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      Influence of Emphysema and Air Trapping Heterogeneity on Pulmonary Function in Patients with COPD

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          To explore the influence of emphysema and air trapping heterogeneity on pulmonary function changes in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

          Patients and methods

          One hundred and seventy-nine patients with stable COPD were enrolled in this prospective study. All patients underwent low-dose inspiratory and expiratory CT scanning and pulmonary-function tests. CT quantitative data for the emphysema index (EI) on full-inspiration and air trapping (AT) on full-expiration were measured for the whole lung, the right and left lungs, and the cranial-caudal lung zones. The heterogeneity index (HI) values for emphysema and air trapping were determined as the ratio of the difference to the sum of the respective indexes. The cranial-caudal HI and left–right lung HI were compared between mild-to-moderate (GOLD stage I and II) and severe (GOLD stage III and IV) disease groups. The associations between HI and pulmonary-function measurements adjusted for age, sex, height, smoking history, EI and AT of the total lung were assessed using multiple linear regression analysis.


          The absolute values for cranial-caudal HI (AT_CC_HI) and left–right lung HI (AT_LR_HI) on full-expiration were significantly larger in the mild-to-moderate group, while no significant intergroup differences were observed on full-inspiration. COPD patients with lower-zone and/or left-lung predominance showed significantly lower pulmonary function than those with upper-zone and/or right-lung predominance on full-expiration, whereas no significant differences were observed on full-inspiration. The absolute values of AT_CC_HI and AT_LR_HI significantly correlated with pulmonary-function measurements. Higher AT_CC_HI and lower AT_LR_HI absolute values indicated better pulmonary function, after adjusting for age, sex, height, smoking history, EI and AT of the total lung.


          Subjects with more heterogeneous distribution and/or upper-zone predominant and/or right-lung predominant patterns on full-expiration tend to have better pulmonary function. Thus, in comparison with emphysema heterogeneity, AT heterogeneity better reflects the pulmonary function changes in COPD patients.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and World Health Organization Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD): executive summary.

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            Matrix metalloproteinase-9 promoter polymorphism associated with upper lung dominant emphysema.

            Matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) has proteolytic activity against connective tissue proteins and appears to play an important role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The functional polymorphism of MMP-9 (C-1562T) is considered as one of the candidate genes in the susceptibility to COPD. To determine if MMP-9 (C-1562T) is related to the development of COPD in the Japanese population and whether it is associated with development of pulmonary emphysema assessed by high-resolution computed tomographic (HRCT) parameters. MMP-9 (C-1562T) genotypes of 84 patients with COPD and 85 healthy smokers (control subjects) were determined by the restriction fragment length polymorphism method. We investigated the relationship between the genotypes using automatically analyzed HRCT parameters, such as percentage of low attenuation area (LAA%) and average computed tomography (CT) value density (Hounsfield units; mean CTv) in upper, middle, and lower lung fields in all patients with COPD. There was no difference in polymorphism of MMP-9 (C-1562T) between patients with COPD and control subjects. In the HRCT study, patients with COPD with a T allele (C/T or T/T) showed larger LAA% (95% confidence interval of difference, 0.5-18.7; p = 0.04), and smaller mean CTv (confidence interval, -34.3 to -1.0; p = 0.04) in the upper lung compared with patients without T alleles (C/C). However, pulmonary function tests showed no difference between the two patient groups. Patients with a T allele showed a decrease in LAA% and an increase in mean CTv from upper to lower lung fields (p = 0.006 and p = 0.002, respectively). Polymorphism of MMP-9 (C-1562T) was associated with upper lung dominant emphysema in patients with COPD.
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              General considerations for lung function testing.


                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                06 December 2019
                : 14
                : 2863-2872
                [1 ]Department of Radiology, Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital, Capital Medical University , Beijing, Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing Institute of Respiratory Medicine , Beijing, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Tao Jiang Department of Radiology, Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital, Capital Medical University , Beijing, People’s Republic of ChinaTel +86 13718875778Fax +86 1065935237 Email

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2019 Li 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 5, References: 22, Pages: 10
                Original Research


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