The development of organ fibrosis after injury requires activation of transforming growth factor β1 which regulates the transcription of profibrotic genes. The systemic administration of a proteasomal inhibitor has been reported to prevent the development of fibrosis in the liver, kidney and bone marrow. It is hypothesised that proteasomal inhibition would prevent lung and skin fibrosis after injury by inhibiting TGF-β1-mediated transcription.
Bortezomib, a small molecule proteasome inhibitor in widespread clinical use, was administered to mice beginning 7 days after the intratracheal or intradermal administration of bleomycin and lung and skin fibrosis was measured after 21 or 40 days, respectively. To examine the mechanism of this protection, bortezomib was administered to primary normal lung fibroblasts and primary lung and skin fibroblasts obtained from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and scleroderma, respectively.
Bortezomib promoted normal repair and prevented lung and skin fibrosis when administered beginning 7 days after the initiation of bleomycin. In primary human lung fibroblasts from normal individuals and patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and in skin fibroblasts from a patient with scleroderma, bortezomib inhibited TGF-β1-mediated target gene expression by inhibiting transcription induced by activated Smads. An increase in the abundance and activity of the nuclear hormone receptor PPARγ, a repressor of Smad-mediated transcription, contributed to this response.
Proteasomal inhibition prevents lung and skin fibrosis after injury in part by increasing the abundance and activity of PPARγ. Proteasomal inhibition may offer a novel therapeutic alternative in patients with dysregulated tissue repair and fibrosis.
To assess efficacy and safety of a new dry powder formulation of inhaled colistimethate sodium in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) aged ≥6 years with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection.
Study design and methods
A prospective, centrally randomised, phase III, open-label study in patients with stable CF aged ≥6 years with chronic P aeruginosa lung infection. Patients were randomised to Colobreathe dry powder for inhalation (CDPI, one capsule containing colistimethate sodium 1 662 500 IU, twice daily) or three 28-day cycles with twice-daily 300 mg/5 ml tobramycin inhaler solution (TIS). Study duration was 24 weeks.
380 patients were randomised. After logarithmic transformation of data due to a non-normal distribution, adjusted mean difference between treatment groups (CDPI vs TIS) in change in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1% predicted) at week 24 was −0.98% (95% CI −2.74% to 0.86%) in the intention-to-treat population (n=373) and −0.56% (95% CI −2.71% to 1.70%) in the per protocol population (n=261). The proportion of colistin-resistant isolates in both groups was ≤1.1%. The number of adverse events was similar in both groups. Significantly more patients receiving CDPI rated their device as ‘very easy or easy to use’ (90.7% vs 53.9% respectively; p<0.001).
CDPI demonstrated efficacy by virtue of non-inferiority to TIS in lung function after 24 weeks of treatment. There was no emergence of resistance of P aeruginosa to colistin. Overall, CDPI was well tolerated.
Trial Reg No
Cystic Fibrosis; Bacterial Infection; Inhaler devices; Nebuliser therapy
The composition of the lung microbiome contributes to both health and disease, including obstructive lung disease. Because it has been estimated that over 70% of the bacterial species on body surfaces cannot be cultured by currently available techniques, traditional culture techniques are no longer the gold standard for microbial investigation. Advanced techniques that identify bacterial sequences, including the 16S ribosomal RNA gene, have provided new insights into the depth and breadth of microbiota present both in the diseased and normal lung. In asthma, the composition of the microbiome of the lung and gut during early childhood development may play a key role in the development of asthma, while specific airway microbiota are associated with chronic asthma in adults. Early bacterial stimulation appears to reduce asthma susceptibility by helping the immune system develop lifelong tolerance to innocuous antigens. By contrast, perturbations in the microbiome from antibiotic use may increase the risk for asthma development. In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bacterial colonisation has been associated with a chronic bronchitic phenotype, increased risk of exacerbations, and accelerated loss of lung function. In cystic fibrosis, studies utilising culture-independent methods have identified associations between decreased bacterial community diversity and reduced lung function; colonisation with Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been associated with the presence of certain CFTR mutations. Genomic analysis of the lung microbiome is a young field, but has the potential to define the relationship between lung microbiome composition and disease course. Whether we can manipulate bacterial communities to improve clinical outcomes remains to be seen.
