10 December 2019
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is associated with the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), whereas increased levels of serum alpha-1antitrypsin occur in response to inflammation. The effects of alpha-1 antitrypsin levels on the clinical course of COPD had been unclear. We investigated the association of serum alpha-1 antitrypsin levels with the clinical course of COPD patients based on data from a 10-year prospective cohort study.
We analyzed 278 COPD patients who participated in the Hokkaido COPD cohort study and who did not meet the criteria for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. We divided the subjects into 3 groups according to quartiles of serum alpha-1 antitrypsin levels at baseline: lower group (<116 mg/dL, n = 66); middle group (116 to ≤141 mg/dL, n = 145); and higher group (>141 mg/dL, n = 67). The annual change in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV 1) and events of COPD exacerbation were monitored during the first 5 years, and mortality was followed-up during the entire 10 years.
At baseline, the higher group showed lower body mass index; higher computed tomography emphysema score; lower diffusing capacity; higher levels of acute-phase proteins; and higher blood neutrophil counts. Longitudinal analyses revealed that in the higher group, the annual decline in FEV 1 was rapid and the 10-year mortality was higher, but there was no association between serum alpha-1 antitrypsin levels and time to first exacerbation.