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1.  Systemic signs of neutrophil mobilization during clinically stable periods and during exacerbations in smokers with obstructive pulmonary disease 
It is still unclear whether signs of neutrophil mobilization in the blood of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease represent true systemic events and how these relate to bacterial colonization in the airways. In this study, we evaluated these issues during clinically stable periods and during exacerbations in smokers with obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic bronchitis (OPD-CB).
Over a period of 60 weeks for each subject, blood samples were repeatedly collected from 60 smokers with OPD-CB during clinically stable periods, as well as during and after exacerbations. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) and neutrophil elastase (NE) protein and mRNA, growth of bacteria in sputum, and clinical parameters were analyzed. Ten asymptomatic smokers and ten never-smokers were included as controls.
We found that, during clinically stable periods, neutrophil and NE protein concentrations were increased in smokers with OPD-CB and in the asymptomatic smokers when compared with never-smokers. During exacerbations, neutrophil and MPO protein concentrations were further increased in smokers with OPD-CB, without a detectable increase in the corresponding mRNA during exacerbations. However, MPO and NE protein and mRNA displayed positive correlations. During exacerbations, only increased neutrophil concentrations were associated with growth of bacteria in sputum. Among patients with low transcutaneous oxygen saturation during exacerbations, PaO2 (partial oxygen pressure) correlated with concentrations of MPO and NE protein and neutrophils in a negative manner.
There are signs of systemic neutrophil mobilization during clinically stable periods and even more so during exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In this condition, MPO and NE may share a cellular origin, but its location remains uncertain. Factors other than local bacteria, including hypoxemia, may be important for driving systemic signs of neutrophil mobilization.
PMCID: PMC4493974  PMID: 26170654
C-reactive protein; COPD; elastase; infection; myeloperoxidase; oxygen
2.  Novel c.2216T > C (p.I739T) Mutation in Exon 13 and c.1481T > A (p.L494X) Mutation in Exon 8 of MUT Gene in a Female with Methylmalonic Acidemia 
Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics  2013;67(1):185-187.
We report herein a 1.5-year-old girl with methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) in whom two missense mutations were found: a novel I739T mutation located in exon 13 and the L494X mutation in exon 8. The results of organic acid test showed a pronounced increase in methylmalonate excretion with increased methylcitrate and 3-OH-propionate excretion, leading to a diagnosis of MMA, and Vitamin B12 administration was started. Analysis of the mut gene confirmed a T-to-A substitution at nucleotide position 1481 in exon 8 and a T-to-C substitution at nucleotide position 2216 in exon 13, leading to the amino acid isoleucine at position 739 being changed to threonine, resulting in c.2216T > C (p.I739T). The patient has now been on high-dose oral administration of Vitamin B12 and carnitine therapy (900 mg of levocarnitine chloride) for 5 years without experiencing further attacks, and her cognitive and motor development is normal. Further tests on residual enzyme activity, as well as experience with more cases, may shed light on the relationship between gene mutations and phenotypes in MMA.
PMCID: PMC3756855  PMID: 23479330
Methylmalonic acidemia; l-Methylmalonyl-CoA mutase; Vitamin B12
3.  Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Gene Promoter Polymorphisms Are Associated with Susceptibility to Bronchial Asthma 
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.
PMCID: PMC3159073  PMID: 20656951
asthma; TSLP; bronchial epithelial cells; combination therapy; genetic polymorphisms
4.  Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies HLA-DP as a Susceptibility Gene for Pediatric Asthma in Asian Populations 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(7):e1002170.
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.
Author Summary
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.
PMCID: PMC3140987  PMID: 21814517
5.  A gender difference in circulating neutrophils in malnourished patients with COPD 
Circulating markers of inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may correlate to disease progression and extrapulmonary complications such as malnourishment. However, surprisingly little is known about gender-related differences for circulating inflammatory markers in COPD.
To characterize differences in circulating markers of inflammation in malnourished female and male patients with COPD.
Thirty female and 11 male patients with a clinical diagnosis of COPD and malnourishment were examined. A group of control subjects without evidence of COPD was recruited for comparison of some variables.
Blood samples were drawn, and the following parameters were studied: leukocytes and differential counts, C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8, myeloperoxidase (MPO), neutrophil elastase (NE), intracellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular endothelial adhesion molecule-1, and E-selectin.
