Associations in asthma between quantitative computed tomography and bronchial biopsy-derived airway remodelling.
ABSTRACT: Airway remodelling in asthma remains poorly understood. This study aimed to determine the association of airway remodelling measured on bronchial biopsies with 1) lung function impairment and 2) thoracic quantitative computed tomography (QCT)-derived morphometry and densitometry measures of proximal airway remodelling and air trapping.Subjects were recruited from a single centre. Bronchial biopsy remodelling features that were the strongest predictors of lung function impairment and QCT-derived proximal airway morphometry and air trapping markers were determined by stepwise multiple regression. The best predictor of air trapping was validated in an independent replication group.Airway smooth muscle % was the only predictor of post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1?s (FEV1) % pred, while both airway smooth muscle % and vascularity were predictors of FEV1/forced vital capacity. Epithelial thickness and airway smooth muscle % were predictors of mean segmental bronchial luminal area (R2=0.12; p=0.02 and R2=0.12; p=0.015), whereas epithelial thickness was the only predictor of wall area % (R2=0.13; p=0.018). Vascularity was the only significant predictor of air trapping (R2=0.24; p=0.001), which was validated in the replication group (R2=0.19; p=0.031).In asthma, airway smooth muscle content and vascularity were both associated with airflow obstruction. QCT-derived proximal airway morphometry was most strongly associated with epithelial thickness and airway smooth muscle content, whereas air trapping was related to vascularity.
Project description:Whether African Americans (AA) are more susceptible to COPD than non-Hispanic Whites (NHW) and whether racial differences in disease phenotype exist is controversial. The objective is to determine racial differences in the extent of emphysema and airway remodeling in COPD.First, 2,500 subjects enrolled in the COPDGene study were used to evaluate racial differences in quantitative CT (QCT) parameters of% emphysema, air trapping and airway wall thickness. Independent variables studied included race, age, gender, education, BMI, pack-years, smoking status, age at smoking initiation, asthma, previous work in dusty job, CT scanner and center of recruitment.Of the 1,063 subjects with GOLD Stage II-IV COPD, 200 self-reported as AA. AAs had a lower mean% emphysema (13.1% vs. 16.1%, p = 0.005) than NHW and proportionately less emphysema in the lower lung zones. After adjustment for covariates, there was no statistical difference by race in air trapping or airway wall thickness. Measured QCT parameters were more predictive of poor functional status in NHWs compared to AAs.AAs have less emphysema than NHWs but the same degree of airway disease. Additional factors not easily assessed by current QCT techniques may account for the poor functional status in AAs.
Project description:Airway remodelling is an important feature of asthma pathogenesis. A key structural change inherent in airway remodelling is increased airway smooth muscle mass. There is emerging evidence to suggest that the migration of airway smooth muscle cells may contribute to cellular hyperplasia, and thus increased airway smooth muscle mass. The precise source of these cells remains unknown. Increased airway smooth muscle mass may be collectively due to airway infiltration of myofibroblasts, neighbouring airway smooth muscle cells in the bundle, or circulating hemopoietic progenitor cells. However, the relative contribution of each cell type is not well understood. In addition, although many studies have identified pro and anti-migratory agents of airway smooth muscle cells, whether these agents can impact airway remodelling in the context of human asthma, remains to be elucidated. As such, further research is required to determine the exact mechanism behind airway smooth muscle cell migration within the airways, how much this contributes to airway smooth muscle mass in asthma, and whether attenuating this migration may provide a therapeutic avenue for asthma. In this review article, we will discuss the current evidence with respect to the regulation of airway smooth muscle cell migration in asthma.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Allergic asthma is associated with chronic airway inflammation and progressive airway remodelling. However, the dynamics of the development of these features and their spontaneous and pharmacological reversibility are still poorly understood. We have therefore investigated the dynamics of airway remodelling and repair in an experimental asthma model and studied how pharmacological intervention affects these processes. METHODS: Using BALB/c mice, the kinetics of chronic asthma progression and resolution were characterised in absence and presence of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment. Airway inflammation and remodelling was assessed by the analysis of bronchoalveolar and peribronichal inflammatory cell infiltrate, goblet cell hyperplasia, collagen deposition and smooth muscle thickening. RESULTS: Chronic allergen exposure resulted in early (goblet cell hyperplasia) and late remodelling (collagen deposition and smooth muscle thickening). After four weeks of allergen cessation eosinophilic inflammation, goblet cell hyperplasia and collagen deposition were resolved, full resolution of lymphocyte inflammation and smooth muscle thickening was only observed after eight weeks. ICS therapy when started before the full establishment of chronic asthma reduced the development of lung inflammation, decreased goblet cell hyperplasia and collagen deposition, but did not affect smooth muscle thickening. These effects of ICS on airway remodelling were maintained for a further four weeks even when therapy was discontinued. CONCLUSIONS: Utilising a chronic model of experimental asthma we have shown that repeated allergen exposure induces reversible airway remodelling and inflammation in mice. Therapeutic intervention with ICS was partially effective in inhibiting the transition from acute to chronic asthma by reducing airway inflammation and remodelling but was ineffective in preventing smooth muscle hypertrophy.
