Many studies have found that risk of childhood asthma varies by month of birth, but few have examined ambient aeroallergens as an explanatory factor.
To examine whether birth during seasons of elevated ambient fungal spore or pollen concentrations is associated with risk of early wheezing or blood levels of Th1- and Th2-type cells at 24 months of age.
514 children were enrolled before birth and followed to 24 months of age. Early wheezing was determined from medical records and Th1 and Th2-type cells were measured in peripheral blood using flow cytometry. Ambient aeroallergen concentrations were measured throughout the study period and discrete seasons of high spore and pollen concentrations were defined.
A seasonal pattern was observed, with birth in the fall-winter (the fungal spore season) associated with increased odds of early wheezing (adjusted odds ratio = 3.1; 95% confidence interval: 1.3, 7.4). Increasing mean daily concentrations of basidiospores and ascospores in the first three months of life were associated with increased odds of wheeze, as were increasing mean daily concentrations of total and specific pollen types. Levels of Th1 cells at age 24 months were positively associated with mean fungal spore concentrations and negatively associated with mean pollen concentrations in the first three months of life.
Children with higher exposure to fungal spores and pollen in the first three months of life were at increased risk of early wheezing. This association was independent of other seasonal factors, including ambient PM2.5 levels and lower respiratory infections.
asthma; wheeze; birth season; mold; pollen; epidemiology
Systemic blockade of Tissue Factor (TF) attenuates acute lung injury (ALI) in animal models of sepsis but the effects of global TF deficiency are unknown.
We used mice with complete knockout of mouse TF and low levels (~1%) of human TF (LTF mice) to test the hypothesis that global TF deficiency attenuates lung inflammation in direct lung injury.
LTF mice were treated with 10 μg of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or vehicle administered by direct intratracheal (IT) injection and studied at 24 hours.
Contrary to our hypothesis, LTF mice had increased lung inflammation and injury as measured by bronchoalveolar lavage cell count (3.4 × 105 WT LPS versus 3.3 × 105 LTF LPS, p=0.947) and protein (493 μg/ml WT LPS versus 1014 μg/ml LTF LPS, p=0.006), proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-10, IL-12, p<0.035 WT LPS versus LTF LPS) and histology compared to wild type mice. LTF mice also had increased hemorrhage and free hemoglobin in the airspace accompanied by increased oxidant stress as measured by lipid peroxidation products (F2-Isoprostanes and Isofurans).
These findings indicate that global TF deficiency does not confer protection in a direct lung injury model. Rather, TF deficiency causes increased intra-alveolar hemorrhage following LPS leading to increased lipid peroxidation. Strategies to globally inhibit tissue factor may be deleterious in patients with ALI.
Coagulation; free hemoglobin; acute lung injury; acute respiratory distress syndrome; alveolar hemorrhage
Obesity and asthma have increased in westernised countries. Maternal obesity may increase childhood asthma risk. If this relation is causal it may be mediated through factors associated with maternal adiposity, such as fetal development, pregnancy complications or infant adiposity. We investigated the relationships of maternal BMI and fat mass with childhood wheeze and examined the influences of infant weight gain and childhood obesity.
Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and estimated fat mass (from skinfold thicknesses) were related to asthma, wheeze and atopy in 940 children. Transient or persistent/late wheeze was classified using questionnaire data collected at ages 6, 12, 24 and 36 months and 6 years. At 6 years, skin prick testing was conducted and exhaled nitric oxide and spirometry measured. Infant adiposity gain was calculated from skinfold thickness at birth and 6 months.
Greater maternal BMI and fat mass were associated with increased childhood wheeze (RR 1.08 per 5 kg m−2, p=0.006; RR 1.09 per 10 kg, p=0.003); these reflected associations with transient wheeze (RR 1.11, p=0.003; RR 1.13, p=0.002, respectively) but not with persistent wheeze or asthma. Infant adiposity gain was associated with persistent wheeze but not significantly. Adjusting for infant adiposity gain or BMI at 3 or 6 years did not reduce the association between maternal adiposity and transient wheeze. Maternal adiposity was not associated with offspring atopy, exhaled nitric oxide, or spirometry.
