The impact of cigarette smoking can persist for extended periods following smoking cessation and may involve epigenetic reprogramming. Changes in DNA methylation associated with smoking may help to identify molecular pathways that contribute to the latency between exposure and disease onset. Cross-sectional cohort data from subjects in the International COPD Genetics Network (n = 1085) and the Boston Early-Onset COPD study (n = 369) were analyzed as the discovery and replication cohorts, respectively. Genome-wide methylation data on 27 578 CpG sites in 14 475 genes were obtained on DNA from peripheral blood leukocytes using the Illumina HumanMethylation27K Beadchip in both cohorts. We identified 15 sites significantly associated with current smoking, 2 sites associated with cumulative smoke exposure, and, within the subset of former smokers, 3 sites associated with time since quitting cigarettes. Two loci, factor II receptor-like 3 (F2RL3) and G-protein-coupled receptor 15 (GPR15), were significantly associated in all three analyses and were validated by pyrosequencing. These findings (i) identify a novel locus (GPR15) associated with cigarette smoking and (ii) suggest the existence of dynamic, site-specific methylation changes in response to smoking which may contribute to the extended risks associated with cigarette smoking that persist after cessation.
The common severe Z mutation (E342K) of α1-antitrypsin forms intracellular polymers that are associated with liver cirrhosis. The native fold of this protein is well-established and models have been proposed from crystallographic and biophysical data for the stable inter-molecular configuration that terminates the polymerization pathway. Despite these molecular ‘snapshots’, the details of the transition between monomer and polymer remain only partially understood. We surveyed the RCL (reactive centre loop) of α1-antitrypsin to identify sites important for progression, through intermediate states, to polymer. Mutations at P14P12 and P4, but not P10P8 or P2P1′, resulted in a decrease in detectable polymer in a cell model that recapitulates the intracellular polymerization of the Z variant, consistent with polymerization from a near-native conformation. We have developed a FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer)-based assay to monitor polymerization in small sample volumes. An in vitro assessment revealed the position-specific effects on the unimolecular and multimolecular phases of polymerization: the P14P12 region self-inserts early during activation, while the interaction between P6P4 and β-sheet A presents a kinetic barrier late in the polymerization pathway. Correspondingly, mutations at P6P4, but not P14P12, yield an increase in the overall apparent activation energy of association from ~360 to 550 kJ mol−1.
cirrhosis; emphysema; FRET; intermediate; polymerization; serpin; ANS, 8-anilinonaphthalene-1-sulfonic acid; bis-ANS, 4,4′-dianilino-1,1′-binaphthyl-5,5′-disulfonic acid; FRET, Förster resonance energy transfer; NTA, nitrilotriacetic acid; RCL, reactive centre loop; SI, stoichiometry of inhibition; Tm,midpoint of thermal denaturation
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with local (lung) and systemic (blood) inflammation and manifestations. DNA methylation is an important regulator of gene transcription, and global and specific gene methylation marks may vary with cigarette smoke exposure.
Objectives: To perform a comprehensive assessment of methylation marks in DNA from subjects well phenotyped for nonneoplastic lung disease.
Methods: We conducted array-based methylation screens, using a test-replication approach, in two family-based cohorts (n = 1,085 and 369 subjects).
Measurements and Main Results: We observed 349 CpG sites significantly associated with the presence and severity of COPD in both cohorts. Seventy percent of the associated CpG sites were outside of CpG islands, with the majority of CpG sites relatively hypomethylated. Gene ontology analysis based on these 349 CpGs (330 genes) suggested the involvement of a number of genes responsible for immune and inflammatory system pathways, responses to stress and external stimuli, as well as wound healing and coagulation cascades. Interestingly, our observations include significant, replicable associations between SERPINA1 hypomethylation and COPD and lower average lung function phenotypes (combined P values: COPD, 1.5 × 10−23; FEV1/FVC, 1.5 × 10−35; FEV1, 2.2 × 10−40).