Project description:Asthmatic airways are inflamed and undergo remodelling. Inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting ?2-agonist combinations are more effective than inhaled corticosteroid monotherapy in controlling disease exacerbations, but their effect on airway remodelling and inflammation remains ill-defined. This study evaluates the contribution of inhaled fluticasone and salmeterol, alone or combined, to the reversal of bronchial remodelling and inflammation. Severely asthmatic horses (6 horses/group) were treated with fluticasone, salmeterol, fluticasone/salmeterol, or with antigen avoidance for 12 weeks. Lung function, central and peripheral airway remodelling, and bronchoalveolar inflammation were assessed. Fluticasone/salmeterol and fluticasone monotherapy decreased peripheral airway smooth muscle remodelling after 12 weeks (p?=?0.007 and p?=?0.02, respectively). On average, a 30% decrease was observed with both treatments. In central airways, fluticasone/salmeterol reversed extracellular matrix remodelling after 12 weeks, both within the lamina propria (decreased thickness, p?=?0.005) and within the smooth muscle layer (p?=?0.004). Only fluticasone/salmeterol decreased bronchoalveolar neutrophilia (p?=?0.03) to the same extent as antigen avoidance already after 8 weeks. In conclusion, this study shows that fluticasone/salmeterol combination decreases extracellular matrix remodelling in central airways and intraluminal neutrophilia. Fluticasone/salmeterol and fluticasone monotherapy equally reverse peripheral airway smooth muscle remodelling.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Airflow obstruction is common in cystic fibrosis (CF), yet the underlying pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. People with CF often exhibit airway hyperresponsiveness, CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is present in airway smooth muscle (ASM), and ASM from newborn CF pigs has increased contractile tone, suggesting that loss of CFTR causes a primary defect in ASM function. We hypothesized that restoring CFTR activity would decrease smooth muscle tone in people with CF. METHODS:To increase or potentiate CFTR function, we administered ivacaftor to 12 adults with CF with the G551D-CFTR mutation; ivacaftor stimulates G551D-CFTR function. We studied people before and immediately after initiation of ivacaftor (48 hours) to minimize secondary consequences of CFTR restoration. We tested smooth muscle function by investigating spirometry, airway distensibility, and vascular tone. RESULTS:Ivacaftor rapidly restored CFTR function, indicated by reduced sweat chloride concentration. Airflow obstruction and air trapping also improved. Airway distensibility increased in airways less than 4.5 mm but not in larger-sized airways. To assess smooth muscle function in a tissue outside the lung, we measured vascular pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index, which both decreased following CFTR potentiation. Finally, change in distensibility of <4.5-mm airways correlated with changes in PWV. CONCLUSIONS:Acute CFTR potentiation provided a unique opportunity to investigate CFTR-dependent mechanisms of CF pathogenesis. The rapid effects of ivacaftor on airway distensibility and vascular tone suggest that CFTR dysfunction may directly cause increased smooth muscle tone in people with CF and that ivacaftor may relax smooth muscle. FUNDING:This work was funded in part from an unrestricted grant from the Vertex Investigator-Initiated Studies Program.