The mean neutrophil concentration was significantly (P = 0.019) higher in female (4.5 × 109/L) than in male patients with COPD (3.5 × 109/L) and significantly higher than in female control subjects (3.1 × 109/L) (P < 0.01, n = 85). The mean CRP values were considerably higher in female (4.9 mg/mL) than in male patients with COPD (1.5 mg/mL), but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.20). The mean concentrations of IL-6 and IL-8 tended to be higher in female than in male patients with COPD, but these differences did not reach statistical significance either (P > 0.05). Confounding factors (smoking, medication) could not explain the gender differences noted. The concentrations of MPO and NE displayed a strong correlation (r = 0.89; P < 0.01, n = 41) but revealed no gender differences. The latter was true for concentrations of adhesion molecules as well.
Our study puts forward evidence of a gender-related difference in systemic inflammation in malnourished patients with COPD in terms of circulating neutrophils being more abundant in female patients. Among these female patients, there was also a trend toward an increase in two neutrophil-mobilizing cytokines. New and better-powered studies are warranted to confirm and characterize this potentially important phenomenon in greater detail.
PMCID: PMC3048083  PMID: 21407820
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; inflammatory markers; leukocytosis; malnutrition
6.  Large scale genotyping study for asthma in the Japanese population 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:54.
Asthma is a complex phenotype that is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Genome-wide linkage and association studies have been performed to identify susceptibility genes for asthma. These studies identified new genes and pathways implicated in this disease, many of which were previously unknown.
To perform a large-scale genotyping study to identify asthma-susceptibility genes in the Japanese population.
We performed a large-scale, three-stage association study on 288 atopic asthmatics and 1032 controls, by using multiplex PCR-Invader assay methods at 82,935 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (1st stage). SNPs that were strongly associated with asthma were further genotyped in samples from asthmatic families (216 families, 762 members, 2nd stage), 541 independent patients, and 744 controls (3rd stage).
SNPs located in the 5' region of PEX19 (rs2820421) were significantly associated with P < 0.05 through the 1st to the 3rd stage analyses; however, the P values did not reach statistically significant levels (combined, P = 3.8 × 10-5; statistically significant levels with Bonferroni correction, P = 6.57 × 10-7). SNPs on HPCAL1 (rs3771140) and on IL18R1 (rs3213733) were associated with asthma in the 1st and 2nd stage analyses, but the associations were not observed in the 3rd stage analysis.
No association attained genome-wide significance, but several loci for possible association emerged. Future studies are required to validate these results for the prevention and treatment of asthma.
PMCID: PMC2674055  PMID: 19335888
7.  Long lasting smooth muscle relaxation by a novel PACAP analogue in guinea-pig and primate airways in vitro 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1997;121(8):1730-1734.
We compared the relaxant effect of pituitary adenylate cyclase activating peptide (PACAP) 1–27 with that of a newly developed PACAP 1–27 analogue, [Arg15,20,21Leu17]-PACAP-Gly-Lys-Arg-NH2, in the guinea-pig trachea and primate bronchi in vitro (n=4–5).In the guinea-pig trachea precontracted by a submaximally effective carbachol concentration (0.1 μM), cumulative administration of PACAP 1–27 and the β2-adrenoceptor agonist salbutamol (3 nM–3 μM) caused significant and concentration-dependent smooth muscle relaxation, with salbutamol being approximately one log-step more potent in this model. However, in primate bronchi precontracted by carbachol (0.1 μM), cumulative administration of PACAP 1–27 and salbutamol caused concentration-dependent smooth muscle relaxation with very similar potencies and maximum relaxant effects.In the guinea-pig trachea, non-cumulative administration of the PACAP 1–27 analogue and the original PACAP 1–27 (0.3–3 μM) caused concentration-dependent relaxation with a very similar maximum relaxant effect and potency. However, the onset and offset of action was markedly slower for the PACAP 1–27 analogue than for the original PACAP 1–27 (>90% versus <10% of peak relaxation remaining 6 h after administration). Separate experiments confirmed that the PACAP 1–27 analogue also caused significant relaxation with slower onset and offset of action than did the original PACAP 1–27 in primate bronchi.Peptidase inhibition by captopril (10 μM) and phosphoramidon (1 μM) significantly increased the maximum relaxant effect and duration of action of PACAP 1–27 but not of the PACAP 1–27 analogue, during the 3 h of observation in the guinea-pig trachea.We conclude that [Arg15,20,21Leu17]-PACAP-Gly-Lys-Arg-NH2 produces significant, concentration-dependent and sustained airway smooth muscle relaxation in vitro. The sustained relaxant effect is due, at least in part, to the PACAP 1–27 analogue being less susceptible to cleavage by peptidases than the original peptide PACAP 1–27.
PMCID: PMC1564867  PMID: 9283710
Bronchodilator; guinea-pig airways; pituitary adenylate cyclase activating peptide (PACAP); primate airways; smooth muscle relaxation; salbutamol

Results 1-7 (7)