Conclusions: Genetic and epigenetic pathways may both contribute to COPD. Many of the top associations between COPD and DNA methylation occur in biologically plausible pathways. This large-scale analysis suggests that DNA methylation may be a biomarker of COPD and may highlight new pathways of COPD pathogenesis.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; epigenetics; DNA methylation; smoking
The genetic risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are still largely unknown. To date, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of limited size have identified several novel risk loci for COPD at CHRNA3/CHRNA5/IREB2, HHIP and FAM13A; additional loci may be identified through larger studies. We performed a GWAS using a total of 3499 cases and 1922 control subjects from four cohorts: the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE); the Normative Aging Study (NAS) and National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT); Bergen, Norway (GenKOLS); and the COPDGene study. Genotyping was performed on Illumina platforms with additional markers imputed using 1000 Genomes data; results were summarized using fixed-effect meta-analysis. We identified a new genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 19q13 (rs7937, OR = 0.74, P = 2.9 × 10−9). Genotyping this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and another nearby SNP in linkage disequilibrium (rs2604894) in 2859 subjects from the family-based International COPD Genetics Network study (ICGN) demonstrated supportive evidence for association for COPD (P = 0.28 and 0.11 for rs7937 and rs2604894), pre-bronchodilator FEV1 (P = 0.08 and 0.04) and severe (GOLD 3&4) COPD (P = 0.09 and 0.017). This region includes RAB4B, EGLN2, MIA and CYP2A6, and has previously been identified in association with cigarette smoking behavior.
Human induced pluripotent stem cells offer the possibility of generating unlimited quantities of cells for autologous transplantation. By correcting the genetic defect underlying Z-allele α1-antitrypsin deficiency, we recently provided the first proof of principle for application of human induced pluripotent stem cells in the treatment of inherited genetic disorders. Several important safety concerns will need to be addressed before this can be translated into clinical practice.
Rationale: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and responses to treatment are heterogeneous.
Objectives: Investigate the usefulness of blood eosinophils to direct corticosteroid therapy during exacerbations.
Methods: Subjects with COPD exacerbations were entered into a randomized biomarker-directed double-blind corticosteroid versus standard therapy study. Subjects in the standard arm received prednisolone for 2 weeks, whereas in the biomarker-directed arm, prednisolone or matching placebo was given according to the blood eosinophil count biomarker. Both study groups received antibiotics. Blood eosinophils were measured in the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms to define biomarker-positive and -negative exacerbations (blood eosinophil count > and ≤ 2%, respectively). The primary outcome was to determine noninferiority in health status using the chronic respiratory questionnaire (CRQ) and in the proportion of exacerbations associated with a treatment failure between subjects allocated to the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms.
Measurements and Main Results: There were 86 and 80 exacerbations in the biomarker-directed and standard treatment groups, respectively. In the biomarker-directed group, 49% of the exacerbations were not treated with prednisolone. CRQ improvement after treatment in the standard and biomarker-directed therapy groups was similar (0.8 vs. 1.1; mean difference, 0.3; 95% confidence interval, 0.0–0.6; P = 0.05). There was a greater improvement in CRQ in biomarker-negative exacerbations given placebo compared with those given prednisolone (mean difference, 0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.01–0.90; P = 0.04). In biomarker-negative exacerbations, treatment failures occurred in 15% given prednisolone and 2% of those given placebo (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: The peripheral blood eosinophil count is a promising biomarker to direct corticosteroid therapy during COPD exacerbations, but larger studies are required.
Clinical trial registered with www.controlled-trials.com (ISRCTN92422949).