Traditional genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of large cohort of subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have successfully identified novel candidate genes, but several other plausible loci do not meet strict criteria for genome-wide significance after correction for multiple testing.
We hypothesize that by applying unbiased weights derived from unique populations we can identify additional COPD susceptibility loci.
We performed a homozygosity haplotype analysis on a group of subjects with and without COPD to identify regions of conserved homozygosity (RCHH). Weights were constructed based on the frequency of these RCHH in case vs. controls, and used to adjust the P values from a large collaborative GWAS of COPD.
We identified 2,318 regions of conserved homozygosity, of which 576 were significantly (P < .05) overrepresented in cases. After applying the weights constructed from these regions to a collaborative GWAS of COPD, we identified two single nucleotide polymorphisms in a novel gene (FGF7) that gained genome-wide significance by the false discovery rate method. In a follow-up analysis, both SNPs (rs12591300 and rs4480740) were significantly associated with COPD in an independent population (combined P values of 7.9E-07 and 2.8E-06 respectively). In another independent population, increased lung tissue FGF7 expression was associated with worse measures of lung function.
Weights constructed from a homozygosity haplotype analysis of an isolated population successfully identify novel genetic associations from a GWAS on a separate population. This method can be used to identify promising candidate genes that fail to meet strict correction for multiple testing.
CD200, a cell-surface immunoglobulin-like molecule expressed by immune and stromal cells, dampens the pro-inflammatory activity of tissue-resident innate cells via its receptor, CD200R. This interaction appears critical for peripheral immune tolerance, particularly in the airways where excessive inflammation is undesirable. Vitamin D contributes to pulmonary health and promotes regulatory immune pathways, therefore its influence on CD200 and CD200R was investigated.
CD200 and CD200R expression were assessed by qPCR and immunoreactivity of human lymphoid, myeloid and epithelial cells following 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25VitD3) exposure in vitro and in peripheral T cells following 1α,25VitD3 oral ingestion in vivo. The effect of 1α25VitD3 was also assessed in human airway-resident cells.
1α25VitD3 potently upregulated CD200 on peripheral human CD4+ T cells in vitro, and in vivo there was a trend towards upregulation in healthy, but not asthmatic individuals. CD200R expression was not modulated in any cells studied. CD200 induction was observed to a lesser extent in CD8+ T cells and not in B cells or airway epithelium. T cells isolated from the human airway also responded strongly to 1α25VitD3 to upregulate CD200.
The capacity of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 to induce CD200 expression by peripheral and respiratory tract T cells identifies an additional pathway via which vitamin D can restrain inflammation in the airways to maintain respiratory health.
The bronchial epithelium and underlying reticular basement membrane (RBM) have a close spatial and functional inter-relationship and are considered an epithelial–mesenchymal trophic unit (EMTU). An understanding of RBM development is critical to understanding the extent and time of appearance of its abnormal thickening that is characteristic of asthma.
RBM thickness and epithelial height were determined in histological sections of cartilaginous bronchi obtained postmortem from 47 preterm babies and infants (median age 40 weeks gestation (22 weeks gestation–8 months)), 40 children (2 years (1 month–17 years)) and 23 adults (44 (17–90) years) who had died from non-respiratory causes, and had no history of asthma.
The RBM was visible by light microscopy at 30 weeks gestation. RBM thickness increased in successive age groups in childhood; in infants (r=0.63, p<0.001) and in children between 1 month and 17 years (r=0.82, p<0.001). After 18 years, RBM thickness decreased with increasing age (r=−0.42, p<0.05). Epithelial height showed a similar relationship with age, a positive relationship from preterm to 17 years (r = 0.50, p<0.001) and a negative relationship in adulthood (r=−0.84, p<0.0001). There was a direct relationship between epithelial height and RBM thickness (r=0.6, p<0.001).
The RBM in these subjects was microscopically identifiable by 30 weeks gestation. It thickened during childhood and adolescence. In adults, there was either no relationship with age, or a slow reduction in thickness in older age. Developmental changes of RBM thickness were accompanied by similar changes in epithelial height, supporting the close relationship between RBM and epithelium within the EMTU.