Greater maternal adiposity is associated with transient wheeze but not asthma or atopy, suggesting effects upon airway structure/function but not allergic predisposition.
adiposity; body mass index; obesity; asthma; allergic sensitisation
Cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common life-shortening genetic disorder in Caucasians, affects approximately 70 000 individuals worldwide. In 1998, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) launched the CF Therapeutics Development Network (CF-TDN) as a central element of its Therapeutics Development Programme. Designed to accelerate the clinical evaluation of new therapies needed to fulfil the CFF mission to control and cure CF, the CF-TDN has conducted 75 clinical trials since its inception, and has contributed to studies as varied as initial safety and proof of concept trials to pivotal programmes required for regulatory approval. This review highlights recent and significant research efforts of the CF-TDN, including a summary of contributions to studies involving CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators, airway surface liquid hydrators and mucus modifiers, anti-infectives, anti-inflammatories, and nutritional therapies. Efforts to advance CF biomarkers, necessary to accelerate the therapeutic goals of the network, are also summarised.
asthma; thunderstorms; Southeast USA
VX-809, a cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulator, has been shown to increase the cell surface density of functional F508del-CFTR in vitro.
A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the safety, tolerability and pharmacodynamics of VX-809 in adult patients with cystic fibrosis (n=89) who were homozygous for the F508del-CFTR mutation. Subjects were randomised to one of four VX-809 28 day dose groups (25, 50, 100 and 200 mg) or matching placebo.
The type and incidence of adverse events were similar among VX-809- and placebo-treated subjects. Respiratory events were the most commonly reported and led to discontinuation by one subject in each active treatment arm. Pharmacokinetic data supported a once-daily oral dosing regimen. Pharmacodynamic data suggested that VX-809 improved CFTR function in at least one organ (sweat gland). VX-809 reduced elevated sweat chloride values in a dose-dependent manner (p=0.0013) that was statistically significant in the 100 and 200 mg dose groups. There was no statistically significant improvement in CFTR function in the nasal epithelium as measured by nasal potential difference, nor were there statistically significant changes in lung function or patient-reported outcomes. No maturation of immature F508del-CFTR was detected in the subgroup that provided rectal biopsy specimens.
In this study, VX-809 had a similar adverse event profile to placebo for 28 days in F508del-CFTR homozygous patients, and demonstrated biological activity with positive impact on CFTR function in the sweat gland. Additional data are needed to determine how improvements detected in CFTR function secondary to VX-809 in the sweat gland relate to those measurable in the respiratory tract and to long-term measures of clinical benefit. Clinical trial number NCT00865904
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is an autosomal recessive, genetically heterogeneous disorder characterized by oto-sino-pulmonary disease and situs abnormalities (Kartagener syndrome) due to abnormal structure and/or function of cilia. Most patients currently recognized to have PCD have ultrastructural defects of cilia; however, some patients have clinical manifestations of PCD and low levels of nasal nitric oxide, but normal ultrastructure, including a few patients with biallelic mutations in DNAH11.
In order to test further for mutant DNAH11 as a cause of PCD, we sequenced DNAH11 in patients with a PCD clinical phenotype, but no known genetic etiology.
We sequenced 82 exons and intron/exon junctions in DNAH11 in 163 unrelated patients with a clinical phenotype of PCD, including those with normal ciliary ultrastructure (n=58), defects in outer ± inner dynein arms (n=76), radial spoke/central pair defects (n=6), and 23 without definitive ultrastructural results, but who had situs inversus (n=17), or bronchiectasis and/or low nasal nitric oxide (n=6). Additionally, we sequenced DNAH11 in 13 patients with isolated situs abnormalities to see if mutant DNAH11 could cause situs defects without respiratory disease.
Of the 58 unrelated PCD patients with normal ultrastructure, 13 (22%) had two (biallelic) mutations in DNAH11; plus, 2 PCD patients without ultrastructural analysis had biallelic mutations. All mutations were novel and private. None of the patients with dynein arm or radial spoke/central pair defects, or isolated situs abnormalities, had mutations in DNAH11. Of the 35 identified mutant alleles, 24 (69%) were nonsense, insertion/deletion or Ioss-of-function splice-site mutations.