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbations; prednisolone; infection; eosinophils
Two recent metaanalyses of genome-wide association studies conducted by the CHARGE and SpiroMeta consortia identified novel loci yielding evidence of association at or near genome-wide significance (GWS) with FEV1 and FEV1/FVC. We hypothesized that a subset of these markers would also be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) susceptibility. Thirty-two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near 17 genes in 11 previously identified GWS spirometric genomic regions were tested for association with COPD status in four COPD case-control study samples (NETT/NAS, the Norway case-control study, ECLIPSE, and the first 1,000 subjects in COPDGene; total sample size, 3,456 cases and 1,906 controls). In addition to testing the 32 spirometric GWS SNPs, we tested a dense panel of imputed HapMap2 SNP markers from the 17 genes located near the 32 GWS SNPs and in a set of 21 well studied COPD candidate genes. Of the previously identified GWS spirometric genomic regions, three loci harbored SNPs associated with COPD susceptibility at a 5% false discovery rate: the 4q24 locus including FLJ20184/INTS12/GSTCD/NPNT, the 6p21 locus including AGER and PPT2, and the 5q33 locus including ADAM19. In conclusion, markers previously associated at or near GWS with spirometric measures were tested for association with COPD status in data from four COPD case-control studies, and three loci showed evidence of association with COPD susceptibility at a 5% false discovery rate.
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.
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)
Cachexia, whether assessed by body mass index (BMI) or fat-free mass index (FFMI), affects a significant proportion of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is an independent risk factor for increased mortality, increased emphysema, and more severe airflow obstruction. The variable development of cachexia among patients with COPD suggests a role for genetic susceptibility. The objective of the present study was to determine genetic susceptibility loci involved in the development of low BMI and FFMI in subjects with COPD. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BMI was conducted in three independent cohorts of European descent with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage II or higher COPD: Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate End-Points (ECLIPSE; n = 1,734); Norway-Bergen cohort (n = 851); and a subset of subjects from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT; n = 365). A genome-wide association of FFMI was conducted in two of the cohorts (ECLIPSE and Norway). In the combined analyses, a significant association was found between rs8050136, located in the first intron of the fat mass and obesity–associated (FTO) gene, and BMI (P = 4.97 × 10−7) and FFMI (P = 1.19 × 10−7). We replicated the association in a fourth, independent cohort consisting of 502 subjects with COPD from COPDGene (P = 6 × 10−3). Within the largest contributing cohort of our analysis, lung function, as assessed by forced expiratory volume at 1 second, varied significantly by FTO genotype. Our analysis suggests a potential role for the FTO locus in the determination of anthropomorphic measures associated with COPD.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease genetics; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease epidemiology; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease metabolism; genome-wide association study
Rationale: Chromosome 12p has been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study (BEOCOPD), but a susceptibility gene in that region has not been identified.
Objectives: We used high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mapping to implicate a COPD susceptibility gene and an animal model to determine the potential role of SOX5 in lung development and COPD.
Methods: On chromosome 12p, we genotyped 1,387 SNPs in 386 COPD cases from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial and 424 control smokers from the Normative Aging Study. SNPs with significant associations were then tested in the BEOCOPD study and the International COPD Genetics Network. Based on the human results, we assessed histology and gene expression in the lungs of Sox5−/− mice.
Measurements and Main Results: In the case-control analysis, 27 SNPs were significant at P ≤ 0.01. The most significant SNP in the BEOCOPD replication was rs11046966 (National Emphysema Treatment Trial–Normative Aging Study P = 6.0 × 10−4, BEOCOPD P = 1.5 × 10−5, combined P = 1.7 × 10−7), located 3′ to the gene SOX5. Association with rs11046966 was not replicated in the International COPD Genetics Network. Sox5−/− mice showed abnormal lung development, with a delay in maturation before the saccular stage, as early as E16.5. Lung pathology in Sox5−/− lungs was associated with a decrease in fibronectin expression, an extracellular matrix component critical for branching morphogenesis.
Conclusions: Genetic variation in the transcription factor SOX5 is associated with COPD susceptibility. A mouse model suggests that the effect may be due, in part, to its effects on lung development and/or repair processes.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; knockout mice; lung development; single nucleotide polymorphism
Because chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous condition, the identification of specific clinical phenotypes is key to developing more effective therapies. To explore if the persistence of systemic inflammation is associated with poor clinical outcomes in COPD we assessed patients recruited to the well-characterized ECLIPSE cohort (NCT00292552).
