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1.  Genome-Wide Study of Percent Emphysema on Computed Tomography in the General Population. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung/SNP Health Association Resource Study 
Rationale: Pulmonary emphysema overlaps partially with spirometrically defined chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is heritable, with moderately high familial clustering.
Objectives: To complete a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for the percentage of emphysema-like lung on computed tomography in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Lung/SNP Health Association Resource (SHARe) Study, a large, population-based cohort in the United States.
Methods: We determined percent emphysema and upper-lower lobe ratio in emphysema defined by lung regions less than −950 HU on cardiac scans. Genetic analyses were reported combined across four race/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white (n = 2,587), African American (n = 2,510), Hispanic (n = 2,113), and Chinese (n = 704) and stratified by race and ethnicity.
Measurements and Main Results: Among 7,914 participants, we identified regions at genome-wide significance for percent emphysema in or near SNRPF (rs7957346; P = 2.2 × 10−8) and PPT2 (rs10947233; P = 3.2 × 10−8), both of which replicated in an additional 6,023 individuals of European ancestry. Both single-nucleotide polymorphisms were previously implicated as genes influencing lung function, and analyses including lung function revealed independent associations for percent emphysema. Among Hispanics, we identified a genetic locus for upper-lower lobe ratio near the α-mannosidase–related gene MAN2B1 (rs10411619; P = 1.1 × 10−9; minor allele frequency [MAF], 4.4%). Among Chinese, we identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with upper-lower lobe ratio near DHX15 (rs7698250; P = 1.8 × 10−10; MAF, 2.7%) and MGAT5B (rs7221059; P = 2.7 × 10−8; MAF, 2.6%), which acts on α-linked mannose. Among African Americans, a locus near a third α-mannosidase–related gene, MAN1C1 (rs12130495; P = 9.9 × 10−6; MAF, 13.3%) was associated with percent emphysema.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that some genes previously identified as influencing lung function are independently associated with emphysema rather than lung function, and that genes related to α-mannosidase may influence risk of emphysema.
PMCID: PMC3977717  PMID: 24383474
emphysema; computed tomography; multiethnic; cohort study; genetic association
2.  Bidirectional Relationship between Cognitive Function and Pneumonia 
Rationale: Relationships between chronic health conditions and acute infections remain poorly understood. Preclinical studies suggest crosstalk between nervous and immune systems.
Objectives: To determine bidirectional relationships between cognition and pneumonia.
Methods: We conducted longitudinal analyses of a population-based cohort over 10 years. We determined whether changes in cognition increase risk of pneumonia hospitalization by trajectory analyses and joint modeling. We then determined whether pneumonia hospitalization increased risk of subsequent dementia using a Cox model with pneumonia as a time-varying covariate.
Measurements and Main Results: Of the 5,888 participants, 639 (10.9%) were hospitalized with pneumonia at least once. Most participants had normal cognition before pneumonia. Three cognition trajectories were identified: no, minimal, and severe rapid decline. A greater proportion of participants hospitalized with pneumonia were on trajectories of minimal or severe decline before occurrence of pneumonia compared with those never hospitalized with pneumonia (proportion with no, minimal, and severe decline were 67.1%, 22.8%, and 10.0% vs. 76.0%, 19.3%, and 4.6% for participants with and without pneumonia, respectively; P < 0.001). Small subclinical changes in cognition increased risk of pneumonia, even in those with normal cognition and physical function before pneumonia (β = −0.02; P < 0.001). Participants with pneumonia were subsequently at an increased risk of dementia (hazard ratio, 2.24 [95% confidence interval, 1.62–3.11]; P = 0.01). Associations were independent of demographics, health behaviors, other chronic conditions, and physical function. Bidirectional relationship did not vary based on severity of disease, and similar associations were noted for those with severe sepsis and other infections.
Conclusions: A bidirectional relationship exists between pneumonia and cognition and may explain how a single episode of infection in well-appearing older individuals accelerates decline in chronic health conditions and loss of functional independence.
PMCID: PMC3827700  PMID: 23848267
pneumonia; dementia; cognitive function
3.  Endothelial Microparticles in Mild Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Study 
Rationale: Basic research implicates alveolar endothelial cell apoptosis in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. However, information on endothelial microparticles (EMPs) in mild COPD and emphysema is lacking.
Objectives: We hypothesized that levels of CD31+ EMPs phenotypic for endothelial cell apoptosis would be elevated in COPD and associated with percent emphysema on computed tomography (CT). Associations with pulmonary microvascular blood flow (PMBF), diffusing capacity, and hyperinflation were also examined.
