data – including gender, age, smoking habits, total IgE levels, and annual decline of FEV1 – between these 2 groups. In addition, as our group recently found that TSLP variants are associated with asthma and reduced lung function, we assessed whether TSLP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were associated with baseline lung function in non-COPD, nonasthmatic healthy subjects (n = 1368). Although about half of the subjects with lower FEV1 had never smoked, smoking was the main risk factor for the decreased FEV1 in non-COPD, nonasthmatic subjects. However, the subjects with lower FEV1 had a significantly higher annual decline in FEV1 independent of smoking status. Airflow obstruction was associated with increased levels of total serum IgE (P = 0.029) and with 2 functional TSLP SNPs (corrected P = 0.027–0.058 for FEV1% predicted, corrected P = 0.015–0.033 for FEV1/FVC). This study highlights the importance of early recognition of a decreased FEV1 in healthy subjects without evident pulmonary diseases because it predicts a rapid decline in FEV1 irrespective of smoking status. Our series of studies identified TSLP variants as a potential susceptibility locus to asthma and to lower lung function in non-COPD, nonasthmatic healthy subjects, which may support the contention that genetic determinants of lung function influence susceptibility to asthma.
airflow obstruction; asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pulmonary function test; thymic stromal lymphopoietin
Airflow limitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is caused by a mixture of small airway disease and emphysema, the relative contributions of which may vary among patients. Phenotypes of COPD classified purely based on severity of emphysema are not well defined and may be different from the classic phenotypes of “pink puffers” and “blue bloaters”.
To characterise clinical phenotypes based on severity of emphysema, 274 subjects with COPD were recruited, excluding those with physician‐diagnosed bronchial asthma. For all subjects a detailed interview of disease history and symptoms, quality of life (QOL) measurement, blood sampling, pulmonary function tests before and after inhalation of salbutamol (0.4 mg) and high‐resolution CT scanning were performed.
Severity of emphysema visually evaluated varied widely even among subjects with the same stage of disease. No significant differences were noted among three groups of subjects classified by severity of emphysema in age, smoking history, chronic bronchitis symptoms, blood eosinophil count, serum IgE level or bronchodilator response. However, subjects with severe emphysema had significantly lower body mass index (BMI) and poorer QOL scores, evaluated using St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), than those with no/mild emphysema (mean (SD) BMI 21.2 (0.5) vs 23.5 (0.3) kg/m2, respectively; SGRQ total score 40 (3) vs 28 (2), respectively; p<0.001 for both). These characteristics held true even if subjects with the same degree of airflow limitation were chosen.
The severity of emphysema varies widely even in patients with the same stage of COPD, and chronic bronchitis symptoms are equally distributed irrespective of emphysema severity. Patients with the phenotype in which emphysema predominates have lower BMI and poorer health‐related QOL.
Candida species are the most common source of nosocomial invasive fungal infections. Previous studies have indicated that T-helper immune response is the critical host factor for susceptibility to Candida infection. The transcription factor GATA-3 is known as the master regulator for T-helper type 2 (Th2) differentiation. We therefore investigated the role of GATA-3 in the host defense against systemic Candida infection using GATA-3-overexpressing transgenic mice. The survival of GATA-3-overexpressing mice after Candida infection was significantly lower than that of wild-type mice. Candida outgrowth was significantly increased in the kidneys of GATA-3-overexpressing mice, compared with wild-type mice. The levels of various Th2 cytokines, including interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, and IL-13, were significantly higher while the level of Th1 cytokine gamma interferon was significantly lower in the splenocytes of GATA-3-overexpressing mice after Candida infection. Recruitment of macrophages into the peritoneal cavity in response to Candida infection and their phagocytic activity were significantly lower in GATA-3-overexpressing mice than in wild-type mice. Exogenous administration of gamma interferon to GATA-3-overexpressing mice significantly reduced Candida outgrowth in the kidney and thus increased the survival rate. Administration of gamma interferon also increased the recruitment of macrophages into the peritoneal cavity in response to Candida infection. These results indicate that overexpression of GATA-3 modulates macrophage antifungal activity and thus enhances the susceptibility to systemic Candida infection, possibly by reducing the production of gamma interferon in response to Candida infection.