The role of the innate immune system in asthma initiation is being increasingly recognised, and several innate epithelial cytokines, such as interleukin 33 (IL-33), IL-25 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin, have been described as important in asthma pathogenesis. However, until now, the mechanism by which these cytokines initiate Th2 responses and form a link with the adaptive immune system was undetermined. The recent discovery of a new group of non-T, non-B innate helper cells, which are induced by epithelial innate cytokines and secrete the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13, may provide a mechanism by which the innate and adaptive immune systems become activated in asthma.
The minimum age for the legal purchase of tobacco increased from 16 to 18 years in England, Scotland and Wales on 1 October 2007. The authors examined the impact of this legislation on disparities in smoking behaviour and access to cigarettes among youth in England.
A multivariate logistic regression analysis was carried out adjusting for secular trends in regular smoking using data from the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Survey, a national survey of 11e15 year olds. The primary outcome measure was regular smoking and the predictor variables were the law increasing the minimum age for purchase and eligibility for free school meals (FSM).
Increasing the minimum age for purchase was associated with a significant reduction in regular smoking among youth (adjusted OR 0.67; 95% CI 0.55 to 0.81, p=0.0005). This effect was not significantly different in pupils eligible for FSM compared with those that were not (adjusted OR 1.29; 95% CI 0.95 to 1.76, p=0.10 for interaction term). The percentage of pupils who stated that they found it difficult to buy cigarettes from a shop did not increase in those eligible for FSM (25.2% to 33.3%; p=0.21) but did increase significantly in others (21.2% to 36.9%; p<0.01) between 2006 and 2008. No differences in ease of purchase were found between pupils eligible for FSM and those not before or after the legislation (2006: p=0.34, 2008: p=0.55).
Increasing the age for the legal purchase of tobacco was associated with reduced regular smoking among youth in England and appeared to have a similar impact in different socio-economic groups.
Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for COPD and COPD severity. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and a Dopamine Beta-Hydroxylase (DBH) locus associated with smoking cessation in multiple populations.
To identify SNPs associated with lifetime average and current CPD, age at smoking initiation, and smoking cessation in COPD subjects.
GWAS were conducted in 4 independent cohorts encompassing 3,441 ever-smoking COPD subjects (GOLD stage II or higher). Untyped SNPs were imputed using HapMap (phase II) panel. Results from all cohorts were meta-analyzed.
Several SNPs near the HLA region on chromosome 6p21 and in an intergenic region on chromosome 2q21 showed associations with age at smoking initiation, both with the lowest p=2×10−7. No SNPs were associated with lifetime average CPD, current CPD or smoking cessation with p<10−6. Nominally significant associations with candidate SNPs within alpha-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors 3/5 (CHRNA3/CHRNA5; e.g. p=0.00011 for SNP rs1051730) and Cytochrome P450 2A6 (CYP2A6; e.g. p=2.78×10−5 for a nonsynonymous SNP rs1801272) regions were observed for lifetime average CPD, however only CYP2A6 showed evidence of significant association with current CPD. A candidate SNP (rs3025343) in the DBH was significantly (p=0.015) associated with smoking cessation.
We identified two candidate regions associated with age at smoking initiation in COPD subjects. Associations of CHRNA3/CHRNA5 and CYP2A6 loci with CPD and DBH with smoking cessation are also likely of importance in the smoking behaviors of COPD patients.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Genome Wide Association study (GWAS); smoking behaviors; Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)
National analyses of mortality in England and Wales have repeatedly shown excess deaths from pneumonia in welders. During 1979-1990 the excess was attributable largely to deaths from lobar pneumonia and pneumonias other than bronchopneumonia, limited to working-aged men, and apparent in other metal fume-exposed occupations. We assessed findings for 1991-2000 and compared the mortality pattern with that from asthma in occupations exposed to known respiratory sensitizers.
