Clinical Investigation| Volume 345, ISSUE 6, P440-445, June 2013

Effects of Active Smoking on Airway and Systemic Inflammation Profiles in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease



      The markers that characterize local and systemic inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remain unclear, as do their correlations with smoking status and presence of disease. The aim of this study was to assess markers of inflammation in the peripheral blood and airways of current smokers without COPD, of current smokers with COPD and of ex-smokers with COPD.


      In this study, 17 current smokers with COPD (mean age: 58.2 ± 9.6 years; mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1]: 56.1 ± 15.9%), 35 ex-smokers with COPD (mean age: 66.3 ± 7.3 years; mean FEV1: 47.9 ± 17.2%) and 20 current smokers without COPD (mean age: 49.1 ± 6.2 years; mean FEV1: 106.5 ± 15.8%) were evaluated. Spirometry findings, body composition and serum/induced sputum concentrations of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and IL-10, together with serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, were assessed.


      Serum TNF-α concentration was higher in all current smokers than in ex-smokers with COPD. In current smokers without COPD, serum CRP level was lower than in ex-smokers with COPD and significantly lower than in current smokers with COPD. Sputum TNF-α concentration was higher in current and ex-smokers with COPD than in current smokers without COPD. Multiple regression analyses showed that serum TNF-α was associated with active smoking, and serum CRP and sputum TNF-α were associated with COPD diagnosis.


      Smoking is associated with higher systemic inflammation in patients with COPD. Current findings also support the hypothesis that smoking and COPD have different effects on the regulation of airway and systemic inflammatory processes.

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