11 April 2019
The purpose of this study was to investigate the reproducibility of fluid-phase measurements in PBS-treated sputum supernatant, processed using the two-step method, of healthy and stable COPD individuals.
Nine healthy subjects and 23 stable COPD patients provided sputum twice within 6 days. A two-step sputum processing method was used to obtain PBS-treated supernatant and sputum cells. Soluble protein markers and IgG and IgM autoantibody profiles in PBS supernatant were analyzed using customized microarrays. Repeatability of measurements was assessed by paired-sample testing and an intraclass correlation coefficient, then graphically reported by Bland–Altman plot.
There was no significant difference between the repeated detection of 8/10 types of soluble protein markers, all 13 types of IgG autoantibodies, and 12/13 types of corresponding IgM autoantibodies in PBS supernatant. The repeatability of measurements in PBS supernatant was substantial to very good for interleukin 6 (IL6), IL8, IL13, IL10, IL33, vascular endothelial growth factor, soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-products, and tumor necrosis factor-α; for IgG autoantibodies against aggrecan, centromere protein B (CENP-B), collagen II, collagen IV, cytochrome C, elastin, heat shock protein 47 (HSP47), HSP70, and La/Sjögren syndrome type B antigen; for IgM autoantibodies against CENP-B, collagen I, collagen II, collagen IV, cytokeratin 18, and HSP70; and for sputum neutrophils, macrophages and eosinophils count. Bland–Altman plots suggested good consistency within repeated measurements. Stable COPD patients differed from healthy subjects in the proportion of neutrophils and eosinophils; relative fluorescence intensity of anti-cytochrome C IgG, anti-aggrecan IgM, and anti-cytochrome C IgM. There was a significant positive correlation for stable COPD patients between sputum anti-collagen II IgG and post-bronchodilator FEV 1%.