Methods and Findings
Six inflammatory biomarkers in peripheral blood (white blood cells (WBC) count and CRP, IL-6, IL-8, fibrinogen and TNF-α levels) were quantified in 1,755 COPD patients, 297 smokers with normal spirometry and 202 non-smoker controls that were followed-up for three years. We found that, at baseline, 30% of COPD patients did not show evidence of systemic inflammation whereas 16% had persistent systemic inflammation. Even though pulmonary abnormalities were similar in these two groups, persistently inflamed patients during follow-up had significantly increased all-cause mortality (13% vs. 2%, p<0.001) and exacerbation frequency (1.5 (1.5) vs. 0.9 (1.1) per year, p<0.001) compared to non-inflamed ones. As a descriptive study our results show associations but do not prove causality. Besides this, the inflammatory response is complex and we studied only a limited panel of biomarkers, albeit they are those investigated by the majority of previous studies and are often and easily measured in clinical practice.
Overall, these results identify a novel systemic inflammatory COPD phenotype that may be the target of specific research and treatment.
Rationale: There are no accepted blood-based biomarkers in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pulmonary and activation-regulated chemokine (PARC/CCL-18) is a lung-predominant inflammatory protein that is found in serum.
Objectives: To determine whether PARC/CCL-18 levels are elevated and modifiable in COPD and to determine their relationship to clinical end points of hospitalization and mortality.
Methods: PARC/CCL-18 was measured in serum samples from individuals who participated in the ECLIPSE (Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints) and LHS (Lung Health Study) studies and a prednisolone intervention study.
Measurements and Main Results: Serum PARC/CCL-18 levels were higher in subjects with COPD than in smokers or lifetime nonsmokers without COPD (105 vs. 81 vs. 80 ng/ml, respectively; P < 0.0001). Elevated PARC/CCL-18 levels were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular hospitalization or mortality in the LHS cohort and with total mortality in the ECLIPSE cohort.
Conclusions: Serum PARC/CCL-18 levels are elevated in COPD and track clinical outcomes. PARC/CCL-18, a lung-predominant chemokine, could be a useful blood biomarker in COPD.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00292552).
biomarker; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; PARC/CCL-18; chemokine
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hIPSCs) represent a unique opportunity for regenerative medicine since they offer the prospect of generating unlimited quantities of cells for autologous transplantation as a novel treatment for a broad range of disorders1,2,3,4. However, the use of hIPSCs in the context of genetically inherited human disease will require correction of disease-causing mutations in a manner that is fully compatible with clinical applications3,5. The methods currently available, such as homologous recombination, lack the necessary efficiency and also leave residual sequences in the targeted genome6. Therefore, the development of new approaches to edit the mammalian genome is a prerequisite to delivering the clinical promise of hIPSCs. Here, we show that a combination of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs)7 and piggyBac8,9 technology in hIPSCs can achieve bi-allelic correction of a point mutation (Glu342Lys) in the α1-antitrypsin (A1AT, also called SERPINA1) gene that is responsible for α1-antitrypsin deficiency (A1ATD). Genetic correction of hIPSCs restored the structure and function of A1AT in subsequently derived liver cells in vitro and in vivo. This approach is significantly more efficient than any other gene targeting technology that is currently available and crucially prevents contamination of the host genome with residual non-human sequences. Our results provide the first proof of principle for the potential of combining hIPSCs with genetic correction to generate clinically relevant cells for autologous cell-based therapies.
Background: Investigating the kinetics of Aβ peptide aggregation in vivo is vital to understanding Alzheimer disease.
Results: Linking two Aβ40 or Aβ42 peptides together increases their aggregation rates in Drosophila, but only increases the neurotoxicity of Aβ42.
Conclusion: Increasing the rate of aggregation of Aβ increases amyloid deposition but not necessarily toxicity.
Significance: The toxicity of Aβ depends on the mechanism and not just the rate of amyloid formation.