Mannose receptor (MR) is a member of the C-type lectin receptor family involved in pathogen molecular-pattern recognition and thought to be critical in shaping host immune response. The aim of this study was to investigate potential associations of genetic variants in the MRC1 gene with sarcoidosis.
Nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), encompassing the MRC1 gene, were genotyped in a total of 605 Japanese consisting of 181 sarcoidosis patients and 424 healthy controls.
Suggestive evidence of association between rs691005 SNP and risk of sarcoidosis was observed independent of sex and age in a recessive model (P = 0.001).
These results suggest that MRC1 is an important candidate gene for sarcoidosis. This is the first study to imply that genetic variants in MRC1, a major member of the C-type lectin, contribute to the development of sarcoidosis.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive and lethal disorder. Although the precise mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis are not fully understood, oxidant/antioxidant and Th1/Th2 balances may play an important role in many of the processes of inflammation and fibrosis. The transcription factor Nrf2 acts as a critical regulator for various inflammatory and immune responses by controlling oxidative stress. We therefore investigated the protective role of Nrf2 against the development of pulmonary fibrosis.
To generate pulmonary fibrosis, both wild-type C57BL/6 mice and Nrf2-deficient mice of the same background were administered bleomycin intratracheally.
The survival of Nrf2-deficient mice after bleomycin administration was significantly lower than that of wild-type mice. The degree of bleomycin-induced initial pulmonary inflammation and pulmonary fibrosis was much more severe in Nrf2-deficient mice than in wild-type mice. The expression of antioxidant enzymes and phase II detoxifying enzymes was significantly reduced in the lungs of Nrf2-deficient mice, concomitant with an elevation of lung 8-isoprostane level, compared with wild-type mice. The expression of Th2 cytokines, such as interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, was significantly elevated in the lungs of Nrf2-deficient mice with an increase in the number of Th2 cells that express GATA-binding protein 3.
The results indicated that Nrf2 protects against the development of pulmonary fibrosis by regulating the cellular redox level and lung Th1/Th2 balance. Thus, Nrf2 might be an important genetic factor in the determination of susceptibility to pulmonary fibrosis.
Rationale: Acquired pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) is a syndrome characterized by pulmonary surfactant accumulation occurring in association with granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor autoantibodies (autoimmune PAP) or as a consequence of another disease (secondary PAP). Because PAP is rare, prior reports were based on limited patient numbers or a synthesis of historical data.
Objectives: To describe the epidemiologic, clinical, physiologic, and laboratory features of autoimmune PAP in a large, contemporaneous cohort of patients with PAP.
Methods: Over 6 years, 248 patients with PAP were enrolled in a Japanese national registry, including 223 with autoimmune PAP.
Measurements and Main Results: Autoimmune PAP represented 89.9% of cases and had a minimum incidence and prevalence of 0.49 and 6.2 per million, respectively. The male to female ratio was 2.1:1, and the median age at diagnosis was 51 years. A history of smoking occurred in 56%, and dust exposure occurred in 23%; instances of familial onset did not occur. Dyspnea was the most common presenting symptom, occurring in 54.3%. Importantly, 31.8% of patients were asymptomatic and were identified by health screening. Intercurrent illnesses, including infections, were infrequent. A disease severity score reflecting the presence of symptoms and degree of hypoxemia correlated well with carbon monoxide diffusing capacity and serum biomarkers, less well with pulmonary function, and not with granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor autoantibody levels or duration of disease.
Conclusions: Autoimmune PAP had an incidence and prevalence higher than previously reported and was not strongly linked to smoking, occupational exposure, or other illnesses. The disease severity score and biomarkers provide novel and potentially useful outcome measures in PAP.
epidemiology; serum biomarkers; disease severity score; granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor; autoantibody