The Office of National Statistics supplied data on deaths by underlying cause among men aged 16-74 years in England and Wales during 1991-2000, including age and last held occupation. We abstracted data on pneumonia for occupations with exposure to metal fume and on asthma for occupations commonly reported to surveillance schemes as at risk of occupational asthma. We estimated expected numbers of deaths by applying age-specific proportions of deaths by cause in the population to the total deaths by age in each occupational group. Observed and expected numbers were compared for each cause of death.
Among working-aged men in metal fume-exposed occupations we found excesses of mortality from pneumococcal and lobar pneumonia (54 deaths vs. 27.3 expected) and from pneumonias other than bronchopneumonia (71 vs. 52.4), but no excess from these causes at older ages, or from bronchopneumonia at any age. The attributable mortality from metal fume (45.3 excess deaths) compared with an estimated 62.6 deaths from occupational asthma.
Exposure to metal fume is a material cause of occupational mortality. The hazard deserves far more attention than it presently receives.
Elevated plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) levels are associated with adverse clinical outcome in patients with pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. However, whether PAI-1 plays a pathogenic role in the breakdown of the alveolar–capillary barrier caused by P aeruginosa is unknown.
The role of PAI-1 in pulmonary host defence and survival during P aeruginosa pneumonia in mice was tested. The in vitro mechanisms by which P aeruginosa causes PAI-1 gene and protein expression in lung endothelial and epithelial cells were also examined.
Methods and results
PAI-1 null and wild-type mice that were pretreated with the PAI-1 inhibitor Tiplaxtinin had a significantly lower increase in lung vascular permeability than wild-type littermates after the airspace instillation of 1 × 107 colony-forming units (CFU) of P aeruginosa bacteria. Furthermore, P aeruginosa in vitro induced the expression of the PAI-1 gene and protein in a TLR4/p38/RhoA/NF-κB (Toll-like receptor 4/p38/RhoA/nuclear factor-κB) manner in lung endothelial and alveolar epithelial cells. However, in vivo disruption of PAI-1 signalling was associated with higher mortality at 24 h (p<0.03) and higher bacterial burden in the lungs secondary to decreased neutrophil migration into the distal airspace in response to P aeruginosa.
The results indicate that PAI-1 is a critical mediator that controls the development of the early lung inflammation that is required for the activation of the later innate immune response necessary for the eradication of P aeruginosa from the distal airspaces of the lung.
Recent research suggests that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are able to migrate specifically to tumours and their metastases throughout the body. This has led to considerable excitement about the possibility of modifying these cells to express anticancer molecules and using them as specific targeted anticancer agents. However, there are concerns that systemically delivered MSCs may have non-desirable effects, and there are also many unanswered questions including the mechanism of tumour homing. This review investigates the different MSC-delivered anticancer agents, addresses the questions and concerns, and tries to place this potential therapy in future cancer management.
Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) has emerged as an important tool for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer but its role in the diagnosis of tuberculous intrathoracic lymphadenopathy has not been established. The aim of this study was to describe the diagnostic utility of EBUS-TBNA in patients with intrathoracic lymphadenopathy due to tuberculosis (TB).
156 consecutive patients with isolated intrathoracic TB lymphadenitis were studied across four centres over a 2-year period. Only patients with a confirmed diagnosis or unequivocal clinical and radiological response to antituberculous treatment during follow-up for a minimum of 6 months were included. All patients underwent routine clinical assessment and a CT scan prior to EBUS-TBNA. Demographic data, HIV status, pathological findings and microbiological results were recorded.
EBUS-TBNA was diagnostic of TB in 146 patients (94%; 95% CI 88% to 97%). Pathological findings were consistent with TB in 134 patients (86%). Microbiological investigations yielded a positive culture of TB in 74 patients (47%) with a median time to positive culture of 16 days (range 3–84) and identified eight drug-resistant cases (5%). Ten patients (6%) did not have a specific diagnosis following EBUS; four underwent mediastinoscopy which confirmed the diagnosis of TB while six responded to empirical antituberculous therapy. There was one complication requiring an inpatient admission.
EBUS-TBNA is a safe and effective first-line investigation in patients with tuberculous intrathoracic lymphadenopathy.
