05 August 2014
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major global health problem. It results from chronic inflammation and causes irreversible airway damage. Levels of different serum cytokines could be surrogate biomarkers for inflammation and lung function in COPD. We aimed to determine the serum levels of different biomarkers in COPD patients, the association between cytokine levels and various prognostic parameters, and the key pathways/networks involved in stable COPD. In this study, serum levels of 48 cytokines were examined by multiplex assays in 30 subjects (control, n=9; COPD, n=21). Relationships between serum biomarkers and forced expiratory volume in 1 second, peak oxygen uptake, body mass index, dyspnea score, and smoking were assessed. Enrichment pathways and network analyses were implemented, using a list of cytokines showing differential expression between healthy controls and patients with COPD by Cytoscape and GeneGo Metacore™ software (Thomson-Reuters Corporation, New York, NY, USA). Concentrations of cutaneous T-cell attracting chemokine, eotaxin, hepatocyte growth factor, interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-16, and stem cell factor are significantly higher in COPD patients compared with in control patients. Notably, this study identifies stem cell factor as a biomarker for COPD. Multiple regression analysis predicts that cutaneous T-cell-attracting chemokine, eotaxin, IL-6, and stem cell factor are inversely associated with forced expiratory volume in 1 second and peak oxygen uptake change, whereas smoking is related to eotaxin and hepatocyte growth factor changes. Enrichment pathways and network analyses reveal the potential involvement of specific inflammatory and immune process pathways in COPD. Identified network interaction and regulation of different cytokines would pave the way for deeper insight into mechanisms of the disease process.