Reports regarding gender-related differences in COPD expression have provided conflicting results. In the French Initiatives BPCO real-world cohort, which contained 688 patients (146 women) when data were extracted, women were matched with men (1:3 ratio: n = 107:275) on age (5-year intervals) and FEV1 (5% predicted intervals) and comparisons were performed using univariate logistic regressions. For a given age and level of airflow obstruction, women with COPD had higher BOD scores due to more pronounced dyspnea and lower BMI, suggesting worse prognosis, and were more likely to exhibit anxiety, suggesting the need for specific assessment and care.
COPD; Gender; Clinical expression; Lung function; Age
Cigarette smoking causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. CFTR ion transport dysfunction has been implicated in COPD pathogenesis, and is associated with chronic bronchitis. However, susceptibility to smoke induced lung injury is variable and the underlying genetic contributors remain unclear. We hypothesized that presence of CFTR mutation heterozygosity may alter susceptibility to cigarette smoke induced CFTR dysfunction. Consequently, COPD patients with chronic bronchitis may have a higher rate of CFTR mutations compared to the general population.
Primary human bronchial epithelial cells derived from F508del CFTR heterozygotes and mice with (CFTR+/-) and without (CFTR+/+) CFTR heterozygosity were exposed to whole cigarette smoke (WCS); CFTR-dependent ion transport was assessed by Ussing chamber electrophysiology and nasal potential difference measurements, respectively. Caucasians with COPD and chronic bronchitis, age 40 to 80 with FEV1/FVC < 0.70 and FEV1 < 60% predicted, were selected for genetic analysis from participants in the NIH COPD Clinical Research Network’s Azithromycin for Prevention of Exacerbations of COPD in comparison to 32,900 Caucasian women who underwent prenatal genetic testing. Genetic analysis involved an allele-specific genotyping of 89 CFTR mutations.
Exposure to WCS caused a pronounced reduction in CFTR activity in both CFTR (+/+) cells and F508del CFTR (+/-) cells; however, neither the degree of decrement (44.7% wild-type vs. 53.5% F508del heterozygous, P = NS) nor the residual CFTR activity were altered by CFTR heterozygosity. Similarly, WCS caused a marked reduction in CFTR activity measured by NPD in both wild type and CFTR heterozygous mice, but the severity of decrement (91.1% wild type vs. 47.7% CF heterozygous, P = NS) and the residual activity were not significantly affected by CFTR genetic status. Five of 127 (3.9%) COPD patients with chronic bronchitis were heterozygous for CFTR mutations which was not significantly different from controls (4.5%) (P = NS).
The magnitude of WCS induced reductions in CFTR activity was not affected by the presence of CFTR mutation heterozygosity. CFTR mutations do not increase the risk of COPD with chronic bronchitis. CFTR dysfunction due to smoking is primarily an acquired phenomenon and is not affected by the presence of congenital CFTR mutations.
Bone marrow-derived fibrocytes reportedly play important roles in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Pirfenidone is an anti-fibrotic agent; however, its effects on fibrocytes have not been investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate whether pirfenidone inhibits fibrocyte pool size in the lungs of bleomycin-treated mice.
Bleomycin (100 mg/kg) was infused with osmotic pumps into C57BL/6 mice, and pirfenidone (300 mg/kg/day) was orally administered daily for 2 wk. The lungs were removed, and single-cell suspensions were subjected to fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis to detect fibrocytes, which were defined as CD45 and collagen-I double-positive cells. Immunohistochemistry was performed on the lung specimens to quantify fibrocytes. Chemokines in the lung digests were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The effect of pirfenidone on alveolar macrophages was evaluated with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). In a therapeutic setting, pirfenidone administration was initiated 10 days after bleomycin treatment. For chemotaxis assay, lung fibrocytes were isolated with immunomagnetic selection (CD45-positive mesenchymal cells) after culture and allowed to migrate toward chemokines in the presence or absence of pirfenidone. Moreover, the effect of pirfenidone on the expression of chemokine receptors on fibrocytes was evaluated.
Pirfenidone significantly ameliorated bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis as assessed with quantitative histology and collagen measurement. Fibrocyte pool size in bleomycin-treated mice lungs was attenuated from 26.5% to 13.7% by pirfenidone on FACS analysis. This outcome was also observed in a therapeutic setting. Immunohistochemistry revealed that fibrocytes were significantly decreased by pirfenidone administration compared with those in bleomycin-treated mice (P = 0.0097). Increased chemokine (CC motif) ligand-2 (CCL2) and CCL12 production in bleomycin-treated mouse lungs was significantly attenuated by pirfenidone (P = 0.0003 and P < 0.0001, respectively). Pirfenidone also attenuated macrophage counts stimulated by bleomycin in BAL fluid. Fibrocyte migration toward CCL2 and chemokine (CC motif) receptor-2 expression on fibrocytes was significantly inhibited by pirfenidone in vitro.