Refractory asthma represents a significant unmet clinical need. Data from a national online registry audited clinical outcome in 349 adults with refractory asthma from four UK specialist centres in the British Thoracic Society Difficult Asthma Network. At follow-up, lung function improved, with a reduction in important healthcare outcomes, specifically hospital admission, unscheduled healthcare visits and rescue courses of oral steroids. The most frequent therapeutic intervention was maintenance oral corticosteroids and most steroid sparing agents (apart from omalizumab) demonstrated minimal steroid sparing benefit. A significant unmet clinical need remains in this group, specifically a requirement for therapies which reduce systemic steroid exposure.
Refractory asthma; national registry; clinical assessment and outcome; asthma phenotypes; asthma; asthma epidemiology; asthma guidelines; allergic lung disease; eosinophil biology; occupational lung disease; airway epithelium; asthma mechanisms; asthma pharmacology; COPD epidemiology; COPD exacerbations
To assess associations between exposure to smoking depictions in films and adolescent tobacco use in a British population cohort.
Data on exposure to smoking in films and smoking behaviour were collected from 5166 15-year-old adolescents in the UK. Main outcome measures were smoking initiation (ever tried a cigarette) and current smoking status. Social, family and behavioural factors were adjusted for, together with alcohol use and peer smoking as potential mediators. Data from all existing cross-sectional studies examining the effects of exposure to smoking in films were summarised in a meta-analysis.
Higher exposure to smoking in films was associated with a dose-response increase in the risk of smoking initiation even after adjusting for confounders. Adolescents in the highest exposure quartile were 1.73 (95% CI 1.55 to 1.93) times (RR) more likely to initiate smoking than those in the lowest quartile. They were more likely to report current smoking after adjusting for social and familial factors (RR 1.47 (95% CI 1.07 to 2.02)), but the association attenuated after including behavioural factors (RR 1.34 (95% CI 0.95 to 1.87)). The meta-analysis shows that, after aggregation of all relevant data, viewing smoking in films increases the risk of smoking onset by over 100% (combined RR 2.13 (95% CI 1.76 to 2.57)) and the risk of current or established smoking behaviour by 68% (combined RR 1.68 (95% CI 0.40 to 2.01)).
This study provides evidence that adolescents in the UK and elsewhere who are exposed to smoking depictions in films are more likely to initiate smoking. Given the association between smoking and poor health outcomes, these data justify a review of film ratings.
Criteria for a clinically significant bronchodilator response (BDR) are mainly based on studies in patients with obstructive lung diseases. Little is known about the BDR in healthy general populations, and even less about the worldwide patterns.
10 360 adults aged 40 years and older from 14 countries in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia participated in the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease study. Spirometry was used before and after an inhaled bronchodilator to determine the distribution of the BDR in population-based samples of healthy non-smokers and individuals with airflow obstruction.
In 3922 healthy never smokers, the weighted pooled estimate of the 95th percentiles (95% CI) for bronchodilator response were 284 ml (263 to 305) absolute change in forced expiratory volume in 1 s from baseline (ΔFEV1); 12.0% (11.2% to 12.8%) change relative to initial value (%ΔFEV1i); and 10.0% (9.5% to 10.5%) change relative to predicted value (%ΔFEV1p). The corresponding mean changes in forced vital capacity (FVC) were 322 ml (271 to 373) absolute change from baseline (ΔFVC); 10.5% (8.9% to 12.0%) change relative to initial value (ΔFVCi); and 9.2% (7.9% to 10.5%) change relative to predicted value (ΔFVCp). The proportion who exceeded the above threshold values in the subgroup with spirometrically defined Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stage 2 and higher (FEV1/FVC <0.7 and FEV1% predicted <80%) were 11.1%, 30.8% and 12.9% respectively for the FEV1-based thresholds and 22.6%, 28.6% and 22.1% respectively for the FVC-based thresholds.
The results provide reference values for bronchodilator responses worldwide that confirm guideline estimates for a clinically significant level of BDR in bronchodilator testing.