Methods: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis COPD Study recruited participants with COPD and control subjects age 50–79 years with greater than or equal to 10 pack-years without clinical cardiovascular disease. CD31+ EMPs were measured using flow cytometry in 180 participants who also underwent CTs and spirometry. CD62E+ EMPs phenotypic for endothelial cell activation were also measured. COPD was defined by standard criteria. Percent emphysema was defined as regions less than −950 Hounsfield units on full-lung scans. PMBF was assessed on gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Hyperinflation was defined as residual volume/total lung capacity. Linear regression was used to adjust for potential confounding factors.
Measurements and Main Results: CD31+ EMPs were elevated in COPD compared with control subjects (P = 0.03) and were notably increased in mild COPD (P = 0.03). CD31+ EMPs were positively related to percent emphysema (P = 0.045) and were inversely associated with PMBF (P = 0.047) and diffusing capacity (P = 0.01). In contrast, CD62E+ EMPs were elevated in severe COPD (P = 0.003) and hyperinflation (P = 0.001).
Conclusions: CD31+ EMPs, suggestive of endothelial cell apoptosis, were elevated in mild COPD and emphysema. In contrast, CD62E+ EMPs indicative of endothelial activation were elevated in severe COPD and hyperinflation.
PMCID: PMC3735242  PMID: 23600492
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; antigens, CD31; endothelium; pulmonary disease
4.  Genome-Wide Association Studies Identify CHRNA5/3 and HTR4 in the Development of Airflow Obstruction 
Wilk, Jemma B. | Shrine, Nick R. G. | Loehr, Laura R. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Manichaikul, Ani | Lopez, Lorna M. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Heckbert, Susan R. | Smolonska, Joanna | Tang, Wenbo | Loth, Daan W. | Curjuric, Ivan | Hui, Jennie | Cho, Michael H. | Latourelle, Jeanne C. | Henry, Amanda P. | Aldrich, Melinda | Bakke, Per | Beaty, Terri H. | Bentley, Amy R. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Brusselle, Guy G. | Burkart, Kristin M. | Chen, Ting-hsu | Couper, David | Crapo, James D. | Davies, Gail | Dupuis, Josée | Franceschini, Nora | Gulsvik, Amund | Hancock, Dana B. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hofman, Albert | Imboden, Medea | James, Alan L. | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Lahousse, Lies | Launer, Lenore J. | Litonjua, Augusto | Liu, Yongmei | Lohman, Kurt K. | Lomas, David A. | Lumley, Thomas | Marciante, Kristin D. | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meibohm, Bernd | Morrison, Alanna C. | Musk, Arthur W. | Myers, Richard H. | North, Kari E. | Postma, Dirkje S. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rich, Stephen S. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rochat, Thierry | Rotter, Jerome I. | Artigas, María Soler | Starr, John M. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Wijmenga, Cisca | Zanen, Pieter | Province, Michael A. | Silverman, Edwin K. | Deary, Ian J. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Cassano, Patricia A. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Barr, R. Graham | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Strachan, David P. | London, Stephanie J. | Boezen, H. Marike | Probst-Hensch, Nicole | Gharib, Sina A. | Hall, Ian P. | O’Connor, George T. | Tobin, Martin D. | Stricker, Bruno H.
Rationale: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified loci influencing lung function, but fewer genes influencing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are known.
Objectives: Perform meta-analyses of GWAS for airflow obstruction, a key pathophysiologic characteristic of COPD assessed by spirometry, in population-based cohorts examining all participants, ever smokers, never smokers, asthma-free participants, and more severe cases.
Methods: Fifteen cohorts were studied for discovery (3,368 affected; 29,507 unaffected), and a population-based family study and a meta-analysis of case-control studies were used for replication and regional follow-up (3,837 cases; 4,479 control subjects). Airflow obstruction was defined as FEV1 and its ratio to FVC (FEV1/FVC) both less than their respective lower limits of normal as determined by published reference equations.
Measurements and Main Results: The discovery meta-analyses identified one region on chromosome 15q25.1 meeting genome-wide significance in ever smokers that includes AGPHD1, IREB2, and CHRNA5/CHRNA3 genes. The region was also modestly associated among never smokers. Gene expression studies confirmed the presence of CHRNA5/3 in lung, airway smooth muscle, and bronchial epithelial cells. A single-nucleotide polymorphism in HTR4, a gene previously related to FEV1/FVC, achieved genome-wide statistical significance in combined meta-analysis. Top single-nucleotide polymorphisms in ADAM19, RARB, PPAP2B, and ADAMTS19 were nominally replicated in the COPD meta-analysis.
