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Profiling cellular and inflammatory changes in the airway wall of mild to moderate COPD


Eapen, MS and McAlinden, K and Tan, D and Weston, S and Ward, C and Muller, HK and Walters, EH and Sohal, SS, Profiling cellular and inflammatory changes in the airway wall of mild to moderate COPD, Respirology, 22, (6) pp. 1125-1132. ISSN 1323-7799 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology

DOI: doi:10.1111/resp.13021


Background and objective: The objective of this study was to enumerate total cells and the number of inflammatory cell differentials in large airways (LAs) versus small airways (SAs) of mild-moderate COPD, and against appropriate controls.

Methods: For LA, we used endobronchial biopsies and for SA resected lung tissues. Immunostaining was enumerated (cells per mm2 ) for macrophages, neutrophils, CD4 and CD8 T cells in the lamina propria (LP) up to 150 μM deep for LA and full wall thickness for SA.

Results: We confirmed hypocellularity in the LA and in the SA wall in smokers and COPD (P < 0.001). LA cellularity was least in current smokers with COPD (COPDCS) (P < 0.01), while SA cellularity was similar across smoker/COPD groups. LA neutrophils were decreased in COPD-CS (P < 0.01), while SA neutrophil counts were unchanged. Compared with controls, LA macrophage numbers in COPD were significantly lower (P < 0.05), with SA macrophage numbers unchanged. A significant increase was observed in SA CD8+ cells in both normal smokers (P < 0.01) and COPD-CS (P < 0.001) but not in LA.

Conclusion: These unique data indicate that the current model for airway wall inflammation in COPD is oversimplified, and contrast with innate inflammatory activation in the lumen, at least in mild-moderate disease. Any abnormalities in airway wall cell differentials are small, although exaggerated in percentage terms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:COPD, ICS, inflammation, lung cancer, EMT
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Research Field:Respiratory diseases
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Eapen, MS (Dr Mathew Eapen)
UTAS Author:McAlinden, K (Mr Kielan McAlinden)
UTAS Author:Tan, D (Mr Daniel Tan)
UTAS Author:Weston, S (Mr Steven Weston)
UTAS Author:Muller, HK (Professor Konrad Muller)
UTAS Author:Walters, EH (Professor Haydn Walters)
UTAS Author:Sohal, SS (Dr Sukhwinder Sohal)
ID Code:120624
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:34
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2017-08-29
Last Modified:2022-08-25

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