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1.  Computed Tomographic Measures of Pulmonary Vascular Morphology in Smokers and Their Clinical Implications 
Rationale: Angiographic investigation suggests that pulmonary vascular remodeling in smokers is characterized by distal pruning of the blood vessels.
Objectives: Using volumetric computed tomography scans of the chest we sought to quantitatively evaluate this process and assess its clinical associations.
Methods: Pulmonary vessels were automatically identified, segmented, and measured. Total blood vessel volume (TBV) and the aggregate vessel volume for vessels less than 5 mm2 (BV5) were calculated for all lobes. The lobe-specific BV5 measures were normalized to the TBV of that lobe and the nonvascular tissue volume (BV5/TissueV) to calculate lobe-specific BV5/TBV and BV5/TissueV ratios. Densitometric measures of emphysema were obtained using a Hounsfield unit threshold of −950 (%LAA-950). Measures of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease severity included single breath measures of diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide, oxygen saturation, the 6-minute-walk distance, St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire total score (SGRQ), and the body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnea, and exercise capacity (BODE) index.
Measurements and Main Results: The %LAA-950 was inversely related to all calculated vascular ratios. In multivariate models including age, sex, and %LAA-950, lobe-specific measurements of BV5/TBV were directly related to resting oxygen saturation and inversely associated with both the SGRQ and BODE scores. In similar multivariate adjustment lobe-specific BV5/TissueV ratios were inversely related to resting oxygen saturation, diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide, 6-minute-walk distance, and directly related to the SGRQ and BODE.
Conclusions: Smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is characterized by distal pruning of the small blood vessels (<5 mm2) and loss of tissue in excess of the vasculature. The magnitude of these changes predicts the clinical severity of disease.
PMCID: PMC3778757  PMID: 23656466
pulmonary vasculature morphology; CT scan; smoking; COPD
2.  SOX5 Is a Candidate Gene for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Susceptibility and Is Necessary for Lung Development 
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.
PMCID: PMC3137139  PMID: 21330457
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; knockout mice; lung development; single nucleotide polymorphism
3.  Perfusion Scintigraphy and Patient Selection for Lung Volume Reduction Surgery 
Rationale: It is unclear if lung perfusion can predict response to lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS).
Objectives: To study the role of perfusion scintigraphy in patient selection for LVRS.
Methods: We performed an intention-to-treat analysis of 1,045 of 1,218 patients enrolled in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial who were non–high risk for LVRS and had complete perfusion scintigraphy results at baseline. The median follow-up was 6.0 years. Patients were classified as having upper or non–upper lobe–predominant emphysema on visual examination of the chest computed tomography and high or low exercise capacity on cardiopulmonary exercise testing at baseline. Low upper zone perfusion was defined as less than 20% of total lung perfusion distributed to the upper third of both lungs as measured on perfusion scintigraphy.
Measurements and Main Results: Among 284 of 1,045 patients with upper lobe–predominant emphysema and low exercise capacity at baseline, the 202 with low upper zone perfusion had lower mortality with LVRS versus medical management (risk ratio [RR], 0.56; P = 0.008) unlike the remaining 82 with high perfusion where mortality was unchanged (RR, 0.97; P = 0.62). Similarly, among 404 of 1,045 patients with upper lobe–predominant emphysema and high exercise capacity, the 278 with low upper zone perfusion had lower mortality with LVRS (RR, 0.70; P = 0.02) unlike the remaining 126 with high perfusion (RR, 1.05; P = 1.00). Among the 357 patients with non–upper lobe–predominant emphysema (75 with low and 282 with high exercise capacity) there was no improvement in survival with LVRS and measurement of upper zone perfusion did not contribute new prognostic information.
Conclusions: Compared with optimal medical management, LVRS reduces mortality in patients with upper lobe–predominant emphysema when there is low rather than high perfusion to the upper lung.
PMCID: PMC2970864  PMID: 20538961
perfusion; computed tomography; emphysema; mortality; lung volume reduction surgery
4.  Multistudy Fine Mapping of Chromosome 2q Identifies XRCC5 as a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Susceptibility Gene 
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.