Conclusions: These results suggest an important role for the CHRNA5/3 region as a genetic risk factor for airflow obstruction that may be independent of smoking and implicate the HTR4 gene in the etiology of airflow obstruction.
PMCID: PMC3480517  PMID: 22837378
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; single-nucleotide polymorphism; genes
5.  Sex Hormones Are Associated with Right Ventricular Structure and Function 
Rationale: Sex hormones have effects on the left ventricle, but hormonal influences on the right ventricle (RV) are unknown.
Objectives: We hypothesized that sex hormones would be associated with RV morphology in a large cohort free of cardiovascular disease.
Methods: Sex hormones were measured by immunoassay and RV ejection fraction (RVEF), stroke volume (RVSV), mass, end-diastolic volume, and end-systolic volume (RVESV) were measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in 1,957 men and 1,738 postmenopausal women. The relationship between each hormone and RV parameter was assessed by multivariate linear regression.
Measurements and Main Results: Higher estradiol levels were associated with higher RVEF (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 1.43; P = 0.002) and lower RVESV (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], −0.87; 95% CI, −1.67 to −0.08; P = 0.03) in women using hormone therapy. In men, higher bioavailable testosterone levels were associated with higher RVSV (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 1.97; 95% CI, 0.20 to 3.73; P = 0.03) and greater RV mass and volumes (P ≤ 0.01). Higher dehydroepiandrosterone levels were associated with higher RVSV (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 1.37; 95% CI, 0.15 to 2.59; P = 0.03) and greater RV mass (β per 1 ln[nmol/L], 0.25; 95% CI, 0.00 to 0.49; P = 0.05) and volumes (P ≤ 0.001) in women.
Conclusions: Higher estradiol levels were associated with better RV systolic function in women using hormone therapy. Higher levels of androgens were associated with greater RV mass and volumes in both sexes.
PMCID: PMC3081282  PMID: 20889903
sex; sex hormones; right ventricle
6.  Physical Activity and Right Ventricular Structure and Function 
Rationale: Intense exercise in elite athletes is associated with increased left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) mass and volumes. However, the effect of physical activity on the RV in an older community-based population is unknown.
Objectives: We studied the association between levels of physical activity in adults and RV mass and volumes.
Methods: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) performed cardiac magnetic resonance imaging on community-based participants without clinical cardiovascular disease. RV volumes were determined from manually contoured endocardial margins. RV mass was determined from the difference between epicardial and endocardial volumes multiplied by the specific gravity of myocardium. Metabolic equivalent–minutes/day were calculated from the self-reported frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity.
Measurements and Main Results: The study sample (n = 1,867) was aged 61.8 ± 10 years, 48% male, 44% white, 27% African American, 20% Hispanic, and 9% Chinese. Higher levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity were linearly associated with higher RV mass (P = 0.02) after adjusting for demographics, anthropometrics, smoking, cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and LV mass. Higher levels of intentional exercise (physical activity done for the sole purpose of conditioning or fitness) were nonlinearly associated with RV mass independent of LV mass (P = 0.03). There were similar associations between higher levels of physical activity and larger RV volumes.
Conclusions: Higher levels of physical activity in adults were associated with greater RV mass independent of the associations with LV mass; similar results were found for RV volumes. Exercise-associated RV remodeling may have important clinical implications.
PMCID: PMC3056232  PMID: 20813888
exercise; pulmonary heart disease; pulmonary hypertension; magnetic resonance imaging
7.  Cigarette Smoking Is Associated with Subclinical Parenchymal Lung Disease 
Rationale: Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for diffuse parenchymal lung disease. Risk factors for subclinical parenchymal lung disease have not been described.
Objectives: To determine if cigarette smoking is associated with subclinical parenchymal lung disease, as measured by spirometric restriction and regions of high attenuation on computed tomography (CT) imaging.
Methods: We examined 2,563 adults without airflow obstruction or clinical cardiovascular disease in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a population-based cohort sampled from six communities in the United States. Cumulative and current cigarette smoking were assessed by pack-years and urine cotinine, respectively. Spirometric restriction was defined as a forced vital capacity less than the lower limit of normal. High attenuation areas on the lung fields of cardiac CT scans were defined as regions having an attenuation between −600 and −250 Hounsfield units, reflecting ground-glass and reticular abnormalities. Generalized additive models were used to adjust for age, gender, race/ethnicity, smoking status, anthropometrics, center, and CT scan parameters.