Mutations in DNAH11 are a common cause of PCD in patients without ciliary ultrastructural defects; thus, genetic analysis can be used to ascertain the diagnosis of PCD in this challenging group of patients.
Cilia; Dynein; Kartagener syndrome; Dextrocardia; Heterotaxy
To investigate whether the association between exposure to smoking in movies and smoking among youth is independent of cultural context.
Cross-sectional survey of 16 551 pupils recruited in Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Scotland with a mean age of 13.4 years (SD=1.18) and an equal gender distribution. School-based surveys were conducted between November 2009 and June 2010. Using previously validated methods, exposure to movie smoking was estimated from the 250 top-grossing movies of each country (years 2004–2009) and related to ever smoking.
Overall, 29% of the sample had tried smoking. The sample quartile (Q) of movie smoking exposure was significantly associated with the prevalence of ever smoking: 14% of adolescents in Q1 had tried smoking, 21% in Q2, 29% in Q3 and 36% in Q4. After controlling for age, gender, family affluence, school performance, television screen time, number of movies seen, sensation seeking and rebelliousness and smoking within the social environment (peers, parents and siblings), the adjusted ORs for having tried smoking in the entire sample were 1.3 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.5) for adolescents in Q2, 1.6 (95% CI 1.4 to 1.9) for Q3 and 1.7 (95% CI 1.4 to 2.0) for Q4 compared with Q1. The adjusted relationship between ever smoking and higher movie smoking exposure levels was significant in all countries with a non-linear association in Italy and Poland.
The link between smoking in movies and adolescent smoking is robust and transcends different cultural contexts. Limiting young people's exposure to movie smoking could have important public health implications.
Evidence of high exposure of UK youth to images of smoking in films has led to calls for an 18 rating for films with smoking to reduce smoking in youth. However, the only study to date in the UK to test for an association showed no relation between film-smoking exposure and smoking among young adults.
To assess whether there is an association between exposure to film images of smoking and own smoking among UK adolescents and whether repeated viewings of films has an impact.
1999 pupils aged 15–16 years from 13 Scottish schools.
Smoked tobacco in the past year.
Film-smoking exposure was assessed using the Beach method; account for repeated viewings of films was then used to modify estimated exposure. Covariates included: media usage, parental restriction on and context of TV/film viewing, family connectedness, parental monitoring and friends' smoking.
Most (71%) students had not smoked in the past year. About half reported no parental restrictions on TV/film viewing. Many reported repeated viewings of films; accounting for this more than doubled exposure estimates and strengthened the association with smoking. Adolescents with high exposure to film smoking were more likely to have smoked than those with low exposure (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.08, 95% CI 1.22 to 3.55). Additionally, adolescents who reported parental rules about TV/film watching were less likely to smoke (AOR 0.37 (0.27 to 0.52)) than those who did not. Adolescents who mainly watched films with friends had higher exposure to film smoking and were more likely to smoke (AOR 2.19 (1.10 to 4.38)).
Exposure to film smoking is associated with smoking among Scottish adolescents. These data lend support to calls for an 18 rating for films with images of smoking.
The value of quantitative computed tomography (QCT) to identify chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) phenotypes is increasingly appreciated. We hypothesized that QCT-defined emphysema and airway abnormalities relate to St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and BODE.
1,200 COPDGene subjects meeting GOLD criteria for COPD with QCT analysis were included. Total lung emphysema was measured using density mask technique with a -950 HU threshold. An automated program measured mean wall thickness (WT), wall area percent (WA%) and pi10 in six segmental bronchi. Separate multivariate analyses examined the relative influence of airway measures and emphysema on SGRQ and BODE.
In separate models predicting SGRQ score, a one unit standard deviation (SD) increase in each airway measure predicted higher SGRQ scores (for WT, 1.90 points higher, p=0.002; for WA%, 1.52 points higher, p=0.02; for pi10, 2.83 points higher p<0.001). The comparable increase in SGRQ for a one unit SD increase in percent emphysema in these models was relatively weaker, significant only in the pi10 model (for percent emphysema, 1.45 points higher, p=0.01). In separate models predicting BODE, a one unit SD increase in each airway measure predicted higher BODE scores (for WT, 1.07 fold increase, p<0.001; for WA%, 1.20 fold increase, p<0.001; for pi10, 1.16 fold increase, p<0.001). In these models, emphysema more strongly influenced BODE (range 1.24-1.26 fold increase, p<0.001).