Pirfenidone attenuated the fibrocyte pool size in bleomycin-treated mouse lungs via attenuation of CCL2 and CCL12 production in vivo, and fibrocyte migration was inhibited by pirfenidone in vitro. Fibrocyte inhibition is considered a mechanism of anti-fibrotic action of pirfenidone.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; Pirfenidone; Fibrocyte; Chemokine
Cardiac sarcoidosis (CS) is a potentially life-threatening condition. At present, there is no consensus with regard to the optimal non-invasive clinical evaluation and diagnostic procedures of cardiac involvement in patients with sarcoidosis. The aim of this study in a large homogenous Scandinavian sarcoidosis cohort was therefore to identify risk factors of cardiac involvement in patients with sarcoidosis, and the value of initial routine investigation with ECG and cardiac related symptoms in screening for CS.
In this retrospective study a cohort of 1017 Caucasian patients with sarcoidosis were included. They were all screened with ECG at disease onset and investigated for CS according to clinical routine.
An abnormal ECG was recorded in 166 (16.3%) of the 1017 patients and CS was later diagnosed in 22 (13.2%) of them, compared to in one (0.1%) of the 851 sarcoidosis patients with a normal ECG (p < 0.0001). The risk for CS was higher in patients with a pathologic ECG combined with cardiac related symptoms (11/40) (27.5%) compared to those with pathologic ECG changes without symptoms (11/126) (8.7%) (p < 0.01). Furthermore, patients with Löfgren’s syndrome had a reduced risk for CS compared to those without (p < 0.05) the syndrome.
This study on an unusually large and homogenous sarcoidosis population demonstrate the importance of an abnormal ECG and cardiac related symptoms at disease onset as powerful predictors of a later diagnosis of cardiac sarcoidosis. In contrast, CS is very rare in subjects without symptoms and with a normal ECG. This knowledge is of importance, and may be used in a clinical algorithm, in identifying patients that should be followed and investigated extensively for the presence of CS.
Cardiac sarcoidosis; Extra-pulmonary involvement; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Human leukocyte antigen; Sarcoidosis
Asthma exacerbations are frequently triggered by rhinovirus infections. Both asthma and respiratory tract infection can activate haemostasis. Therefore we hypothesized that experimental rhinovirus-16 infection and asthmatic airway inflammation act in synergy on the haemostatic balance.
28 patients (14 patients with mild allergic asthma and 14 healthy non-allergic controls) were infected with low-dose rhinovirus type 16. Venous plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BAL fluid) were obtained before and 6 days after infection to evaluate markers of coagulation activation, thrombin-antithrombin complexes, von Willebrand factor, plasmin-antiplasmin complexes, plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1, endogenous thrombin potential and tissue factor-exposing microparticles by fibrin generation test, in plasma and/or BAL fluid. Data were analysed by nonparametric tests (Wilcoxon, Mann Whitney and Spearman correlation).
13 patients with mild asthma (6 females, 19-29 y) and 11 healthy controls (10 females, 19-31 y) had a documented Rhinovirus-16 infection. Rhinovirus-16 challenge resulted in a shortening of the fibrin generation test in BAL fluid of asthma patients (t = -1: 706 s vs. t = 6: 498 s; p = 0.02), but not of controls (t = -1: 693 s vs. t = 6: 636 s; p = 0.65). The fold change in tissue factor-exposing microparticles in BAL fluid inversely correlated with the fold changes in eosinophil cationic protein and myeloperoxidase in BAL fluid after virus infection (r = -0.517 and -0.528 resp., both p = 0.01).
Rhinovirus-16 challenge led to increased plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 levels in plasma in patients with asthma (26.0 ng/mL vs. 11.5 ng/mL in healthy controls, p = 0.04). Rhinovirus-16 load in BAL showed a linear correlation with the fold change in endogenous thrombin potential, plasmin-antiplasmin complexes and plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1.
Experimental rhinovirus infection induces procoagulant changes in the airways of patients with asthma through increased activity of tissue factor-exposing microparticles. These microparticle-associated procoagulant changes are associated with both neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation. Systemic activation of haemostasis increases with Rhinoviral load.
This trial was registered at the Dutch trial registry (http://www.trialregister.nl): NTR1677.
Rhinovirus; Coagulation; Fibrinolysis; Asthma; Microparticles; Inflammation
The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Assessment Test (CAT) is a concise health status measure for COPD. COPD patients have a variety of comorbidities, but little is known about their impact on quality of life. This study was designed to investigate comorbid factors that may contribute to high CAT scores.