The generation and subsequent aggregation of amyloid β (Aβ) peptides play a crucial initiating role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). The two main isoforms of these peptides have 40 (Aβ40) or 42 residues (Aβ42), the latter having a higher propensity to aggregate in vitro and being the main component of the plaques observed in vivo in AD patients. We have designed a series of tandem dimeric constructs of these Aβ peptides to probe the manner in which changes in the aggregation kinetics of Aβ affect its deposition and toxicity in a Drosophila melanogaster model system. The levels of insoluble aggregates were found to be substantially elevated in flies expressing the tandem constructs of both Aβ40 and Aβ42 compared with the equivalent monomeric peptides, consistent with the higher effective concentration, and hence increased aggregation rate, of the peptides in the tandem repeat. A unique feature of the Aβ42 constructs, however, is the appearance of high levels of soluble oligomeric aggregates and a corresponding dramatic increase in their in vivo toxicity. The toxic nature of the Aβ42 peptide in vivo can therefore be attributed to the higher kinetic stability of the oligomeric intermediate states that it populates relative to those of Aβ40 rather than simply to its higher rate of aggregation.
Alzheimer Disease; Amyloid; Drosophila; Neurodegenerative Diseases; Protein Aggregation
In conformational diseases, native protein conformers convert to pathological intermediates that polymerize. Structural characterization of these key intermediates is challenging. They are unstable and minimally populated in dynamic equilibria that may be perturbed by many analytical techniques. We have characterized a forme fruste deficiency variant of α1-antitrypsin (Lys154Asn) that forms polymers recapitulating the conformer-specific neo-epitope observed in polymers that form in vivo. Lys154Asn α1-antitrypsin populates an intermediate ensemble along the polymerization pathway at physiological temperatures. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to report the structural and dynamic changes associated with this. Our data highlight an interaction network likely to regulate conformational change and do not support the recent contention that the disease-relevant intermediate is substantially unfolded. Conformational disease intermediates may best be defined using powerful but minimally perturbing techniques, mild disease mutants, and physiological conditions.
► An α1-antitrypsin deficiency mutant is a forme fruste model for the Z variant ► NMR spectroscopic and ion-mobility mass spectrometric characterization of the mutant ► Residue-specific discrimination of disease-relevant and denaturant-induced ensembles ► A “clasp” motif caps a network of stabilizing interactions in α1-antitrypsin
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by alveolar destruction and abnormal inflammatory responses to noxious stimuli. Surfactant protein–D (SFTPD) is immunomodulatory and essential to host defense. We hypothesized that polymorphisms in SFTPD could influence the susceptibility to COPD. We genotyped six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in surfactant protein D in 389 patients with COPD in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) and 472 smoking control subjects from the Normative Aging Study (NAS). Case-control association analysis was performed using Cochran–Armitage trend tests and multivariate logistic regression. The replication of significant associations was attempted in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study, the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE) Study, and the Bergen Cohort. We also correlated SFTPD genotypes with serum concentrations of surfactant protein–D (SP-D) in the ECLIPSE Study. In the NETT–NAS case-control analysis, four SFTPD SNPs were associated with susceptibility to COPD: rs2245121 (P = 0.01), rs911887 (P = 0.006), rs6413520 (P = 0.004), and rs721917 (P = 0.006). In the family-based analysis of the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study, rs911887 was associated with prebronchodilator and postbronchodilator FEV1 (P = 0.003 and P = 0.02, respectively). An intronic SNP in SFTPD, rs7078012, was associated with COPD in the ECLIPSE Study and the Bergen Cohort. Multiple SFTPD SNPs were associated with serum SP-D concentrations in the ECLIPSE Study. We demonstrated an association of polymorphisms in SFTPD with COPD in multiple populations. We demonstrated a correlation between SFTPD SNPs and SP-D protein concentrations. The SNPs associated with COPD and SP-D concentrations differed, suggesting distinct genetic influences on susceptibility to COPD and SP-D concentrations.