Project description:Airway remodelling is a feature of chronic asthma comprising smooth muscle hypertrophy and deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) breakdown ECM, are involved in tissue remodelling and have been implicated in airway remodelling. Although mesenchymal cells are an important source of MMPs, little data are available on airway smooth muscle (ASM) derived MMPs. We therefore investigated MMP and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP) production and activity in human ASM cells. MMPs and TIMPs were examined using quantitative real-time RT-PCR, Western blotting, zymography and a quench fluorescence (QF) assay of total MMP activity. The most abundant MMPs were pro-MMP-2, pro- MMP-3, active MMP-3 and MT1-MMP. TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 expression was low in cell lysates but high in conditioned medium. High TIMP secretion was confirmed by the ability of ASM-conditioned medium to inhibit recombinant MMP-2 in a QF assay. Thrombin increased MMP activity by activation of pro-MMP-2 independent of the conventional smooth muscle thrombin receptors PAR 1 and 4. In conclusion, ASM cells express pro-MMP-2, pro and active MMP-3, MMP-9 and MT1-MMP. Unstimulated cells secrete excess TIMP 1 and 2, preventing proteolytic activity. MMP-2 can be activated by thrombin which may contribute to airway remodelling.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Quantitative computed tomographic (QCT) biomarkers of airway morphology hold potential for understanding and monitoring regional airway remodeling in asthmatic patients. OBJECTIVE:We sought to determine whether the change in airway lumen area between total lung capacity (TLC) and functional residual capacity (FRC) lung volumes measured from CT imaging data was correlated with severe outcomes in asthmatic patients. METHODS:We studied 152 asthmatic patients (90 female and 62 male patients) and 33 healthy subjects (12 female and 21 male subjects) using QCT. Postprocessing of airways at generations 1 to 5 (1 = trachea) was performed for wall area percentage, wall thickness percentage (WT%), lumen area at baseline total lung capacity (LATLC), lumen area at baseline functional residual capacity (LAFRC), and low attenuation area at FRC. A new metric (reflecting remodeling, distal air trapping, or both), Delta Lumen, was determined as follows: Percentage difference in lumen area (LATLC - LAFRC)/LATLC × 100. RESULTS:Postprocessing of 4501 airway segments was performed (3681 segments in the 152 patients with asthma and 820 segments in the 33 healthy subjects; range, 17-28 segments per subject). Delta Lumen values were negatively correlated with WT% and low attenuation area (P < .01) in asthmatic patients. Delta Lumen values were significantly lower for airway generations 3 to 5 (segmental airways) in subjects undergoing hospitalization because of exacerbation and in patients with refractory asthma requiring treatment with systemic corticosteroids. WT% and low attenuation area were positively and Delta Lumen values were negatively associated with systemic corticosteroid treatment (P < .05), suggesting that a reduced Delta Lumen value is a potential outcome biomarker in patients with severe asthma. CONCLUSION:Reduced Delta Lumen value in the central airways measured by using QCT is a promising exploratory biomarker of unstable refractory asthma that warrants further study.