An observational study at Keio University and affiliated hospitals enrolled 336 COPD patients and 67 non-COPD subjects. Health status was assessed by the CAT, the St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), and all components of the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36-Item (SF-36) version 2, which is a generic measure of health. Comorbidities were identified based on patients’ reports, physicians’ records, and questionnaires, including the Frequency Scale for the Symptoms of Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Dual X-ray absorptiometry measurements of bone mineral density were performed.
The CAT showed moderate-good correlations with the SGRQ and all components of the SF-36. The presence of GERD, depression, arrhythmia, and anxiety was significantly associated with a high CAT score in the COPD patients.
Symptomatic COPD patients have a high prevalence of comorbidities. A high CAT score should alert the clinician to a higher likelihood of certain comorbidities such as GERD and depression, because these diseases may co-exist unrecognized.
Clinical trial registered with UMIN (UMIN000003470).
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Health status; Depression; Gastro-esophageal reflux; Comorbidity; Osteoporosis
Systemic hypertension may be associated with an increased pulmonary vascular resistance, which we hypothesized could be, at least in part, mediated by increased leptin.
Vascular reactivity to phenylephrine (1 μmol/L), endothelin-1 (10 nmol/L) and leptin (0.001–100 nmol/L) was evaluated in endothelium-intact and -denuded isolated thoracic aorta and pulmonary arteries from spontaneously hypertensive versus control Wistar rats. Arteries were sampled for pathobiological evaluation and lung tissue for morphometric evaluation.
In control rats, endothelin-1 induced a higher level of contraction in the pulmonary artery than in the aorta. After phenylephrine or endothelin-1 precontraction, leptin relaxed intact pulmonary artery and aortic rings, while no response was observed in denuded arteries. Spontaneously hypertensive rats presented with increased reactivity to phenylephrine and endothelin-1 in endothelium-intact pulmonary arteries. After endothelin-1 precontraction, endothelium-dependent relaxation to leptin was impaired in pulmonary arteries from hypertensive rats. In both strains of rats, aortic segments were more responsive to leptin than pulmonary artery. In hypertensive rats, pulmonary arteries exhibited increased pulmonary artery medial thickness, associated with increased expressions of preproendothelin-1, endothelin-1 receptors type A and B, inducible nitric oxide synthase and decreased endothelial nitric oxide synthase, together with decreased leptin receptor and increased suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 expressions.
Altered pulmonary vascular reactivity in hypertension may be related to a loss of endothelial buffering of vasoconstriction and decreased leptin-induced vasodilation in conditions of increased endothelin-1.
Systemic hypertension; Pulmonary circulation; Vascular reactivity; Leptin; Endothelin-1
Cigarette smoke (CS) is the major etiologic factor of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). CS-exposed mice develop emphysema and mild pulmonary inflammation but no airway obstruction, which is also a prominent feature of COPD. Therefore, CS may interact with other factors, particularly respiratory infections, in the pathogenesis of airway remodeling in COPD.
C57BL/6 mice were exposed to CS for 2 h a day, 5 days a week for 8 weeks. Mice were also exposed to heat-killed non-typeable H. influenzae (HK-NTHi) on days 7 and 21. One day after the last exposure to CS, mice were sacrificed and lung inflammation and mechanics, emphysematous changes, and goblet cell metaplasia were assessed. Mice exposed to CS or HK-NTHi alone or room air served as controls. To determine the susceptibility to viral infections, we also challenged these mice with rhinovirus (RV).
Unlike mice exposed to CS or HK-NTHi alone, animals exposed to CS/HK-NTHi developed emphysema, lung inflammation and goblet cell metaplasia in both large and small airways. CS/HK-NTHi-exposed mice also expressed increased levels of mucin genes and cytokines compared to mice in other groups. CS/HK-NTHi-exposed mice infected with RV demonstrated increased viral persistence, sustained neutrophilia, and further increments in mucin gene and chemokine expression compared to other groups.
These findings indicate that in addition to CS, bacteria may also contribute to development of COPD, particularly changes in airways. Mice exposed to CS/HK-NTHi are also more susceptible to subsequent viral infection than mice exposed to either CS or HK-NTHi alone.
COPD exacerbation; Viral infection; Airway epithelium; COPD pathology; Emphysema
The editors of Respiratory Research would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 14 (2013).
The 2011 idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) guidelines are based on the diagnosis of IPF using only high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT). However, few studies have thus far reviewed the usefulness of the HRCT scoring system based on the grading scale provided in the guidelines. We retrospectively studied 98 patients with respect to assess the prognostic value of changes in HRCT findings using a new HRCT scoring system based on the grading scale published in the guidelines.