Emphysema and airway disease both relate to clinically important parameters. The relative influence of airway disease is greater for SGRQ; the relative influence of emphysema is greater for BODE.
Imaging; COPD; emphysema
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Asthma Clinical Research Network (ACRN) recently completed its work after 20 years of collaboration as a multicentre clinical trial network. When formed, its stated mission was to perform multiple controlled clinical trials for treating patients with asthma by dispassionately examining new and existing therapies, and to rapidly communicate its findings to the medical community. The ACRN conducted 15 major clinical trials. In addition, clinical data, manual of operations, protocols and template informed consents from all ACRN trials are available via NHLBI BioLINCC (https://biolincc.nhlbi.nih.gov/studies/). This network contributed major insights into the use of inhaled corticosteroids, short-acting and long-acting ß-adrenergic agonists, leukotriene receptor antagonists, and novel agents (tiotropium, colchicine and macrolide antibiotics). They also pioneered studies of the variability in drug response, predictors of treatment response and pharmacogenetics. This review highlights the major research observations from the ACRN that have impacted the current management of asthma.
The St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) is often applied to assess health-related quality of life in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Some SGRQ items will inevitably have weaker measurement properties than others when applied to this population. This study was conducted to develop an IPF-specific version of the SGRQ.
Data from a recently completed trial that enrolled subjects with IPF (n=158) who completed the SGRQ and other measures were analysed at baseline and 6 months. There were four phases to the study: (1) removing items with missing responses and using Rasch analysis on retained items to identify fit and refine item response categories; (2) development of a new scoring scheme; (3) testing agreement between original and revised versions and testing construct validity of the revised SGRQ; and (4) rewording to finalise the IPF-specific version (SGRQ-I).
Items were removed due to missing responses (6 items) and misfit to the Rasch model (10 items); 34 items from the original 50 were retained. For certain items, disordered response thresholds were identified and corrected by collapsing response categories. A scoring algorithm was developed to place SGRQ-I scores on a scale with SGRQ scores. For any given outcome measure (eg, forced vital capacity (% predicted) and lung carbon monoxide transfer factor (% predicted), 6-min walk distance and patient-reported questionnaires), Pearson correlations were similar between pairs that included original SGRQ scores and corresponding pairs that included SGRQ-I scores. Internal reliability (Cronbach α) for each SGRQ-I component was comparable to the original SGRQ (Symptoms 0.62; Activities 0.80; Impacts 0.85).
The SGRQ-I contains items from the original SGRQ that are the most reliable for measuring health-related quality of life in patients with IPF.
Little is known about whether patterns of growth are associated with altered respiratory and immune development. This study relates prenatal and infant growth patterns to wheeze and atopy at age 3 years
Birth weight and length were measured in 1548 children born at term. Conditional fetal head and abdominal circumference growth velocities were calculated from antenatal ultrasound measurements. Conditional postnatal growth velocities were calculated from infant weight, length and adiposity data. .Measures of size and conditional growth were related to parentally-reported infant and early childhood wheeze and to atopic status at age 3.
Atopy risk increased by 46% per standard deviation (SD) increase in abdominal circumference growth velocity from 11-19 weeks’ gestation but by 20% per SD decrease in abdominal growth velocity from 19-34 weeks (p=0.007 and p=0.011). Atopic wheeze risk increased by 20% per SD decrease in 19-34 week abdominal growth (p=0.046). Non-atopic wheeze risk increased by 10% per SD decrease in 11-19 week head circumference growth. Greater relative infant weight and adiposity gains were associated with both atopic and non-atopic wheeze.