COPD; surfactant protein–D; single-nucleotide polymorphisms; genetics
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), characterized by airflow limitation, is a disorder with high phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Pulmonary emphysema is a major but variable component of COPD; familial data suggest that different components of COPD, such as emphysema, may be influenced by specific genetic factors.
Objectives: To identify genetic determinants of emphysema assessed through high-resolution chest computed tomography in individuals with COPD.
Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of emphysema determined from chest computed tomography scans with a total of 2,380 individuals with COPD in three independent cohorts of white individuals from (1) a cohort from Bergen, Norway, (2) the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE) Study, and (3) the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT). We tested single-nucleotide polymorphism associations with the presence or absence of emphysema determined by radiologist assessment in two of the three cohorts and a quantitative emphysema trait (percentage of lung voxels less than –950 Hounsfield units) in all three cohorts.
Measurements and Main Results: We identified association of a single-nucleotide polymorphism in BICD1 with the presence or absence of emphysema (P = 5.2 × 10−7 with at least mild emphysema vs. control subjects; P = 4.8 × 10−8 with moderate and more severe emphysema vs. control subjects).
Conclusions: Our study suggests that genetic variants in BICD1 are associated with qualitative emphysema in COPD. Variants in BICD1 are associated with length of telomeres, which suggests that a mechanism linked to accelerated aging may be involved in the pathogenesis of emphysema.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00292552).
emphysema; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; BICD1; single-nucleotide polymorphism
We have created a Drosophila model of lysozyme amyloidosis to investigate the in vivo behavior of disease-associated variants. To achieve this objective, wild-type (WT) protein and the amyloidogenic variants F57I and D67H were expressed in Drosophila melanogaster using the UAS-gal4 system and both the ubiquitous and retinal expression drivers Act5C-gal4 and gmr-gal4. The nontransgenic w1118
Drosophila line was used as a control throughout. We utilized ELISA experiments to probe lysozyme protein levels, scanning electron microscopy for eye phenotype classification, and immunohistochemistry to detect the unfolded protein response (UPR) activation. We observed that expressing the destabilized F57I and D67H lysozymes triggers UPR activation, resulting in degradation of these variants, whereas the WT lysozyme is secreted into the fly hemolymph. Indeed, the level of WT was up to 17 times more abundant than the variant proteins. In addition, the F57I variant gave rise to a significant disruption of the eye development, and this correlated to pronounced UPR activation. These results support the concept that the onset of familial amyloid disease is linked to an inability of the UPR to degrade completely the amyloidogenic lysozymes prior to secretion, resulting in secretion of these destabilized variants, thereby leading to deposition and associated organ damage.—Kumita, J. R., Helmfors, L., Williams, J., Luheshi, L. M., Menzer, L., Dumoulin, M., Lomas, D. A., Crowther, D. C., Dobson, C. M., Brorsson, A.-C. Disease-related amyloidogenic variants of human lysozyme trigger the unfolded protein response and disturb eye development in Drosophila melanogaster.
quality control system; ER stress; xbp1-EGFP
Rationale: Genome-wide association studies have shown significant associations between variants near hedgehog interacting protein HHIP, FAM13A, and cholinergic nicotinic acetylcholine receptor CHRNA3/5 with increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in smokers; however, the disease mechanisms behind these associations are not well understood.
Objectives: To identify the association between replicated loci and COPD-related phenotypes in well-characterized patient populations.
Methods: The relationship between these three loci and COPD-related phenotypes was assessed in the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate End-point (ECLIPSE) cohort. The results were validated in the family-based International COPD Genetics Network (ICGN).
Measurements and Main Results: The CHRNA3/5 locus was significantly associated with pack-years of smoking (P = 0.002 and 3 × 10−4), emphysema assessed by a radiologist using high-resolution computed tomography (P = 2 × 10−4 and 4.8 × 10−5), and airflow obstruction (P = 0.004 and 1.8 × 10−5) in the ECLIPSE and ICGN populations, respectively. However, variants in the IREB2 gene were only significantly associated with FEV1. The HHIP locus was not associated with smoking intensity but was associated with FEV1/FVC (P = 1.9 × 10−4 and 0.004 in the ECLIPSE and ICGN populations). The HHIP locus was also associated with fat-free body mass (P = 0.007) and with both retrospectively (P = 0.015) and prospectively (P = 0.024) collected COPD exacerbations in the ECLIPSE cohort. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the FAM13A locus were associated with lung function.
