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      The association of elevated circulating endocan levels with lung function decline in COPD patients

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          Endocan is thought to be a novel inflammatory marker that is associated with a variety of inflammatory diseases. However, its role in the pathogenesis of COPD remains unclear. This study aims to explore the potential role of endocan in COPD.


          In total, 27 healthy volunteers, 55 COPD patients and 36 acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) patients were included in the study. Basic demographic characteristics, clinical features and blood samples were collected. Magnetic luminex screening assays were used to detect the concentration of endocan, Fas and Fas ligand (Fas-L) in plasma. Differences between groups were compared using an Independent sample t-test, Welch’s t-test, chi-squared test and Wilcoxon rank sum test. The correlations of plasma endocan with lung function parameters, Fas and Fas-L were analyzed by Pearson’s partial correlation test (adjusted for age, gender, body mass index and smoking history) and multiple linear regression.


          Plasma endocan levels in COPD patients were significantly higher than those in healthy volunteers (509.7±18.25 pg/mL vs 434.8±18.98 pg/mL ( P=0.0124)), and AECOPD patients had the highest levels of endocan (524.7±27.18 pg/mL). Correlation analysis showed that circulating endocan had a negative correlation to FEV 1/FVC, FEV 1/predictive and FVC (adjusted r=−0.213, P=0.03; adjusted r=−0.209, P=0.034; and adjusted r=−0.300, P=0.002, respectively), and had a positive correlation to Fas (adjusted r=0.280, P=0.004).


          Our study shows that elevated circulating endocan levels are associated with reduced lung ventilation function in COPD and AECOPD patients. In addition, endocan may influence apoptosis in COPD, suggesting that endocan may play a role in COPD pathogenesis.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Mechanistic links between COPD and lung cancer.

          Numerous epidemiological studies have consistently linked the presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to the development of lung cancer, independently of cigarette smoking dosage. The mechanistic explanation for this remains poorly understood. Progress towards uncovering this link has been hampered by the heterogeneous nature of the two disorders: each is characterized by multiple sub-phenotypes of disease. In this Review, I discuss the nature of the link between the two diseases and consider specific mechanisms that operate in both COPD and lung cancer, some of which might represent either chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic targets.
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            A cell-killing monoclonal antibody (anti-Fas) to a cell surface antigen co-downregulated with the receptor of tumor necrosis factor

            We have prepared an mAb specific for a human cell surface component (termed anti-Fas mAb). Anti-Fas shows cell-killing activity that is indistinguishable from the cytolytic activity of TNF. Fas antigen was characterized by western blotting, indicating that Fas antigen is a cell surface protein with a molecular weight of 200,000, which is different from the molecular weight of TNF-R. Fas antigen, however, is co-downregulated with the TNF-R when cells sensitive to the cytolytic activity of TNF are incubated with either TNF or anti-Fas. In contrast, Fas antigen on cells insensitive to TNF is not co-downregulated with the TNF-R. We suggest that the cell-killing activity of TNF is mediated by Fas antigen associated with the TNF-R.
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              ESM-1 is a novel human endothelial cell-specific molecule expressed in lung and regulated by cytokines.

              We here report the identification of a novel human endothelial cell-specific molecule (called ESM-1) cloned from a human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) cDNA library. Constitutive ESM-1 gene expression (as demonstrated by Northern blot and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis) was found in HUVECs but not in the other human cell lines tested. The cDNA sequence contains an open reading frame of 552 nucleotides and a 1398-nucleotide 3'-untranslated region including several domains involved in mRNA instability and five putative polyadenylation consensus sequences. The deduced 184-amino acid sequence defines a cysteine-rich protein with a functional NH2-terminal hydrophobic signal sequence. Searches in several data bases confirmed the unique identity of this sequence. A rabbit immune serum raised against the 14-kDa COOH-terminal peptide of ESM-1 immunoprecipitated a 20-kDa protein only in ESM-1-transfected COS cells. Immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation of HUVEC lysates revealed a specific 20-kDa band corresponding to ESM-1. In addition, constitutive ESM-1 gene expression was shown to be tissue-restricted to the human lung. Southern blot analysis suggests that a single gene encodes ESM-1. A time-dependent up-regulation of ESM-1 mRNA was seen after addition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) or interleukin (IL)-1beta but not with IL-4 or interferon gamma (IFNgamma) alone. In addition, when IFNgamma was combined with TNFalpha, IFNgamma inhibited the TNFalpha-induced increase of ESM-1 mRNA level. These data suggest that ESM-1 may have potent implications in the areas of vascular cell biology and human lung physiology.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                09 November 2018
                : 13
                : 3699-3706
                [1 ]Division of Pulmonary Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China, wenfuqiang.scu@
                [2 ]Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China, wenfuqiang.scu@ ; lchens@
                [3 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hospital of Chengdu Office of People’s Government of Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Fuqiang Wen; Lei Chen, Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, Guoxuexiang 37, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China, Email wenfuqiang.scu@ ; lchens@

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2018 Dai et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( 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.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, endocan, lung function, apoptosis


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