Rapid growth during 11-19 weeks’ gestation followed by growth faltering is associated with atopy, suggesting that influences affecting fetal growth may also alter immune development. A lower early fetal growth trajectory is associated with non-atopic wheeze, possibly reflecting an association with smaller airways. An association between postnatal adiposity gain and wheeze may partly reflect prenatal influences that cause fetal growth to falter but are then followed by postnatal adiposity gain.
asthma; preschool-wheeze; allergic sensitisation; growth; nutrition
Studies exploring the relationship between prenatal vitamin D exposure and childhood asthma have yielded conflicting results. Higher vitamin D intake during pregnancy has been shown to lower the risk of childhood wheeze, yet a study of maternal late-pregnancy serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D suggested higher serum concentrations may be associated with increased childhood asthma.
To assess the relationship between mothers’ serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status and asthma and wheeze phenotypes in their children at age 6 years. Secondly, to explore the relationship between maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D status and objective measures of childhood atopy and lung function.
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was measured at 34 weeks’ gestation in the mothers of 860 children born at term. Wheeze was classified as either transient or persistent/late using questionnaire data collated from 6, 12, 24 and 36 months and 6 years. At 6 years spirometry was performed and atopic status was determined by skin prick testing, exhaled nitric oxide was measured in 451 and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in 216 children.
There were no significant associations between maternal late-pregnancy 25-hydroxyvitamin D status and either asthma or wheeze at age 6 years. Maternal vitamin D status was not associated with transient or persistent/late wheeze; no significant association was found between persistent/late wheeze when subdivided according to atopic status. No associations were found with skin sensitisation or lung function.
This study provides no evidence that exposure to higher concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in maternal serum during late pregnancy increases the risk of childhood asthma, wheeze or atopy.
asthma epidemiology; asthma; paediatric asthma
Bacterial pneumonia is the most common infectious cause of death worldwide and treatment is increasingly hampered by antibiotic resistance. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been demonstrated to provide protection against acute inflammatory lung injury; however, their potential therapeutic role in the setting of bacterial pneumonia has not been well studied.
This study focused on testing the therapeutic and mechanistic effects of MSCs in a mouse model of Gram-negative pneumonia.
Methods and results
Syngeneic MSCs from wild-type mice were isolated and administered via the intratracheal route to mice 4 h after the mice were infected with Escherichia coli. 3T3 fibroblasts and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) were used as controls for all in vivo experiments. Survival, lung injury, bacterial counts and indices of inflammation were measured in each treatment group. Treatment with wild-type MSCs improved 48 h survival (MSC, 55%; 3T3, 8%; PBS, 0%; p<0.05 for MSC vs 3T3 and PBS groups) and lung injury compared with control mice. In addition, wild-type MSCs enhanced bacterial clearance from the alveolar space as early as 4 h after administration, an effect that was not observed with the other treatment groups. The antibacterial effect with MSCs was due, in part, to their upregulation of the antibacterial protein lipocalin 2.
Treatment with MSCs enhanced survival and bacterial clearance in a mouse model of Gram-negative pneumonia. The bacterial clearance effect was due, in part, to the upregulation of lipocalin 2 production by MSCs.
Measures of oxygenation have not been assessed for prognostic significance in systemic sclerosis-related interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD).
83 subjects with SSc-ILD performed a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test with an arterial line. The agreement between peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) and arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) was examined and survival differences between subgroups of subjects stratified on SpO2 were analysed. Cox proportional hazards analyses were used to examine the prognostic capabilities of SpO2.
At maximal exercise the mean (SD) difference between SpO2 and SaO2 was 2.98 (2.98) and only 15 subjects had a difference of >4 points. The survival of subjects with SSc-ILD whose maximum exercise SpO2 (SpO2max) fell below 89% or whose SpO2max fell >4 points from baseline was worse than subjects in comparator groups (log rank p = 0.01 and 0.01, respectively). The hazard of death during the median 7.1 years of follow-up was 2.4 times greater for subjects whose SpO2max fell below 89% (hazard ratio 2.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.9, p = 0.02) or whose SpO2max fell >4 points from baseline (hazard ratio 2.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 5.0, p = 0.02).
In patients with SSc-ILD, SpO2 is an adequate reflection of SaO2 and radial arterial lines need not be inserted during cardiopulmonary exercise tests in these patients. Given the ease of measurement and its prognostic value, SpO2 should be considered as a meaningful clinical and research outcome in patients with SSc-ILD.