Consecutive patients with IPF who were diagnosed using HRCT alone between January 2008 and January 2012 were evaluated. HRCT examinations and pulmonary function tests were performed at six-month intervals for the first year after diagnosis. The HRCT findings were evaluated using the new HRCT scoring system (HRCT fibrosis score) over time. The findings and survival rates were analyzed using a Kaplan-Meier analysis.
The HRCT fibrosis scores at six and 12 months after diagnosis were significantly increased compared to those observed at the initial diagnosis (p < 0.001). The patients with an elevated HRCT fibrosis score at six months based on a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves analysis had a poor prognosis (log-rank, hazard ratio [HR] 2.435, 95% CI 1.196-4.962; p = 0.0142). Furthermore, among the patients without marked changes in %FVC, those with an elevated score above the cut-off value had a poor prognosis (HR 2.192, 95% CI 1.003-4.791; p = 0.0491).
Our data demonstrate that the HRCT scoring system based on the grading scale is useful for predicting the clinical outcomes of IPF and identifying patients with an adverse prognosis when used in combination with spirometry.
HRCT fibrosis score; UIP pattern; Spirometry; Monitoring methods; Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Rhinovirus infections are the most common cause of asthma exacerbations. The complex responses by airway epithelium to rhinovirus can be captured by gene expression profiling. We hypothesized that: a) upper and lower airway epithelium exhibit differential responses to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), and b) that this is modulated by the presence of asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Identification of dsRNA-induced gene expression profiles of primary nasal and bronchial epithelial cells from the same individuals and examining the impact of allergic rhinitis with and without concomitant allergic asthma on expression profiles.
This study had a cross-sectional design including 18 subjects: 6 patients with allergic asthma with concomitant rhinitis, 6 patients with allergic rhinitis, and 6 healthy controls. Comparing 6 subjects per group, the estimated false discovery rate was approximately 5%. RNA was extracted from isolated and cultured primary epithelial cells from nasal biopsies and bronchial brushings stimulated with dsRNA (poly(I:C)), and analyzed by microarray (Affymetrix U133+ PM Genechip Array). Data were analysed using R and the Bioconductor Limma package. Overrepresentation of gene ontology groups were captured by GeneSpring GX12.
In total, 17 subjects completed the study successfully (6 allergic asthma with rhinitis, 5 allergic rhinitis, 6 healthy controls). dsRNA-stimulated upper and lower airway epithelium from asthma patients demonstrated significantly fewer induced genes, exhibiting reduced down-regulation of mitochondrial genes. The majority of genes related to viral responses appeared to be similarly induced in upper and lower airways in all groups. However, the induction of several interferon-related genes (IRF3, IFNAR1, IFNB1, IFNGR1, IL28B) was impaired in patients with asthma.
dsRNA differentially changes transcriptional profiles of primary nasal and bronchial epithelial cells from patients with allergic rhinitis with or without asthma and controls. Our data suggest that respiratory viruses affect mitochondrial genes, and we identified disease-specific genes that provide potential targets for drug development.
Asthma; Rhinitis; Epithelium; Gene expression; dsRNA
It has recently been demonstrated that in healthy individuals, peak oxygen consumption is associated with a greater pulmonary capillary blood volume and a more distensible pulmonary circulation. Our cross-sectional study suggests that, in healthy men aged 20 to 60 years (n = 63), endurance sport practice (vigorous-intensity domain of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire) is associated with better quantity (pulmonary capillary blood volume) and quality (slope of increase in lung diffusion for carbon monoxide on exercise) of the pulmonary vascular bed, partly counterbalancing the deleterious effects of ageing, which remains to be demonstrated in a prospective longitudinal design.
Physical activity; Exercise; Capillary blood volume; Lung diffusion
Key goals in the treatment of CAP include early response to treatment and achievement of clinical stability. The US FDA recommends early response endpoints (72 hours after initiation of treatment) in clinical trials for the treatment of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. REACH (REtrospective Study to Assess the Clinical Management of Patients With Moderate-to-Severe Complicated Skin and Soft Tissue Infections [cSSTI] or CAP in the Hospital Setting) was a retrospective observational study, providing current data on the clinical management and resource burden of CAP in real-life settings in European hospitals. This analysis reviews the characteristics and outcomes of patients showing early positive response to treatment (time to clinical stability [TCS] ≤4 days, as assessed by Halm’s criteria) compared with patients with later positive response (TCS >4 days).