PMCID: PMC2937234  PMID: 20463177
emphysema; genetic linkage; metaanalysis; single nucleotide polymorphism
5.  Physiological and Computed Tomographic Predictors of Outcome from Lung Volume Reduction Surgery 
Rationale: Previous investigations have identified several potential predictors of outcomes from lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS). A concern regarding these studies has been their small sample size, which may limit generalizability. We therefore sought to examine radiographic and physiologic predictors of surgical outcomes in a large, multicenter clinical investigation, the National Emphysema Treatment Trial.
Objectives: To identify objective radiographic and physiological indices of lung disease that have prognostic value in subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease being evaluated for LVRS.
Methods: A subset of the subjects undergoing LVRS in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial underwent preoperative high-resolution computed tomographic (CT) scanning of the chest and measures of static lung recoil at total lung capacity (SRtlc) and inspiratory resistance (Ri). The relationship between CT measures of emphysema, the ratio of upper to lower zone emphysema, CT measures of airway disease, SRtlc, Ri, the ratio of residual volume to total lung capacity (RV/TLC), and both 6-month postoperative changes in FEV1 and maximal exercise capacity were assessed.
Measurements and Main Results: Physiological measures of lung elastic recoil and inspiratory resistance were not correlated with improvement in either the FEV1 (R = −0.03, P = 0.78 and R = –0.17, P = 0.16, respectively) or maximal exercise capacity (R = –0.02, P = 0.83 and R = 0.08, P = 0.53, respectively). The RV/TLC ratio and CT measures of emphysema and its upper to lower zone ratio were only weakly predictive of postoperative changes in both the FEV1 (R = 0.11, P = 0.01; R = 0.2, P < 0.0001; and R = 0.23, P < 0.0001, respectively) and maximal exercise capacity (R = 0.17, P = 0.0001; R = 0.15, P = 0.002; and R = 0.15, P = 0.002, respectively). CT assessments of airway disease were not predictive of change in FEV1 or exercise capacity in this cohort.
Conclusions: The RV/TLC ratio and CT measures of emphysema and its distribution are weak but statistically significant predictors of outcome after LVRS.
PMCID: PMC2830400  PMID: 19965810
6.  Pulmonary Hypertension and Computed Tomography Measurement of Small Pulmonary Vessels in Severe Emphysema 
Rationale: Vascular alteration of small pulmonary vessels is one of the characteristic features of pulmonary hypertension in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The in vivo relationship between pulmonary hypertension and morphological alteration of the small pulmonary vessels has not been assessed in patients with severe emphysema.
Objectives: We evaluated the correlation of total cross-sectional area of small pulmonary vessels (CSA) assessed on computed tomography (CT) scans with the degree of pulmonary hypertension estimated by right heart catheterization.
Methods: In 79 patients with severe emphysema enrolled in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT), we measured CSA less than 5 mm2 (CSA<5) and 5 to 10 mm2 (CSA5−10), and calculated the percentage of total CSA for the lung area (%CSA<5 and %CSA5–10, respectively). The correlations of %CSA<5 and %CSA5–10 with pulmonary arterial mean pressure (\documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document}) obtained by right heart catheterization were evaluated. Multiple linear regression analysis using \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} as the dependent outcome was also performed.
Measurements and Main Results: The %CSA<5 had a significant negative correlation with \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} (r = −0.512, P < 0.0001), whereas the correlation between %CSA5–10 and \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} did not reach statistical significance (r = −0.196, P = 0.083). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that %CSA<5 and diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide (DlCO) % predicted were independent predictors of \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} (r2 = 0.541): %CSA <5 (P < 0.0001), and DlCO % predicted (P = 0.022).
Conclusions: The %CSA<5 measured on CT images is significantly correlated to \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} in severe emphysema and can estimate the degree of pulmonary hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2817812  PMID: 19875683
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; pulmonary hypertension; CT
7.  The Effect of Lung Volume Reduction Surgery on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbations 
Rationale: Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) has been demonstrated to provide a functional and mortality benefit to a select group of subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The effect of LVRS on COPD exacerbations has not been as extensively studied, and whether improvement in postoperative lung function alters the risk of disease exacerbations is not known.
Objectives: To examine the effect, and mechanism of potential benefit, of LVRS on COPD exacerbations by comparing the medical and surgical cohorts of the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT).
Methods: A COPD exacerbation was defined using Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, discharge diagnosis.
