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      Role of T-lymphocytes and pro-inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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          Abstract

          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the US and a major worldwide healthcare problem. The pathophysiologic mechanisms that drive development and progression of this disease are complex and only poorly understood. While tobacco smoking is the primary risk factor, other disease processes also appear to play a role. Components of the innate immune system (eg, macrophages and neutrophils) have long been believed to be important in the development of COPD. More recent evidence also suggests involvement of the adaptive immune system in pathogenesis of this disease. Here we will review the literature supporting the participation of T-cells in the development of COPD, and comment on the potential antigenic stimuli that may account for these responses. We will further explore the prospective contributions of T-cell derived mediators that could contribute to the inflammation, alveolar wall destruction, and small airway fibrosis of advanced COPD. A better understanding of these complex immune processes will lead to new insights that could result in improved preventative and/or treatment strategies.

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          Most cited references 74

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          Differences in interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in induced sputum from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.

          Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are characterized by chronic airway inflammation. Studies using bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) have shown an increased proportion of eosinophils in the BAL fluid from asthmatics compared with that from normal subjects, whereas studies of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have shown increased numbers of neutrophils. Induced sputum allows sampling of respiratory tract secretions from patients and control subjects, providing a noninvasive method of studying airway secretions and allowing characterization of cells and measurement of soluble markers. We investigated whether induced sputum was a useful method of studying airway fluid from patients with moderate to severe COPD and whether it could be used to compare inflammation in this condition with that in asthma. An initial reproducibility study was undertaken. Sputum was induced twice in 13 patients with severe COPD at a 14-d interval. Total and differential cell counts were carried out and were found to be reproducible over this period. Sputum was then induced in 14 patients with COPD, 23 patients with asthma, 12 healthy cigarette smokers, and 16 normal nonsmoking control subjects. We found a significant increase in neutrophils and increased concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) in the patients with COPD compared with the smoking and nonsmoking control subjects. Interleukin-8, but not TNF alpha, was significantly higher in the COPD group than in the asthmatic group. We conclude that the cytokines TNF alpha and IL-8 may be involved in the inflammation in COPD.
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            CD8+ T-lymphocytes in peripheral airways of smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            To investigate whether the inflammatory process in peripheral airways is different in smokers who develop symptoms of chronic bronchitis and chronic airflow limitation and in asymptomatic smokers who do not develop chronic airflow limitation, we examined surgical specimens obtained from 16 smokers undergoing lung resection for localized pulmonary lesions. Nine had symptoms of chronic bronchitis and chronic airflow limitation and seven were asymptomatic with normal lung function. In peripheral airways, immunohistochemical methods were performed to identify neutrophils, macrophages, CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes infiltrating the airway wall, and morphometric methods were used to measure the internal perimeter, the airway wall area, and the smooth muscle area. The number of CD8+ T-lymphocytes and the smooth muscle area were increased in smokers with symptoms of chronic bronchitis and chronic airflow limitation as compared with asymptomatic smokers with normal lung function, while the number of neutrophils, macrophages, and CD4+ T-lymphocytes were similar in the two groups of subjects examined. We concluded that smokers who develop symptoms of chronic bronchitis and chronic airflow limitation have an increased number of CD8+ T-lymphocytes and an increased smooth muscle area in the peripheral airways as compared with asymptomatic smokers with normal lung function, supporting the important role of CD8+ T-lymphocytes and airway remodeling in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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              Antielastin autoimmunity in tobacco smoking-induced emphysema.

              Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema are common destructive inflammatory diseases that are leading causes of death worldwide. Here we show that emphysema is an autoimmune disease characterized by the presence of antielastin antibody and T-helper type 1 (T(H)1) responses, which correlate with emphysema severity. These findings link emphysema to adaptive immunity against a specific lung antigen and suggest the potential for autoimmune pathology of other elastin-rich tissues such as the arteries and skin of smokers.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-9106
                1178-2005
                December 2008
                December 2008
                : 3
                : 4
                : 531-541
                Affiliations
                Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, University, of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Steven R Duncan, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical, Care Medicine, NW 628 MUH, 3459 Fifth, Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA, Tel +1 412 692 2210, Fax +1 412 692 2260, Email duncsr@ 123456upmc.edu
                Article
                copd-3-531
                2650590
                19281072
                © 2008 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
                Categories
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                Respiratory medicine

                cytokines, adaptive immunity, t-lymphocytes, copd

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