Patients were adults, hospitalized with CAP (2010–2011) and requiring in-hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
Of the 2039 patients included in REACH, 585 (28.7%) had TCS assessed by Halm’s criteria: 332 (56.8%) showed early response (median 3.0 days), and 253 (43.2%) showed later response to treatment (median 7.0 days). Use of Halm’s criteria varied across participating countries, ranging from 0% (Belgium) to 49.1% (UK). Patient characteristics and relevant medical history were similar between the two groups. There were no notable differences in initial antibiotic therapy between groups, except that more early responders had been treated with amoxicillin–clavulanate and amoxicillin monotherapy (22.6%; 7.5%, respectively) than later responders (5.9%; 1.2%, respectively). Initial treatment modification and re-infection or recurrences were less frequent in early responders compared with later responders (14.2% and 3.3% vs. 34.8% and 5.9%, respectively). Early responders had a shorter duration of hospitalization (mean 9.4 ± SD 7.0; median 8.0 days vs. mean 15.6 ± SD 10.5; median 12.0 days, respectively), lower rate of ICU admission (3.3% vs. 21.3%) and shorter duration of ICU stay (mean 6.2 ± SD 5.7; median 4.0 days vs. mean 10.4 ± SD 10.1; median 8.0 days, respectively) compared with later responders. Mortality was low in both groups.
Achieving early clinical stabilization in CAP (≤4 days) is associated with improved outcomes, lower requirement for initial treatment modification or readmission and lower resource use, compared with a later response.
Clinical stability; Community-acquired pneumonia; Early response; Resource use
After 9/11/2001, most FDNY workers had persistent lung function decline but some exposed workers recovered. We hypothesized that the protease/anti-protease balance in serum soon after exposure predicts subsequent recovery.
We performed a nested case–control study measuring biomarkers in serum drawn before 3/2002 and subsequent forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1) on repeat spirometry before 3/2008. Serum was assayed for matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1,2,3,7,8,9,12 and 13) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP-1,2,3,4). The representative sub-cohort defined analyte distribution and a concentration above 75th percentile defined elevated biomarker expression. An FEV1 one standard deviation above the mean defined resistance to airway injury. Logistic regression was adjusted for pre-9/11 FEV1, BMI, age and exposure intensity modeled the association between elevated biomarker expression and above average FEV1.
FEV1 in cases and controls declined 10% of after 9/11/2001. Cases subsequently returned to 99% of their pre-exposure FEV1 while decline persisted in controls. Elevated TIMP-1 and MMP-2 increased the odds of resistance by 5.4 and 4.2 fold while elevated MMP-1 decreased it by 0.27 fold.
Resistant cases displayed healing, returning to 99% of pre-exposure values. High TIMP-1 and MMP-2 predict healing. MMP/TIMP balance reflects independent pathways to airway injury and repair after WTC exposure.
Biomarkers; Lung disease; Occupational exposure
Little is known about limb muscle abnormalities in mild COPD. Inactivity and systemic inflammation could play a role in the development of limb muscle dysfunction in COPD. The objective of the present study was to characterize quadriceps function, enzymatic activities and morphometry, levels of plasma inflammatory markers and physical activity levels in daily life (PAdl) in patients with mild COPD (GOLD 1).
Mid-thigh muscle cross-sectional area (MTCSA), quadriceps strength, endurance, fiber-type distribution, capillarity, pro-angiogenesis factors (VEGF-A, angiopoietin I and II) and muscle oxidative capacity were assessed in 37 patients with mild COPD and 19 controls. Systemic inflammatory markers (CRP, IL-6, TNF-α, Fibrinogen, SP-D) and PAdl were assessed.
MTCSA, quadriceps strength and endurance were not different between COPD and controls. Capillarity and muscle oxidative capacity were all preserved in mild COPD. Reduced pro-angiogenesis factor mRNA expression was seen in COPD. The level of moderately active intensity (>3 METs) was significantly lower in mild COPD and, in multiple regression analyses, the level of physical activity was a determinant of muscle oxidative capacity and capillarization. No between-group differences were found regarding muscle oxidative stress while circulating IL-6 levels were elevated in mild COPD.
The quadriceps muscle function was preserved in mild COPD although a reduced potential for angiogenesis was found. The reduced level of daily activities and evidence of systemic inflammation in these individuals suggest that these factors precede the development of overt limb muscle dysfunction in COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Muscle; Muscle biopsy; Capillarization
Little is known about the longitudinal changes associated with using the 2013 update of the multidimensional GOLD strategy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To determine the COPD patient distribution of the new GOLD proposal and evaluate how this classification changes over one year compared with the previous GOLD staging based on spirometry only.
We analyzed data from the CHAIN study, a multicenter observational Spanish cohort of COPD patients who are monitored annually. Categories were defined according to the proposed GOLD: FEV1%, mMRC dyspnea, COPD Assessment Test (CAT), Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ), and exacerbations-hospitalizations. One-year follow-up information was available for all variables except CCQ data.