Conclusions: The CHRNA3/5 locus was associated with increased smoking intensity and emphysema in individuals with COPD, whereas the HHIP and FAM13A loci were not associated with smoking intensity. The HHIP locus was associated with the systemic components of COPD and with the frequency of COPD exacerbations. FAM13A locus was associated with lung function.
COPD exacerbations; nicotine addiction; high-resolution CT; genetic association analysis; emphysema
A new 1.8 Å resolution structure of α1-antitrypsin demonstrates structural variability within an allosteric site in the molecule.
The intrinsic propensity of α1-antitrypsin to undergo conformational transitions from its metastable native state to hyperstable forms provides a motive force for its antiprotease function. However, aberrant conformational change can also occur via an intermolecular linkage that results in polymerization. This has both loss-of-function and gain-of-function effects that lead to deficiency of the protein in human circulation, emphysema and hepatic cirrhosis. One of the most promising therapeutic strategies being developed to treat this disease targets small molecules to an allosteric site in the α1-antitrypsin molecule. Partial filling of this site impedes polymerization without abolishing function. Drug development can be improved by optimizing data on the structure and dynamics of this site. A new 1.8 Å resolution structure of α1-antitrypsin demonstrates structural variability within this site, with associated fluctuations in its upper and lower entrance grooves and ligand-binding characteristics around the innermost stable enclosed hydrophobic recess. These data will allow a broader selection of chemotypes and derivatives to be tested in silico and in vitro when screening and developing compounds to modulate conformational change to block the pathological mechanism while preserving function.
α1-antitrypsin; drug development
There is a need for biomarkers to better characterise individuals with COPD and to aid with the development of therapeutic interventions. A panel of putative blood biomarkers was assessed in a subgroup of the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE) cohort.
Thirty-four blood biomarkers were assessed in 201 subjects with COPD, 37 ex-smoker controls with normal lung function and 37 healthy non-smokers selected from the ECLIPSE cohort. Biomarker repeatability was assessed using baseline and 3-month samples. Intergroup comparisons were made using analysis of variance, repeatability was assessed through Bland-Altman plots, and correlations between biomarkers and clinical characteristics were assessed using Spearman correlation coefficients.
Fifteen biomarkers were significantly different in individuals with COPD when compared to former or non-smoker controls. Some biomarkers, including tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ, were measurable in only a minority of subjects whilst others such as C-reactive protein showed wide variability over the 3-month replication period. Fibrinogen was the most repeatable biomarker and exhibited a weak correlation with 6-minute walk distance, exacerbation rate, BODE index and MRC dyspnoea score in COPD subjects. 33% (66/201) of the COPD subjects reported at least 1 exacerbation over the 3 month study with 18% (36/201) reporting the exacerbation within 30 days of the 3-month visit. CRP, fibrinogen interleukin-6 and surfactant protein-D were significantly elevated in those COPD subjects with exacerbations within 30 days of the 3-month visit compared with those individuals that did not exacerbate or whose exacerbations had resolved.
Only a few of the biomarkers assessed may be useful in diagnosis or management of COPD where the diagnosis is based on airflow obstruction (GOLD). Further analysis of more promising biomarkers may reveal utility in subsets of patients. Fibrinogen in particular has emerged as a potentially useful biomarker from this cohort and requires further investigation.