Bronchodilator response; spirometry; populations; COPD epidemiology; COPD exacerbations; emphysema; respiratory measurement; asthma epidemiology; clinical epidemiology; bronchoscopy; asthma; occupational lung disease; tobacco and the lung; COPD mechanisms
The death receptor ligand tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) shows considerable clinical promise as a therapeutic agent. TRAIL induces leukocyte apoptosis, reducing acute inflammatory responses in the lung. It is not known whether TRAIL modifies chronic lung injury or whether TRAIL has a role in human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We therefore explored the capacity of TRAIL to modify chronic inflammatory lung injury and studied TRAIL expression in patients with IPF.
TRAIL−/− and wild-type mice were instilled with bleomycin and inflammation assessed at various time points by bronchoalveolar lavage and histology. Collagen deposition was measured by tissue hydroxyproline content. TRAIL expression in human IPF lung samples was assessed by immunohistochemistry and peripheral blood TRAIL measured by ELISA.
TRAIL−/− mice had an exaggerated delayed inflammatory response to bleomycin, with increased neutrophil numbers (mean 3.19±0.8 wild type vs 11.5±5.4×104 TRAIL−/−, p<0.0001), reduced neutrophil apoptosis (5.42±1.6% wild type vs 2.47±0.5% TRAIL−/−, p=0.0003) and increased collagen (3.45±0.2 wild type vs 5.8±1.3 mg TRAIL−/−, p=0.005). Immunohistochemical analysis showed induction of TRAIL in bleomycin-treated wild-type mice. Patients with IPF demonstrated lower levels of TRAIL expression than in control lung biopsies and their serum levels of TRAIL were significantly lower compared with matched controls (38.1±9.6 controls vs 32.3±7.2 pg/ml patients with IPF, p=0.002).
These data suggest TRAIL may exert beneficial, anti-inflammatory actions in chronic pulmonary inflammation in murine models and that these mechanisms may be compromised in human IPF.
Neutrophil; apoptosis; death ligand; bleomycin; cytokine biology; innate immunity; interstitial fibrosis; primary pulmonary hypertension; bacterial infection; lymphocyte biology; macrophage biology; pneumonia; respiratory infection; neutrophil biology; histology/cytology; COPD mechanisms; allergic lung disease; asthma; eosinophil biology; allergic alveolitis; lung proteases; sarcoidosis
The oxidant/antioxidant balance in lung tissue is hypothesised to contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk. Observational studies consistently report higher antioxidant status associated with lower COPD risk, but few randomised studies have been reported.
A post-hoc analysis of 38,597 women without chronic lung disease at baseline was conducted in the Women’s Health Study (WHS) to test the effect of vitamin E on risk of incident chronic lung disease. The WHS was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, factorial trial of vitamin E (600 IU every other day) and aspirin (100 mg every other day) in female health professionals aged ≥45. Using Cox proportional hazards models, the effect of randomised vitamin E assignment on self-reported, physician-diagnosed chronic lung disease was evaluated.
During 10 years of follow-up (376,710 person-years), 760 first occurrences of chronic lung disease were reported in the vitamin E arm compared to 846 in the placebo arm (Hazard Ratio [HR] 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.81–0.99; p=0.029). This 10% reduction in the risk of incident chronic lung disease was not modified by cigarette smoking, age, randomised aspirin assignment, multivitamin use, or dietary vitamin E intake (minimum P for interaction = 0.19). Current cigarette smoking was a strong predictor of chronic lung disease risk (HR 4.17; 95% CI 3.70–4.70; versus never smokers).
In this large, randomised trial, assignment to 600 IU of vitamin E led to a 10% reduction in the risk of chronic lung disease in women.
pulmonary disease; chronic obstructive; antioxidants; tocopherols; intervention studies; randomised controlled trial
The identification of gene-by-environment interactions is important to understand the genetic basis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Many COPD genetic association analyses assume a linear relationship between pack-years of smoking exposure and FEV1; however, this assumption has not been evaluated empirically in cohorts with a wide spectrum of COPD severity.
We examined the relationship between FEV1 and pack-years of smoking exposure in 4 large cohorts assembled for the purpose of identifying genetic associations with COPD. Using data from the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Genetic Modifiers Study, we compared the accuracy and power of two different approaches to model smoking by performing a simulation study of a genetic variant with a range of gene-by-smoking interaction effects.