At baseline, 828 stable COPD patients were evaluated. On the basis of mMRC dyspnea versus CAT, the patients were distributed as follows: 38.2% vs. 27.2% in group A, 17.6% vs. 28.3% in group B, 15.8% vs. 12.9% in group C, and 28.4% vs. 31.6% in group D. Information was available for 526 patients at one year: 64.2% of patients remained in the same group but groups C and D show different degrees of variability. The annual progression by group was mainly associated with one-year changes in CAT scores (RR, 1.138; 95%CI: 1.074-1.206) and BODE index values (RR, 2.012; 95%CI: 1.487-2.722).
In the new GOLD grading classification, the type of tool used to determine the level of symptoms can substantially alter the group assignment. A change in category after one year was associated with longitudinal changes in the CAT and BODE index.
COPD; GOLD; Longitudinal
Chronic mucous hypersecretion (CMH) contributes to COPD exacerbations and increased risk for lung cancer. Because methylation of gene promoters in sputum has been shown to be associated with lung cancer risk, we tested whether such methylation was more common in persons with CMH.
Eleven genes commonly silenced by promoter methylation in lung cancer and associated with cancer risk were selected. Methylation specific PCR (MSP) was used to profile the sputum of 900 individuals in the Lovelace Smokers Cohort (LSC). Replication was performed in 490 individuals from the Pittsburgh Lung Screening Study (PLuSS).
CMH was significantly associated with an overall increased number of methylated genes, with SULF2 methylation demonstrating the most consistent association. The association between SULF2 methylation and CMH was significantly increased in males but not in females both in the LSC and PLuSS (OR = 2.72, 95% CI = 1.51-4.91, p = 0.001 and OR = 2.97, 95% CI = 1.48-5.95, p = 0.002, respectively). Further, the association between methylation and CMH was more pronounced among 139 male former smokers with persistent CMH compared to current smokers (SULF2; OR = 3.65, 95% CI = 1.59-8.37, p = 0.002).
These findings demonstrate that especially male former smokers with persistent CMH have markedly increased promoter methylation of lung cancer risk genes and potentially could be at increased risk for lung cancer.
Methylation of gene promoters; Persistent cough and phlegm; Sputum DNA; Former smoker; Lung cancer genes
Analysis of exhaled breath condensates (EBC) is a non-invasive technique to evaluate biomarkers such as antioxidants in the pediatric population, but limited data exists of its use in intubated patients, particularly newborns. Currently, tracheal aspirate (TA) serves as the gold standard collection modality in critically ill newborns, but this method remains invasive. We tested the hypothesis that glutathione status would positively correlate between EBC and TA collections in intubated newborns in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We also hypothesized that these measurements would be associated with alveolar macrophage (AM) glutathione status in the newborn lung.
Reduced glutathione (rGSH), glutathione disulfide (GSSG), and total GSH (rGSH + (2 X GSSG)) were measured in sequential EBC and TA samples from 26 intubated newborns via high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Additionally, AM glutathione was evaluated via immunofluorescence. Pearson’s correlation coefficient and associated 95% confidence intervals were used to quantify the associations between raw and urea-corrected concentrations in EBC and TA samples and AM staining. Statistical significance was defined as p ≤ 0.05 using two-tailed tests. The sample size was projected to allow for a correlation coefficient of 0.5, with 0.8 power and alpha of 0.05.
EBC was obtainable from intubated newborns without adverse clinical events. EBC samples demonstrated moderate to strong positive correlations with TA samples in terms of rGSH, GSSG and total GSH. Positive correlations between the two sampling sites were observed in both raw and urea-corrected concentrations of rGSH, GSSG and total GSH. AM glutathione staining moderately correlated with GSSG and total GSH status in both the TA and EBC.
GSH status in EBC samples of intubated newborns significantly correlated with the GSH status of the TA sample and was reflective of cellular GSH status in this cohort of neonatal patients. Non-invasive EBC sampling of intubated newborns holds promise for monitoring antioxidant status such as GSH in the premature lung. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the potential relationships between EBC biomarkers in the intubated premature newborn and respiratory morbidities.
Tracheal aspirate; Exhaled breath condensate; Prematurity; Glutathione
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response participates in many chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In the current study, we sought to examine the contribution of ER stress transducers in the pathogenesis of three principal facets of allergic asthma: inflammation, airway fibrosis, and airways hyperresponsiveness.
House Dust Mite (HDM) was used as an allergen for in vitro and in vivo challenge of primary human and murine airway epithelial cells. ER stress transducers were modulated using specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in vivo. Inflammation, airway remodeling, and hyperresponsiveness were measured by total bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell counts, determination of collagen, and methacholine responsiveness in mice, respectively.
