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      Proteome Profiling of Lung Tissues in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Platelet and Macrophage Dysfunction Contribute to the Pathogenesis of COPD

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a worldwide public health challenge due to its high prevalence and related disability and mortality; however, the pathogenesis of COPD remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to identify key proteins involved in the pathogenesis of COPD.

          Patients and Methods

          We collected lung tissue from three patients with COPD who required thoracic surgery for lung transplantation in the China–Japan Friendship Hospital. Lung tissue from three donors who had no history of lung disease was collected as healthy controls through a whole-body donation program of Peking Union Medical College (China). We conducted a proteomic analysis of the protein expression profiles in the two groups using a combination of high-resolution liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and quantitative 6-plex tandem mass tag-labeling; these data were validated by Western blot analysis.


          A total of 4976 proteins were identified and analyzed, of which 173 were significantly changed (118 downregulated and 55 upregulated). Gene ontology analysis and protein–protein interaction networks demonstrated that the significantly changed proteins, especially downregulated proteins, were involved in platelet and macrophage activation. The mass spectrometry proteomics data have been deposited to the ProteomeXchange Consortium ( http://proteomecentral.proteomexchange.org ) via the iProX partner repository with the dataset identifier PXD017158.


          In our study, GP6, PF4, and THBS1, which are associated with platelet activation and wound healing, were significantly downregulated in COPD patients. These results indicate that patients with COPD are more likely to develop hemostasis disorders, which could impede the repair process of the lung tissues. Moreover, downregulation of CD163, MARCO and VSIG4, which are involved in dysfunction of alveolar macrophages in efferocytosis, may inhibit the resolution of inflammation and contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Immunologic aspects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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            Defective macrophage phagocytosis of bacteria in COPD.

            Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are an increasing cause of hospitalisations and are associated with accelerated progression of airflow obstruction. Approximately half of COPD exacerbations are associated with bacteria and many patients have lower airways colonisation. This suggests that bacterial infection in COPD could be due to reduced pathogen removal. This study investigated whether bacterial clearance by macrophages is defective in COPD. Phagocytosis of fluorescently labelled polystyrene beads and Haemophillus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae by alveolar macrophages and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) was assessed by fluorimetry and flow cytometry. Receptor expression was measured by flow cytometry. Alveolar macrophages and MDM phagocytosed polystyrene beads similarly. There was no difference in phagocytosis of beads by MDM from COPD patients compared with cells from smokers and nonsmokers. MDM from COPD patients showed reduced phagocytic responses to S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae compared with nonsmokers and smokers. This was not associated with alterations in cell surface receptor expression of toll-like receptor (TLR)2, TLR4, macrophage receptor with collagenous structure, cluster of differentiation (CD)163, CD36 or mannose receptor. Budesonide, formoterol or azithromycin did not suppress phagocytosis suggesting that reduced responses in COPD MDM were not due to medications. COPD macrophage innate responses are suppressed and may lead to bacterial colonisation and increased exacerbation frequency.
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              Alveolar macrophages from subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are deficient in their ability to phagocytose apoptotic airway epithelial cells.

              Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a highly prevalent, complex disease, usually caused by cigarette smoke. It causes serious morbidity and mortality and costs the global community billions of dollars per year. While chronic inflammation, extracellular matrix destruction and increased airway epithelial cell apoptosis are reported in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the understanding of the basic pathogenesis of the disease is limited and there are no effective treatments. We hypothesized that the accumulation of apoptotic airway epithelial cells chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in could be due to defective phagocytic clearance by alveolar macrophages. There have been no previous studies of the phagocytic capacity of alveolar macrophages in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease using physiologically relevant apoptotic airway epithelial cells as phagocytic targets. We developed a phagocytosis assay whereby cultured 16HBE airway epithelial cells were induced to apoptosis with ultraviolet radiation and stained with mitotracker green. Alveolar macrophages from bronchoalveolar lavage from eight control and six chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subjects were analysed following 1.5 h incubation with apoptotic airway epithelial cells, then staining with macrophage marker anti CD33. CD33+/mitotracker green + events (i.e., alveolar macrophages which had phagocytosed apoptotic airway epithelial cells) were analysed using flow cytometry. Phagocytosis of polystyrene microbeads was investigated in parallel. A significantly reduced proportion of alveolar macrophages from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subjects ingested apoptotic airway epithelial cells compared with controls (11.6 +/- 4.1% for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease versus 25.6 +/- 9.2% for control group). Importantly, the deficiency was not observed using polystyrene beads, suggesting that the failure to resolve epithelial damage in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may result, at least partially, from specific defects in phagocytic ability of alveolar macrophages to ingest apoptotic airway epithelial cells.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                05 May 2020
                : 15
                : 973-980
                [1 ]Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience Center, National Human Brain Bank for Development and Function, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences , Beijing 100005, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Human Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College , Beijing 100005, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]State Key Laboratory of Medical Molecular Biology & Department of Immunology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College , Beijing 100005, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Wei Ge; Chao Ma Email wei.ge@chem.ox.ac.uk; machao@ibms.cams.cn

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Liu et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 4, References: 31, Pages: 8
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, proteomics, macrophage, platelet


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