We identified nonlinear relationships between smoking and FEV1 in 4 large cohorts. We demonstrated that in most situations where the relationship between pack-years and FEV1 is nonlinear, a piecewise-linear approach to model smoking and gene-by-smoking interactions is preferable to the commonly used total pack-years approach. We applied the piecewise linear approach to a genetic association analysis of the PI*Z allele in the Norway case-control cohort and identified a potential PI*Z-by-smoking interaction (p=0.03 for FEV1 analysis, p= 0.01 for COPD susceptibility analysis).
In study samples with subjects having a wide range of COPD severity, a nonlinear relationship between pack-years of smoking and FEV1 is likely. In this setting, approaches that account for this nonlinearity can be more powerful and less-biased than the commonly-used approach of using total pack-years to model the smoking effect.
smoking; FEV1; gene-by-environment interaction; COPD; gene
Relationships between indoor air quality (IAQ) found in schools and the allergic and respiratory health of schoolchildren have been insufficiently explored. A survey was conducted in a large sample of classrooms of primary schools in France to provide objective assessments of IAQ to which young schoolchildren are exposed in classrooms, and to relate exposure to major air pollutants found in classrooms to asthma and allergies of schoolchildren.
Concentrations of fine particles with aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and three aldehydes were objectively assessed in 401 randomly chosen classrooms in 108 primary schools attended by 6590 children (mean age 10.4 years, SD ±0.7) in the French 6 Cities Study. The survey incorporated a medical visit including skin prick testing (SPT) for common allergens, a test for screening exercise-induced asthma (EIA) and a standardised health questionnaire completed by parents.
Children were differently exposed to poor air quality in classrooms, with almost 30% being highly exposed according to available standards. After adjusting for confounders, past year rhinoconjunctivitis was significantly associated with high levels of formaldehyde in classrooms (OR 1.19; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.36). Additionally, an increased prevalence of past year asthma was found in the classrooms with high levels of PM2.5 (OR 1.21; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.39), acrolein (OR 1.22; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.38) and NO2 (OR 1.16; 95% CI 0.95 to 1.41) compared with others. The relationship was observed mostly for allergic asthma as defined using SPT. A significant positive correlation was found between EIA and the levels of PM2.5 and acrolein in the same week.
In this random sample, air quality in classrooms was poor, varied significantly among schools and cities, and was related to an increased prevalence of clinical manifestations of asthma and rhinitis in schoolchildren. Children with a background of allergies seemed at increased risk.
PM2.5; NO2; FA; VOC; asthma; allergic rhinitis; skin prick test positivity; asthma epidemiology; COPD epidemiology; paediatric asthma; tobacco and the lung; respiratory muscles; assisted ventilation
Tuberculous pleurisy is traditionally indicated by extreme lymphocytosis in pleural fluid and low yield of effusion culture. However, there is considerable inconsistency among previous study results. In addition, these data should be updated due to early effusion studies and advances in culture methods.
From January 2004 to June 2009, patients with tuberculous pleurisy were retrospectively identified from the mycobacteriology laboratories and the pathology and tuberculosis registration databases of two hospitals in Taiwan where tuberculosis is endemic. Pleural fluid characteristics and yields of mycobacterial cultures using liquid media were evaluated.
A total of 382 patients with tuberculous pleurisy were identified. The median lymphocyte percentage of total cells in pleural fluids was 84% (IQR 64–95%) and 17% of cases had a lymphocyte percentage of <50%. The lymphocyte percentage was negatively associated with the probability of a positive effusion culture (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.96 to 0.99). The diagnostic yields were 63% for effusion culture, 48% for sputum culture, 79% for the combination of effusion and sputum cultures, and 74% for histological examination of pleural biopsy specimens.
The degree of lymphocyte predominance in tuberculous pleurisy was lower than was previously thought. The lymphocyte percentage in pleural fluid was negatively associated with the probability of a positive effusion culture. With the implementation of a liquid culture method, the sensitivity of effusion culture was much higher than has been previously reported, and the combination of effusion and sputum cultures provided a good diagnostic yield.