Challenge of human bronchiolar and nasal epithelial cells with HDM extract induced the ER stress transducer, activating transcription factor 6 α (ATF6α) as well as protein disulfide isomerase, ERp57, in association with activation of caspase-3. SiRNA-mediated knockdown of ATF6α and ERp57 during HDM administration in mice resulted in a decrease in components of HDM-induced ER stress, disulfide mediated oligomerization of Bak, and activation of caspase-3. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated knockdown of ATF6α and ERp57 led to decreased inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness and airway fibrosis.
Collectively, our work indicates that HDM induces ER stress in airway epithelial cells and that ATF6α and ERp57 play a significant role in the development of cardinal features of allergic airways disease. Inhibition of ER stress responses may provide a potential therapeutic avenue in chronic asthma and sub-epithelial fibrosis associated with loss of lung function.
Allergen; HDM; Unfolded protein response; ER stress; Apoptosis; Asthma; Airway fibrosis
Cognitive impairment has been found in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. However, the structural alteration of the brain and underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.
Thirty-seven mild-to-moderate COPD patients, forty-eight severe COPD patients, and thirty-one control subjects were recruited for cognitive test and neuroimaging studies. Serum levels of S100B,pulmonary function and arterial blood gas levels were also evaluated in each subject.
The hippocampal volume was significantly smaller in COPD patients compared to the control group. It is positively correlated with a mini mental state examination (MMSE) score, SaO2 in mild-to-moderate COPD patients, the levels of PaO2 in both mild-to-moderate and severe COPD patients. Higher S100B concentrations were observed in mild-to-moderate COPD patients, while the highest S100B level was found in severe COPD patients when compared to the control subjects. S100B levels are negatively associated with MMSE in both mild-to-moderate and severe COPD patients and also negatively associated with the hippocampal volume in the total COPD patients.
Hippocampal atrophy based on quantitative assessment by magnetic resonance imaging does occur in COPD patients, which may be associated with cognitive dysfunction and the most prevalent mechanism accountable for hippocampal atrophy is chronic hypoxemia in COPD. Higher serum S100B levels may be peripheral biochemical marker for cognitive impairment in COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Cognitive impairment; Hippocampus; Pulmonary function; S100B
Most patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will face treatment with systemic therapy. Current clinical studies are demonstrating improvements in chemotherapy and overall survival. However, it remains unclear whether these results are translated into clinical practice.
We reviewed all stage IV NSCLC patients without second malignancies that were diagnosed from 2004 to 2006 at our institution. 493 consecutive patients were included into this retrospective analysis and were followed-up until end of 2011.
352 patients (71.4%) received systemic therapy for up to 7 lines. For most patients, adjustments of dosages or applications had to be made at some point of the treatment, but the total applied dose remained generally close to the intended dose. The best disease control (BDC) rate decreased with increasing therapy lines from 59.7% to about 35%. Patients with palliative local therapy but no systemic treatment demonstrated inferior survival (median 2.9 versus 8.7 months, p < 0.001). The median interval between last treatment and death was 50 days and 15 days for chemotherapy and anti-EGFR therapy, respectively. BDC to the previous therapy lines was predictive for improved BDC to third- but not second-line therapy. Performing multivariate analysis, BDC to previous therapy, never-/ former-smoking status, and age > 70 years were associated with improved survival performing third-line therapy.
Stage IV NSCLC patients may receive substantial systemic therapy resulting in response and median survival rates that are comparable to data from clinical studies. However, preselection factors are increasingly important to improve therapy outcome and life quality.
NSCLC; Chemotherapy; Therapy lines; Predictive factors; Palliative therapy
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a complex, multi-system, life-shortening, autosomal recessive disease most common among Caucasians. Pulmonary pathology, the major cause of morbidity and mortality in CF, is characterized by dysregulation of cytokines and a vicious cycle of infection and inflammation. This cycle causes a progressive decline in lung function, eventually resulting in respiratory failure and death. The Th17 immune response plays an active role in the pathogenesis of CF pulmonary pathology, but it is not known whether the pathophysiology of CF disease contributes to a heightened Th17 response or whether CF naïve CD4+ T lymphocytes (Th0 cells) intrinsically have a heightened predisposition to Th17 differentiation.
To address this question, Th0 cells were isolated from the peripheral blood of CF mice, human CF subjects and corresponding controls. Murine Th0 cells were isolated from single spleen cell suspensions using fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Lymphocytes from human buffy coats were isolated by gradient centrifugation and Th0 cells were further isolated using a human naïve T cell isolation kit. Th0 cells were then assessed for their capacity to differentiate along Th17, Th1 or Treg lineages in response to corresponding cytokine stimulation. The T cell responses of human peripheral blood cells were also assessed ex vivo using flow cytometry.
Here we identify in both mouse and human CF an intrinsically enhanced predisposition of Th0 cells to differentiate towards a Th17 phenotype, while having a normal propensity for differentiation into Th1 and Treg lineages. Furthermore, we identify an active Th17 response in the peripheral blood of human CF subjects.