Measurements and Main Results: There was no difference in exacerbation rate or time to first exacerbation between the medical and surgical cohorts during the year before study randomization (P = 0.58 and 0.85, respectively). Postrandomization, the surgical cohort experienced an approximate 30% reduction in exacerbation frequency (P = 0.0005). This effect was greatest in those subjects with the largest postoperative improvement in FEV1 (P = 0.04) when controlling for changes in other spirometric measures of lung function, lung capacities, and room air arterial blood gas tensions. Finally, LVRS increased the time to first exacerbation in both those subjects with and those without a prior history of exacerbations (P = 0.0002 and P < 0.0001, respectively).
Conclusions: LVRS reduces the frequency of COPD exacerbations and increases the time to first exacerbation. One explanation for this benefit may be the postoperative improvement in lung function.
Clinical trial registered with (NCT 00000606).
PMCID: PMC2204077  PMID: 17962632
COPD; LVRS; exacerbation
8.  Genetic Determinants of Emphysema Distribution in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial 
Rationale: Computed tomography (CT) scanning of the lung may reduce phenotypic heterogeneity in defining subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and allow identification of genetic determinants of emphysema severity and distribution.
Objectives: We sought to identify genes associated with CT scan distribution of emphysema in individuals without α1-antitrypsin deficiency but with severe COPD.
Methods: We evaluated baseline CT densitometry phenotypes in 282 individuals with emphysema enrolled in the Genetics Ancillary Study of the National Emphysema Treatment Trial, and used regression models to identify genetic variants associated with emphysema distribution.
Measurements and Main Results: Emphysema distribution was assessed by two methods—assessment by radiologists and by computerized density mask quantitation, using a threshold of −950 Hounsfield units. A total of 77 polymorphisms in 20 candidate genes were analyzed for association with distribution of emphysema. GSTP1, EPHX1, and MMP1 polymorphisms were associated with the densitometric, apical-predominant distribution of emphysema (p value range = 0.001–0.050). When an apical-predominant phenotype was defined by the radiologist scoring method, GSTP1 and EPHX1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were found to be significantly associated. In a case–control analysis of COPD susceptibility limited to cases with densitometric upper-lobe–predominant cases, the EPHX1 His139Arg single-nucleotide polymorphism was associated with COPD (p = 0.005).
Conclusions: Apical and basal emphysematous destruction appears to be influenced by different genes. Polymorphisms in the xenobiotic enzymes, GSTP1 and EPHX1, are associated with apical-predominant emphysema. Altered detoxification of cigarette smoke metabolites may contribute to emphysema distribution, and these findings may lead to further insight into genetic determinants of emphysema.
PMCID: PMC2049064  PMID: 17363767
COPD; genetics; association analysis; computed tomography; emphysema
9.  Genetic Association Analysis of Functional Impairment in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have varying levels of disability despite similar levels of lung function. This variation may reflect different COPD subtypes, which may have different genetic predispositions.
Objectives: To identify genetic associations for COPD-related phenotypes, including measures of exercise capacity, pulmonary function, and respiratory symptoms.
Methods: In 304 subjects from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial, we genotyped 80 markers in 22 positional and/or biologically plausible candidate genes. Regression models were used to test for association, using a test–replication approach to guard against false-positive results. For significant associations, effect estimates were recalculated using the entire cohort. Positive associations with dyspnea were confirmed in families from the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study.
Results: The test–replication approach identified four genes—microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1), latent transforming growth factor-β binding protein-4 (LTBP4), surfactant protein B (SFTPB), and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFB1)—that were associated with COPD-related phenotypes. In all subjects, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in EPHX1 (p ⩽ 0.03) and in LTBP4 (p ⩽ 0.03) were associated with maximal output on cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Markers in LTBP4 (p ⩽ 0.05) and SFTPB (p = 0.005) were associated with 6-min walk test distance. SNPs in EPHX1 were associated with carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (p ⩽ 0.04). Three SNPs in TGFB1 were associated with dyspnea (p ⩽ 0.002), one of which replicated in the family study (p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Polymorphisms in several genes seem to be associated with COPD-related traits other than FEV1. These associations may identify genes in pathways important for COPD pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2662917  PMID: 16456143
dyspnea; emphysema; exercise tolerance; genetic association; pulmonary function tests

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