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Concept: Respiratory diseases


BACKGROUND: There has been a large increase in treatment and in research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from the common starting point of the original Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) study. There is currently little evidence on the degree of similarity and difference between national programmes or on the linkage between research and policy. AIMS: To review the evidence on programme development and the effectiveness gap from the UK, France, Germany, and Finland. METHODS: Visits and literature reviews were undertaken for regional centres in Lancashire, Nord-Pas de Calais, and Finland, and Eurostat data on mortality and hospital discharges were analysed. And telephone interviews in Nord-Rhein Westphalia. RESULTS: There have been very significant differences in programme development from the original GOLD starting point. The UK has national strategies but they are without consistent local delivery. The French Affection de Longue Durée (ALD) programme limits special help to at most 10% of patients and there is little use of spirometry in primary care. Germany has a more general Disease Management Programme with COPD as a late starter. Finland has had a successful 10-year programme. The results for the effectiveness gap on hospital discharges show a major difference between Finland (40.7% fall in discharges) and others (increases of 6.0-43.7%). CONCLUSIONS: The results show the need for a simpler programme in primary care to close the effectiveness gap. Such a programme is outlined based on preventing the downward spiral for high-risk patients.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Asthma, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Spirometry, Obstructive lung disease, Respiratory diseases, The Downward Spiral


The role of inhaled steroids in patients with chronic respiratory diseases is a matter of debate due to the potential effect on the development and prognosis of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). We assessed whether treatment with inhaled steroids in patients with chronic bronchitis, COPD or asthma and CAP may affect early outcome of the acute pneumonic episode.

Concepts: Asthma, Medical terms, Pneumonia, Cough, Chronic, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Mucus, Respiratory diseases


Objective-To evaluate protein expression in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) obtained from West Highland White Terriers with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), dogs with chronic bronchitis, and healthy control dogs to identify potential biomarkers for IPF. Samples-BALF samples obtained from 6 West Highland White Terriers with histologically confirmed IPF, 5 dogs with chronic bronchitis, and 4 healthy Beagles. Procedures-Equal amounts of proteins in concentrated BALF samples were separated via 2-D differential gel electrophoresis. Proteins that were differentially expressed relative to results for healthy control dogs were identified with mass spectrometry and further verified via western blotting. Results-Expression of 6 proteins was upregulated and that of 1 protein was downregulated in dogs with IPF or chronic bronchitis, compared with results for healthy dogs. Expression of proteins β-actin, complement C3, α-1-antitrypsin, apolipoprotein A-1, haptoglobin, and transketolase was upregulated, whereas expression of lysozyme C was downregulated. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Proteomics can be used to search for biomarkers and to reveal disease-specific mechanisms. The quantitative comparison of proteomes for BALF obtained from dogs with IPF and chronic bronchitis and healthy dogs revealed similar changes for the dogs with IPF and chronic bronchitis, which suggested a common response to disease processes in otherwise different lung diseases. Specific biomarkers for IPF were not identified.

Concepts: Protein, Molecular biology, Pulmonology, Gel electrophoresis, Bronchoalveolar lavage, Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Respiratory diseases, West Highland White Terrier


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by a diverse array of pulmonary and nonpulmonary manifestations, but our understanding of COPD pathogenesis and the factors that influence its heterogeneity in disease presentation is poor. Despite this heterogeneity, treatment algorithms are primarily driven by a single measurement, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) as a percentage of its predicted value (FEV1%). In 2011, a major shift in Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) treatment recommendations was proposed that stratifies patients with COPD on the basis of symptoms and exacerbation history. This article reviews the work reported in 2013 that enlightens our understanding of COPD with respect to COPD classification systems, phenotype, biomarker, exacerbation, and management for patients with COPD.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Asthma, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Emphysema, Spirometry, Obstructive lung disease, Respiratory diseases


Pesticides have been widely used to control pest and pest-related diseases in agriculture, fishery, forestry and the food industry. In this review, we identify a number of respiratory symptoms and diseases that have been associated with occupational pesticide exposures. Impaired lung function has also been observed among people occupationally exposed to pesticides. There was strong evidence for an association between occupational pesticide exposure and asthma, especially in agricultural occupations. In addition, we found suggestive evidence for a link between occupational pesticide exposure and chronic bronchitis or COPD. There was inconclusive evidence for the association between occupational pesticide exposure and lung cancer. Better control of pesticide uses and enforcement of safety behaviors, such as using personal protection equipment (PPE) in the workplace, are critical for reducing the risk of developing pesticide-related symptoms and diseases. Educational training programs focusing on basic safety precautions and proper uses of personal protection equipment (PPE) are possible interventions that could be used to control the respiratory diseases associated with pesticide exposure in occupational setting.

