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      Association of innate defense proteins BPIFA1 and BPIFB1 with disease severity in COPD

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by an abnormal inflammatory response in the lungs caused by the inhalation of noxious particles and gases. The airway epithelium has a protective function against these harmful agents by maintaining a physical barrier and by secreting defensive proteins, such as bactericidal/permeability-increasing fold-containing (BPIF) proteins, BPIFA1 and BPIFB1. However, inconsistent data regarding BPIFA1 expression in smokers and COPD patients have been reported to date. Therefore, we investigated the expression of BPIFA1 and BPIFB1 in a large cohort of never-smokers and smokers with and without COPD, both on the messenger RNA (mRNA) level in lung tissue and on the protein level in airway epithelium. Furthermore, we examined the correlation between BPIFA1 and BPIFB1 levels, goblet cell hyperplasia, and lung function measurements. BPIFA1 and BPIFB1 mRNA expressions were significantly increased in stage III–IV COPD patients compared with stage II COPD patients and subjects without COPD. In addition, protein levels in COPD patients were significantly increased in comparison with subjects without COPD. BPIFA1 and BPIFB1 levels were inversely correlated with measurements of airflow limitation and positively correlated with goblet cell hyperplasia. In addition, by the use of immunofluorescence double staining, we demonstrated the expression of BPIFB1 in goblet cells. In conclusion, we show that BPIFA1 and BPIFB1 levels are elevated in COPD patients and correlate with disease severity.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Oxidative stress and redox regulation of lung inflammation in COPD.

           I Rahman,  I. Adcock (2006)
          Reactive oxygen species, either directly or via the formation of lipid peroxidation products, may play a role in enhancing inflammation through the activation of stress kinases (c-Jun activated kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, p38) and redox-sensitive transcription factors, such as nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB and activator protein-1. This results in increased expression of a battery of distinct pro-inflammatory mediators. Oxidative stress activates NF-kappaB-mediated transcription of pro-inflammatory mediators either through activation of its activating inhibitor of kappaB-alpha kinase or the enhanced recruitment and activation of transcriptional co-activators. Enhanced NF-kappaB-co-activator complex formation results in targeted increases in histone modifications, such as acetylation leading to inflammatory gene expression. Emerging evidence suggests the glutathione redox couple may entail dynamic regulation of protein function by reversible disulphide bond formation on kinases, phosphatases and transcription factors. Oxidative stress also inhibits histone deacetylase activity and in doing so further enhances inflammatory gene expression and may attenuate glucocorticoid sensitivity. The antioxidant/anti-inflammatory effects of thiol molecules (glutathione, N-acetyl-L-cysteine and N-acystelyn, erdosteine), dietary polyphenols (curcumin-diferuloylmethane, cathechins/quercetin and reserveratol), specific spin traps, such as alpha-phenyl-N-tert-butyl nitrone, a catalytic antioxidant (extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic, SOD mimetic M40419 and SOD, and catalase manganic salen compound, eukarion-8), porphyrins (AEOL 10150 and AEOL 10113) and theophylline have all been shown to play a role in either controlling NF-kappaB activation or affecting histone modifications with subsequent effects on inflammatory gene expression in lung epithelial cells. Thus, oxidative stress regulates both key signal transduction pathways and histone modifications involved in lung inflammation. Various approaches to enhance lung antioxidant capacity and clinical trials of antioxidant compounds in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are also discussed.
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            The pathology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            The pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is based on the innate and adaptive inflammatory immune response to the inhalation of toxic particles and gases. Although tobacco smoking is the primary cause of this inhalation injury, many other environmental and occupational exposures contribute to the pathology of COPD. The immune inflammatory changes associated with COPD are linked to a tissue-repair and -remodeling process that increases mucus production and causes emphysematous destruction of the gas-exchanging surface of the lung. The common form of emphysema observed in smokers begins in the respiratory bronchioles near the thickened and narrowed small bronchioles that become the major site of obstruction in COPD. The mechanism(s) that allow small airways to thicken in such close proximity to lung tissue undergoing emphysematous destruction remains a puzzle that needs to be solved.
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              PLUNC: a novel family of candidate host defence proteins expressed in the upper airways and nasopharynx.

              The upper respiratory tract, including the nasal and oral cavities, is the major route of entry of pathogens into the body, and early recognition of bacterial products in this region is critical for host defence. A well-established family of four proteins involved in this process are bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI) and lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), which are central to the host defence against bacteria, and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) and phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP), which have also been implicated in this response. In this paper, we demonstrate the existence of a related family of seven human proteins, which we designate PLUNC proteins. The PLUNC proteins are encoded by adjacent genes found within a 300 kb region of chromosome 20, suggesting that they may be under transcriptional control of shared genomic elements, and expression data shows that these proteins are found in overlapping regions of the pulmonary, nasopharyngeal and oral epithelium, sites where the previously described BPI family members are not expressed. Whereas the BPI family are predicted to share very closely similar three-dimensional structures, the PLUNC family is predicted to have much greater variability in the N-terminal domain, corresponding to the active domain of BPI, thus creating the notion of a BPI/PLUNC structural superfamily. We suggest that members of the PLUNC family may function in the innate immune response in regions of the mouth, nose and lungs, which are sites of significant bacterial exposure.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                19 December 2017
                : 13
                : 11-27
                [1 ]Laboratory for Translational Research in Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
                [2 ]Laboratory of Immunoregulation and Mucosal Immunology, VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research, Ghent, Belgium
                [3 ]Laboratory for Respiratory Diseases, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
                [4 ]Academic Unit of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ken R Bracke, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium, Tel +32 9 332 0053, Fax +32 9 332 2625, Email ken.bracke@
                © 2018 De Smet et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, bpifa1, bpifb1


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