Measurements and Main Results: The prevalence of spirometric restriction was 10.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.9–11.2%) and increased relatively by 8% (95% CI, 3–12%) for each 10 cigarette pack-years in multivariate analysis. The median volume of high attenuation areas was 119 cm3 (interquartile range, 100–143 cm3). The volume of high attenuation areas increased by 1.6 cm3 (95% CI, 0.9–2.4 cm3) for each 10 cigarette pack-years in multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: Smoking may cause subclinical parenchymal lung disease detectable by spirometry and CT imaging, even among a generally healthy cohort.
PMCID: PMC2742759  PMID: 19542480
cigarette smoking; computed tomography; interstitial lung disease; restrictive lung disease; spirometry
8.  Exposure to Traffic and Left Ventricular Mass and Function 
Rationale: Ambient air pollution has been associated with heart failure morbidity and mortality. The mechanisms responsible for these associations are unknown but may include the effects of traffic-related pollutants on vascular or autonomic function.
Objectives: We assessed the cross-sectional relation between long-term air pollution, traffic exposures, and important end-organ measures of alterations in cardiac function—left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and ejection fraction—in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a multicenter study of adults without previous clinical cardiovascular disease.
Methods: A total of 3,827 eligible participants (aged 45–84 yr) underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging between 2000 and 2002. We estimated air pollution exposures using residential proximity to major roadways and interpolated concentrations of fine particulate matter (less than 2.5 microns in diameter). We examined adjusted associations between these exposures and left ventricular mass and function.
Measurements and Main Results: Relative to participants living more than 150 m from a major roadway, participants living within 50 m of a major roadway showed an adjusted 1.4 g/m2 (95% CI, 0.3–2.5) higher LVMI, a difference in mass corresponding to a 5.6 mm Hg greater systolic blood pressure. Ejection fraction was not associated with proximity to major roadways. Limited variability in estimates of fine particulate matter was observed within cities, and no associations with particulate matter were found for either outcome after adjustment for center.
Conclusions: Living in close proximity to major roadways is associated with higher LVMI, suggesting chronic vascular end-organ damage from a traffic-related environmental exposure. Air pollutants or another component of roadway proximity, such as noise, could be responsible.
PMCID: PMC2675567  PMID: 19164703
epidemiology; particulate matter; hypertrophy; heart failure; magnetic resonance imaging
9.  Racial Differences in Waiting List Outcomes in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Blacks with chronic illness have poorer outcomes than whites in the United States. The health outcomes of minorities with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on the lung transplant waiting list have not been studied.
Objectives: To compare outcomes of black and white patients with COPD after listing for lung transplantation in the United States.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study of all 280 non-Hispanic black and 5,272 non-Hispanic white adults 40 years and older with COPD listed for lung transplantation in the United States between 1995 and 2004.
Measurements and Main Results: Blacks with COPD were more likely to have pulmonary hypertension, obesity, and diabetes; to lack private health insurance; and to live in poorer neighborhoods than whites. Blacks were less likely to undergo transplantation after listing compared with whites, despite adjustment for age, lung function, pulmonary hypertension, cardiovascular risk factors, insurance coverage, and poverty level (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.83; 95% confidence interval, 0.70–0.98; P = 0.03). This was accompanied by a greater risk of dying or being removed from the list among blacks (unadjusted hazard ratio, 1.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.05–1.63; P = 0.02).
Conclusions: After listing for lung transplantation, black patients with COPD were less likely to undergo transplantation and more likely to die or be removed from the list compared with white patients. Unequal access to care may have contributed to these differences.
PMCID: PMC2258441  PMID: 18006881
racial disparities; lung transplantation; survival; competing risks; black or African American
10.  Impaired Flow-mediated Dilation Is Associated with Low Pulmonary Function and Emphysema in Ex-smokers 
Rationale: Basic science research suggests a causal role for endothelial dysfunction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Clinical studies examining endothelial function are lacking, particularly early in the disease. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) is a physiologic measure of endothelial reactivity to endogenous nitric oxide.
Objectives: We hypothesized that lower FMD among former smokers would be associated with lower post-bronchodilator FEV1, higher percentage of emphysema using computed tomography (CT) and lower diffusing capacity.
Methods: We measured FMD, pulmonary function, and CT percentage of emphysema in a random sample of 107 cotinine-confirmed former smokers in the ongoing EMCAP study. FMD was defined as percentage change in the brachial artery diameter with reactive hyperemia. Generalized additive models were used to adjust for potential confounders and assess linearity.