Eosinophilic inflammation is implicated in asthma. Eotaxin 1–3 regulate eosinophil trafficking into the airways along with other chemotactic factors. However, the epithelial and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell expression of these chemokines in relation to asthma severity and eosinophilic phenotypes has not been addressed.
To measure the expression of the three eotaxin isoforms in bronchoscopically obtained samples and compare them with clinically relevant parameters between normal subjects and patients with asthma.
Normal subjects and patients with asthma of varying severity recruited through the Severe Asthma Research Program underwent clinical assessment and bronchoscopy with airway brushing and BAL. Eotaxin 1–3 mRNA/protein were measured in epithelial and BAL cells and compared with asthma severity, control and eosinophilic inflammation.
Eotaxin-2 and eotaxin-3 mRNA and eotaxin-2 protein were increased in airway epithelial brushings from patients with asthma and were highest in cases of severe asthma (p values 0.0155, 0.0033 and 0.0006, respectively), with eotaxin-2 protein increased with age at onset. BAL cells normally expressed high levels of eotaxin-2 mRNA/protein but BAL fluid levels of eotaxin-2 were lowest in severe asthma. Epithelial eotaxin-2 and eotaxin-3 mRNA/protein was associated with sputum eosinophilia, lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s and more asthma exacerbations. Airway epithelial cell eotaxin-2 protein differed by asthma severity only in those with late onset disease, and tended to be highest in those with late onset eosinophilic asthma.
Epithelial eotaxin-2 and 3 are increased in asthma and severe asthma. Their expression may contribute to luminal migration of eosinophils, especially in later onset disease, asthma control and severity.
Distal cell-type-specific regulatory elements may be located at very large distances from the genes that they control and are often hidden within intergenic regions or in introns of other genes. The development of methods that enable mapping of regions of open chromatin genome wide has greatly advanced the identification and characterisation of these elements.
Here we use DNase I hypersensitivity mapping followed by deep sequencing (DNase-seq) to generate a map of open chromatin in primary human tracheal epithelial (HTE) cells and use bioinformatic approaches to characterise the distribution of these sites within the genome and with respect to gene promoters, intronic and intergenic regions.
Genes with HTE-selective open chromatin at their promoters were associated with multiple pathways of epithelial function and differentiation. The data predict novel cell-type-specific regulatory elements for genes involved in HTE cell function, such as structural proteins and ion channels, and the transcription factors that may interact with them to control gene expression. Moreover, the map of open chromatin can identify the location of potentially critical regulatory elements in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in which the strongest association is with single nucleotide polymorphisms in non-coding regions of the genome. We demonstrate its relevance to a recent GWAS that identifies modifiers of cystic fibrosis lung disease severity.
Since HTE cells have many functional similarities with bronchial epithelial cells and other differentiated cells in the respiratory epithelium, these data are of direct relevance to elucidating the molecular basis of normal lung function and lung disease.
The association of murine asthma with adiposity may be mediated by adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory adipokine with reduced serum concentrations in the obese. We studied whether serum adiponectin concentration was associated with human asthma and explained the association between adiposity and asthma, particularly in women and in pre-menopausal women.
A cross-sectional analysis of 2,890 eligible subjects at year 15 of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) cohort and its YALTA ancillary study, and had either current asthma or never asthma at that evaluation, was performed. Obesity was defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed with dependent variable current asthma status.
Women, but not men, with current asthma had lower mean unadjusted serum adiponectin concentration than those with never asthma (p < 0.001; p for sex interaction < 0.001). Similarly, current asthma was related to obese status only in women (OR 3.31, 95% CI 2.00, 5.46, p for sex interaction 0.004); this association was little affected by adjusting for serum adiponectin. Prevalence of current asthma in pre-menopausal women was reduced in the highest vs. lowest tertile of serum adiponectin concentration (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.26, 0.84, p 0.03), after adjusting for BMI. However, the interaction between serum adiponectin concentration and BMI category on current asthma status was not significant in pre-menopausal women or women overall.
High serum adiponectin concentration may protect against current asthma in pre-menopausal women, but does not explain the association between asthma and adiposity.
Asthma; Adiposity; Body mass index; Waist circumference; Adiponectin
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.