Diagnosis; Mycobacterium; pleural effusion; pleuritis; tuberculosis; ARDS; assisted ventilation; clinical epidemiology; respiratory infection; bronchoscopy; COPD mechanisms; atypical mycobacterial infection; COPD epidemiology; lung cancer; lung cancer chemotherapy; non-small cell lung cancer; pneumonia
Although diabetes mellitus is implicated in susceptibility to infection, the association of diabetes with the subsequent course and outcome is unclear.
Design and setting
Retrospective analysis of two multicenter cohorts. We determined the association of pre-existing diabetes on the host immune response, acute organ function, and mortality in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the GenIMS study (n=1895) and on mortality following either CAP or non-infectious hospitalizations in the population-based cohort study, Health ABC (n=1639).
Mortality rate within first year, risk of organ dysfunction, and immune responses, including circulating inflammatory (tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6, interleukin-10), coagulation (Factor IX, thrombin-antithrombin complexes, antithrombin), fibrinolysis (plasminogen-activator inhibitor-1, and D-dimer), and cell-surface markers (CD120a, CD120b, HLA-DR, TLR-2 and TLR-4).
In GenIMS, diabetes increased mortality rate within first year after CAP (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR]=1.41, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.12–1.76, p=0.002), even after adjusting for pre-existing cardiovascular and renal disease (adjusted HR=1.3, CI=1.03–1.65, p=0.02). In Health ABC, diabetes increased mortality rate within first year following CAP hospitalization, but not after hospitalization for non-infectious illnesses (significant interaction for diabetes and reason for hospitalization [p=0.04]; HR for diabetes on mortality over first year after CAP 1.87, CI=0.76–4.6, p=0.16 and after non-infectious hospitalization=1.16, CI=0.8–1.6, p=0.37). In GenIMS, immediate immune response was similar, as evidenced by similar circulating immune marker levels in the emergency department and during the first week. Those with diabetes had higher risk of acute kidney injury during hospitalization (39.3% vs. 31.7%, p=0.005) and they were more likely to die due to cardiovascular and kidney disease (34.4% vs. 26.8% and 10.4% vs. 4.5%, p=0.03).
Pre-existing diabetes was associated with a higher risk of death following CAP. The mechanism is not due to an altered immune response, at least as measured by a broad panel of circulating and cell surface markers, but may be due to worsening of pre-existing cardiovascular and kidney disease.
Although generally mild, the 2009–2010 influenza A/H1N1 pandemic caused two major surges in hospital admissions in the UK. The characteristics of patients admitted during successive waves are described.
Data were systematically obtained on 1520 patients admitted to 75 UK hospitals between May 2009 and January 2010. Multivariable analyses identified factors predictive of severe outcome.
Patients aged 5–54 years were over-represented compared with winter seasonal admissions for acute respiratory infection, as were non-white ethnic groups (first wave only). In the second wave patients were less likely to be school age than in the first wave, but their condition was more likely to be severe on presentation to hospital and they were more likely to have delayed admission. Overall, 45% had comorbid conditions, 16.5% required high dependency (level 2) or critical (level 3) care and 5.3% died. As in 1918–1919, the likelihood of severe outcome by age followed a W-shaped distribution. Pre-admission antiviral drug use decreased from 13.3% to 10% between the first and second waves (p=0.048), while antibiotic prescribing increased from 13.6% to 21.6% (p<0.001). Independent predictors of severe outcome were age 55–64 years, chronic lung disease (non-asthma, non-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), neurological disease, recorded obesity, delayed admission (≥5 days after illness onset), pneumonia, C-reactive protein ≥100 mg/litre, and the need for supplemental oxygen or intravenous fluid replacement on admission.
There were demographic, ethnic and clinical differences between patients admitted with pandemic H1N1 infection and those hospitalised during seasonal influenza activity. Despite national policies favouring use of antiviral drugs, few patients received these before admission and many were given antibiotics.
Influenza; human; influenza A virus; H1N1 subtype; hospitalisation; mortality; critical care; clinical epidemiology; pneumonia; tobacco and the lung; bronchoscopy; paediatric asthma; paediatric lung disaese; paediatric physician; respiratory infection; viral infection; bacterial infection; asthma; cytokine biology; lymphocyte biology