SCO104960, clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT00292552
Biomarkers; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE); Inflammation
Previous expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) studies have performed genetic association studies for gene expression, but most of these studies examined lymphoblastoid cell lines from non-diseased individuals. We examined the genetics of gene expression in a relevant disease tissue from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients to identify functional effects of known susceptibility genes and to find novel disease genes. By combining gene expression profiling on induced sputum samples from 131 COPD cases from the ECLIPSE Study with genomewide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data, we found 4315 significant cis-eQTL SNP-probe set associations (3309 unique SNPs). The 3309 SNPs were tested for association with COPD in a genomewide association study (GWAS) dataset, which included 2940 COPD cases and 1380 controls. Adjusting for 3309 tests (p<1.5e-5), the two SNPs which were significantly associated with COPD were located in two separate genes in a known COPD locus on chromosome 15: CHRNA5 and IREB2. Detailed analysis of chromosome 15 demonstrated additional eQTLs for IREB2 mapping to that gene. eQTL SNPs for CHRNA5 mapped to multiple linkage disequilibrium (LD) bins. The eQTLs for IREB2 and CHRNA5 were not in LD. Seventy-four additional eQTL SNPs were associated with COPD at p<0.01. These were genotyped in two COPD populations, finding replicated associations with a SNP in PSORS1C1, in the HLA-C region on chromosome 6. Integrative analysis of GWAS and gene expression data from relevant tissue from diseased subjects has located potential functional variants in two known COPD genes and has identified a novel COPD susceptibility locus.
Rationale: Several family-based studies have identified genetic linkage for lung function and airflow obstruction to chromosome 2q.
Objectives: We hypothesized that merging results of high-resolution single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mapping in four separate populations would lead to the identification of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) susceptibility genes on chromosome 2q.
Methods: Within the chromosome 2q linkage region, 2,843 SNPs were genotyped in 806 COPD cases and 779 control subjects from Norway, and 2,484 SNPs were genotyped in 309 patients with severe COPD from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial and 330 community control subjects. Significant associations from the combined results across the two case-control studies were followed up in 1,839 individuals from 603 families from the International COPD Genetics Network (ICGN) and in 949 individuals from 127 families in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study.
Measurements and Main Results: Merging the results of the two case-control analyses, 14 of the 790 overlapping SNPs had a combined P < 0.01. Two of these 14 SNPs were consistently associated with COPD in the ICGN families. The association with one SNP, located in the gene XRCC5, was replicated in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study, with a combined P = 2.51 × 10−5 across the four studies, which remains significant when adjusted for multiple testing (P = 0.02). Genotype imputation confirmed the association with SNPs in XRCC5.
Conclusions: By combining data from COPD genetic association studies conducted in four independent patient samples, we have identified XRCC5, an ATP-dependent DNA helicase, as a potential COPD susceptibility gene.
emphysema; genetic linkage; metaanalysis; single nucleotide polymorphism
Alpha-1-antitrypsin is the most abundant circulating protease inhibitor. It is mainly produced by the liver and secreted into the circulation where it acts to prevent excessive proteolytic damage in the lungs by the enzyme neutrophil elastase. The most common severe deficiency allele is the Z mutation, which causes the protein to self-associate into ordered polymers. These polymers accumulate within hepatocytes to cause liver damage. The resulting lack of circulating α1-antitrypsin predisposes the Z homozygote to proteolytic lung damage and emphysema. Other pathways may also contribute to the development of lung disease. In particular, polymers of Z α1-antitrypsin can form within the lung where they act as a pro-inflammatory stimulus that may exacerbate protease-mediated lung damage. Researchers recognized in the 1980s that plasma α1-antitrypsin levels could be restored by intravenous infusions of purified human protein. Alpha-1-antitrypsin replacement therapy was introduced in 1987 but subsequent clinical trials have produced conflicting results, and to date there remains no widely accepted clinical evidence of the efficacy of α1-antitrypsin replacement therapy. This review addresses our current understanding of disease pathogenesis in α1-antitrypsin deficiency and questions why this treatment in isolation may not be effective. In particular it discusses the possible role of α1-antitrypsin polymers in exacerbating intrapulmonary inflammation and attenuating the efficacy of α1-antitrypsin replacement therapy.
α1-antitrypsin deficiency; emphysema; augmentation therapy