Measurements and Main Results: Mean age of participants was 71 ± 5 years, 46% were female, and pack-years averaged 48 ± 26. Mean FMD was 3.8 ± 3.1%; mean post-bronchodilator FEV1, 2.3 ± 0.8 L; and mean CT percentage of emphysema, 26 ± 10%. A 1 SD decrease in FMD was associated with a 132-ml (95% confidence interval, 16–248 ml; P = 0.03) decrement in post-bronchodilator FEV1 and a 2.6% (95% confidence interval, 0.5–4.7%; P = 0.02) increase in CT percentage of emphysema in fully adjusted models. These associations were linear across the spectrum from normality to disease, independent of smoking history, and also significant among participants without COPD. Associations with diffusing capacity were consistent but nonsignificant (P = 0.09). The FMD–FEV1 association was entirely attributable to percentage of emphysema.
Conclusions: Impaired endothelial function, as measured by FMD, was associated with lower FEV1 and higher CT percentage of emphysema in former smokers early in COPD.
PMCID: PMC2176103  PMID: 17761614
pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; bronchitis, chronic; pulmonary emphysema; endothelial dysfunction
11.  Cured Meat Consumption, Lung Function, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease among United States Adults 
Rationale: Cured meats are high in nitrites. Nitrites generate reactive nitrogen species that may cause nitrative and nitrosative damage to the lung resulting in emphysema.
Objective: To test the hypothesis that frequent consumption of cured meats is associated with lower lung function and increased odds of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 7,352 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 45 years of age or more, who had adequate measures of cured meat, fish, fruit, and vegetable intake, and spirometry.
Results: After adjustment for age, smoking, and multiple other potential confounders, frequency of cured meat consumption was inversely associated with FEV1 and FEV1/FVC but not FVC. The adjusted differences in FEV1 between individuals who did not consume cured meats and those who consumed cured meats 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 13, and 14 or more times per month were −37.6, −11.5, −42.0, and −110 ml, respectively (p for trend < 0.001). Corresponding differences for FEV1/FVC were −0.91, −0.54, −1.13, and −2.13% (p for trend = 0.001). These associations were not modified by smoking status. The multivariate odds ratio for COPD (FEV1/FVC ⩽ 0.7 and FEV1 < 80% predicted) was 1.78 (95% confidence interval, 1.29–2.47) comparing the highest with the lowest category of cured meat consumption. The corresponding odds ratios for mild, moderate, and severe COPD were 1.11, 1.46, and 2.41, respectively.
Conclusions: Frequent cured meat consumption was associated independently with an obstructive pattern of lung function and increased odds of COPD. Additional studies are required to determine if cured meat consumption is a causal risk factor for COPD.
PMCID: PMC1899290  PMID: 17255565
cured meats; nitrites; lung function; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema
12.  Aspirin and Decreased Adult-Onset Asthma 
Rationale: In an observational cohort study, women who self-selected for frequent aspirin use developed less newly diagnosed asthma than women who did not take aspirin.
Objective: To explore whether low-dose aspirin decreased the risk of newly diagnosed asthma in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Methods: The Physicians' Health Study randomized 22,071 apparently healthy male physicians, aged 40–84 yr at baseline and tolerant of aspirin, over an 18-wk run-in period, to 325 mg aspirin or placebo on alternate days. The aspirin component was terminated after 4.9 yr due principally to the emergence of a statistically extreme 44% reduction in risk of first myocardial infarction among those randomly assigned to aspirin.
Measurements: Physicians could self-report an asthma diagnosis on questionnaires at baseline, 6 mo, and annually thereafter. Asthma was not an a priori endpoint of the trial.
Results: Among 22,040 physicians without reported asthma at randomization, there were 113 new asthma diagnoses in the aspirin group and 145 in the placebo group. The hazard ratio was 0.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.61–1.00; p = 0.045). This apparent 22% lower risk of newly diagnosed asthma among those assigned to aspirin was not modified by baseline characteristics including smoking, body mass index, or age.
Conclusions: Aspirin reduced the risk of newly diagnosed adult-onset asthma in a large, randomized clinical trial of apparently healthy, aspirin-tolerant men. This result requires replication in randomized trials designed a priori to test this hypothesis; it does not imply that aspirin improves symptoms in patients with asthma.
PMCID: PMC1899281  PMID: 17068328
asthma; aspirin; NSAIDs; analgesics; obstructive airways disease

Results 1-12 (12)