We propose that these novel observations offer an explanation, at least in part, for the known increased Th17-associated inflammation of CF and the early signs of inflammation in CF lungs before any evidence of infection. Moreover, these findings point towards direct modulation of T cell responses as a novel potential therapeutic strategy for combating excessive inflammation in CF.
Cystic fibrosis; Naïve T cells; Th17 phenotype
Inhaled lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces a dose-dependent, acute neutrophilic response in the airways of healthy volunteers that can be quantified in induced sputum. Chemokines, such as CXCL1 and CXCL8, play an important role in neutrophilic inflammation in the lung through the activation of CXCR2 and small molecule antagonists of these receptors have now been developed. We investigated the effect of AZD8309, a CXCR2 antagonist, compared with placebo on LPS-induced inflammation measured in sputum of healthy volunteers.
Twenty healthy subjects were randomized in a double-blind placebo-controlled, cross-over study. AZD8309 (300 mg) or placebo was dosed twice daily orally for 3 days prior to challenge with inhaled LPS and induced sputum was collected 6 h later.
Treatment with AZD8309 showed a mean 77% reduction in total sputum cells (p < 0.001) and 79% reduction in sputum neutrophils (p < 0.05) compared with placebo after LPS challenge. There was also a reduction in neutrophil elastase activity (p < 0.05) and CXCL1 (p < 0.05) and trends for reductions in sputum macrophages (47%), leukotriene B4 (39%) and CXCL8 (52%).
AZD8309 inhibited LPS-induced inflammation measured in induced sputum of normal volunteers, indicating that this treatment may be useful in the treatment of neutrophilic diseases of the airways, such as COPD, severe asthma and cystic fibrosis.
Neutrophil; Chemokine receptor; CXCL1; COPD; Severe asthma; Cystic fibrosis; Endotoxin
Galectins constitute an evolutionary conserved family that bind to β-galactosides. Increasing evidence shows that galectins are involved in many fundamental biological processes such as cellular communication, inflammation, differentiation and apoptosis. Changes in galectin-3 (Gal-3) expression are commonly seen in cancer and pre-cancerous conditions, and Gal-3 may be involved in the regulation of diverse cancer cell activities that contribute to tumourigenesis, cancer progression and metastasis. In addition, Gal-3 is a pro-inflammatory regulator in rheumatoid arthritis. Gal-3 has been shown to be involved in many aspects in allergic inflammation, such as eosinophil recruitment, airway remodeling, development of a Th2 phenotype as well as increased expression of inflammatory mediators. In an in vivo model it was shown that bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from ovalbumin-challenged mice contained significantly higher levels of Gal-3 compared to control mice. The molecular mechanisms of Gal-3 in human asthma have not been fully elucidated. This review will focus on what is known about the Gal-3 and its role in the pathophysiological mechanisms of asthma to evaluate the potential of Gal-3 as a biomarker and therapeutic target of asthma.
Galectin-3; Inflammation; Leukocyte; Airway hyperresponsiveness; Airway remodeling
As the multipotent progenitor population of the airway epithelium, human airway basal cells (BC) replenish the specialized differentiated cell populations of the mucociliated airway epithelium during physiological turnover and repair. Cultured primary BC divide a limited number of times before entering a state of replicative senescence, preventing the establishment of long-term replicating cultures of airway BC that maintain their original phenotype.
To generate an immortalized human airway BC cell line, primary human airway BC obtained by brushing the airway epithelium of healthy nonsmokers were infected with a retrovirus expressing human telomerase (hTERT). The resulting immortalized cell line was then characterized under non-differentiating and differentiating air-liquid interface (ALI) culture conditions using ELISA, TaqMan quantitative PCR, Western analysis, and immunofluorescent and immunohistochemical staining analysis for cell type specific markers. In addition, the ability of the cell line to respond to environmental stimuli under differentiating ALI culture was assessed.
We successfully generated an immortalized human airway BC cell line termed BCi-NS1 via expression of hTERT. A single cell derived clone from the parental BCi-NS1 cells, BCi-NS1.1, retains characteristics of the original primary cells for over 40 passages and demonstrates a multipotent differentiation capacity into secretory (MUC5AC, MUC5B), goblet (TFF3), Clara (CC10) and ciliated (DNAI1, FOXJ1) cells on ALI culture. The cells can respond to external stimuli such as IL-13, resulting in alteration of the normal differentiation process.
Development of immortalized human airway BC that retain multipotent differentiation capacity over long-term culture should be useful in understanding the biology of BC, the response of BC to environmental stress, and as a target for assessment of pharmacologic agents.
Airway; Basal cell; Immortalized; hTERT; Progenitor; Differentiation