Project description:RATIONALE:Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common comorbidity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has been associated with increased risk of acute exacerbations, hospitalization, emergency room visits, costs, and quality-of-life impairment. However, it remains unclear whether GERD contributes to the progression of COPD as measured by lung function or computed tomography. OBJECTIVE:To determine the impact of GERD on longitudinal changes in lung function and radiographic lung disease in the COPDGene cohort. METHODS:We evaluated 5728 participants in the COPDGene cohort who completed Phase I (baseline) and Phase II (5-year follow-up) visits. GERD status was based on participant-reported physician diagnoses. We evaluated associations between GERD and annualized changes in lung function [forced expired volume in 1?s (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC)] and quantitative computed tomography (QCT) metrics of airway disease and emphysema using multivariable regression models. These associations were further evaluated in the setting of GERD treatment with proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) and/or histamine-receptor 2 blockers (H2 blockers). RESULTS:GERD was reported by 2101 (36.7%) participants at either Phase I and/or Phase II. GERD was not associated with significant differences in slopes of FEV1 (difference of -?2.53?mL/year; 95% confidence interval (CI), -?5.43 to 0.37) or FVC (difference of -?3.05?mL/year; 95% CI, -?7.29 to 1.19), but the odds of rapid FEV1 decline of ?40?mL/year was higher in those with GERD (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.20; 95%CI, 1.07 to 1.35). Participants with GERD had increased progression of QCT-measured air trapping (0.159%/year; 95% CI, 0.054 to 0.264), but not other QCT metrics such as airway wall area/thickness or emphysema. Among those with GERD, use of PPI and/or H2 blockers was associated with faster decline in FEV1 (difference of -?6.61?mL/year; 95% CI, -?11.9 to -?1.36) and FVC (difference of -?9.26?mL/year; 95% CI, -?17.2 to -?1.28). CONCLUSIONS:GERD was associated with faster COPD disease progression as measured by rapid FEV1 decline and QCT-measured air trapping, but not by slopes of lung function. The magnitude of the differences was clinically small, but given the high prevalence of GERD, further investigation is warranted to understand the potential disease-modifying role of GERD in COPD pathogenesis and progression. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION:NCT00608764 .
Project description:Increased proliferation of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells leading to hyperplasia and increased ASM mass is one of the most characteristic features of airway remodelling in asthma. A bioactive lipid, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), has been suggested to affect airway remodelling by stimulation of human ASM cell proliferation.To investigate the effect of S1P on signalling and regulation of gene expression in ASM cells from healthy and asthmatic individuals.Airway smooth muscle cells grown from bronchial biopsies of healthy and asthmatic individuals were exposed to S1P. Gene expression was analysed using microarray, real-time PCR and Western blotting. Receptor signalling and function were determined by mRNA knockdown and intracellular calcium mobilization experiments.S1P potently regulated the expression of more than 80 genes in human ASM cells, including several genes known to be involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and airway remodelling (HBEGF, TGFB3, TXNIP, PLAUR, SERPINE1, RGS4). S1P acting through S1P2 and S1P3 receptors activated intracellular calcium mobilization and extracellular signal-regulated and Rho-associated kinases to regulate gene expression. S1P-induced responses were not inhibited by corticosteroids and did not differ significantly between ASM cells from healthy and asthmatic individuals.S1P induces a steroid-resistant, pro-remodelling pathway in ASM cells. Targeting S1P or its receptors could be a novel treatment strategy for inhibiting airway remodelling in asthma.
Project description:Asthma is a heterogeneous disease characterized by chronic inflammation and structural changes in the airways. The airway smooth muscle (ASM) is responsible for airway narrowing and an important source of inflammatory mediators. We and others have previously shown that WNT5A mRNA and protein expression is higher in the ASM of asthmatics compared to healthy controls. Here, we aimed to characterize the functional role of (smooth muscle-derived) WNT5A in asthma. We generated a tet-ON smooth-muscle-specific WNT5A transgenic mouse model, enabling in vivo characterization of smooth-muscle-derived WNT5A in response to ovalbumin. Smooth muscle specific WNT5A overexpression showed a clear trend towards enhanced actin (?-SMA) expression in the ASM in ovalbumin challenged animals, but had no effect on collagen content. WNT5A overexpression in ASM also significantly enhanced the production of the Th2-cytokines IL4 and IL5 in lung tissue after ovalbumin exposure. In line with this, WNT5A increased mucus production, and enhanced eosinophilic infiltration and serum IgE production in ovalbumin-treated animals. In addition, CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells of asthma patients and healthy controls were stimulated with WNT5A and changes in gene transcription assessed by RNA-seq. WNT5A promoted expression of 234 genes in human CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells, among which the Th2 cytokine IL31 was among the top 5 upregulated genes. IL31 was also upregulated in response to smooth muscle-specific WNT5A overexpression in the mouse. In conclusion, smooth-muscle derived WNT5A augments Th2 type inflammation and remodelling. Our findings imply a pro-inflammatory role for smooth muscle-derived WNT5A in asthma, resulting in increased airway wall inflammation and remodelling.