15 May 2020
The vitamin D binding protein (VDBP, also known as GC-globulin) and vitamin D deficiency have been associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). rs7041 and rs4588 are two single nucleotide polymorphisms of the VDBP gene, including three common allelic variants (GC1S, GC1F and GC2). Previous studies primarily assessed the serum levels of vitamin D and VDBP in COPD. However, less is known regarding the impact of the local release of VDBP on COPD lung function. Thus, we examined the association of sputum and plasma VDBP with lung function at baseline and at four years, and examined potential genetic polymorphism interactions.
The baseline levels of sputum VDBP, plasma VDBP and plasma 25-OH vitamin D, as well as the GC rs4588 and rs7041 genotypes, were assessed in a 4-year Finnish follow-up cohort (n = 233) of non-smokers, and smokers with and without COPD. The associations between the VDBP levels and the longitudinal decline of lung function were further analysed.
High frequencies of the haplotypes in rs7041/rs4588 were homozygous GC1S/1S (42.5%). Higher sputum VDBP levels in stage I and stage II COPD were observed only in carriers with GC1S/1S genotype when compared with non-smokers (p = 0.034 and p = 0.002, respectively). Genotype multivariate regression analysis indicated that the baseline sputum VDBP and FEV1/FVC ratio at baseline independently predicted FEV1% at follow-up.
The baseline sputum VDBP expression was elevated in smokers with COPD among individuals with the GC1S/1S genotype, and predicted follow-up airway obstruction. Our results suggest that the GC polymorphism should be considered when exploring the potential of VDBP as a biomarker for COPD.