Concepts: Cancer, Pulmonology, Asthma, Lung, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pesticide, Mucus, Respiratory diseases


Cadmium in tobacco smoke may contribute to the development of pulmonary emphysema. However, there is poor understanding of the mechanisms behind the pathogenic role of cadmium in this and other smoking-related lung diseases. The traditional focus on the total body burden of cadmium, estimated through analysis of urine, may not fully reflect the local burden of cadmium, since it is inhaled by smokers. Thus, assessing the local accumulation of cadmium in the lungs appears more relevant, given that there is tissue-specific retention of cadmium.In this review, we outline the principal sources of cadmium exposure and the clinical effects of occupational exposure. In addition, we review evidence on local cadmium and its association with alterations in innate immunity in tobacco smokers. Moreover, we scrutinise the data on cadmium as a cause of lung disease in translational models.We conclude that cadmium may contribute to smoking-related lung diseases, possiblyviaan altered redox balance and by making macrophages dysfunctional. However, there is a need for new studies on local cadmium levels and their relation to pathology in long-term tobacco smokers, as well as for more in-depth studies on cellular and molecular mechanisms, to elucidate the importance of cadmium in smoking-related lung diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Pulmonology, Lung, Tobacco smoking, Emphysema, Respiratory diseases, Cadmium poisoning


The current Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) treatment strategy recommends the use of one or more bronchodilators according to the patient’s airflow limitation, their history of exacerbations, and symptoms. The LANTERN study evaluated the effect of the long-acting β2-agonist (LABA)/long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) dual bronchodilator, QVA149 (indacaterol/glycopyrronium), as compared with the LABA/inhaled corticosteroid, salmeterol/fluticasone (SFC), in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD with a history of ≤1 exacerbation in the previous year.

Concepts: Asthma, Medical terms, Patient, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Patience, Obstructive lung disease, Bronchodilator, Respiratory diseases


Previous research and key guidelines have suggested potential models of palliative care for patients with COPD and interstitial lung disease. However, these recommendations are often not effectively implemented in clinical practice and are void of guidance regarding palliative care for patients with bronchiectasis, another form of non-malignant respiratory disease. The aim of this research was to explore generalist and specialist palliative care service provision for people with non-malignant respiratory disease in the North and Republic of Ireland.

Concepts: Cancer, Respiratory disease, Pulmonology, Asthma, Chemotherapy, Republic of Ireland, Obstructive lung disease, Respiratory diseases


In order to clarify the possible role of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in the treatment of patients with chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we have carried out a meta-analysis testing the available evidence that NAC treatment may be effective in preventing exacerbations of chronic bronchitis or COPD and evaluating whether there is a substantial difference between the responses induced by low (≤600 mg per day) and high (>600 mg per day) doses of NAC.The results of the present meta-analysis (13 studies, 4155 COPD patients, NAC n=1933; placebo or controls n=2222) showed that patients treated with NAC had significantly and consistently fewer exacerbations of chronic bronchitis or COPD (relative risk 0.75, 95% CI 0.66-0.84; p<0.01), although this protective effect was more apparent in patients without evidence of airway obstruction. However, high doses of NAC were also effective in patients suffering from COPD diagnosed using spirometric criteria (relative risk 0.75, 95% CI 0.68-0.82; p=0.04). NAC was well tolerated and the risk of adverse reactions was not dose-dependent (low doses relative risk 0.93, 95% CI 0.89-0.97; p=0.40; high doses relative risk 1.11, 95% CI 0.89-1.39; p=0.58).The strong signal that comes from this meta-analysis leads us to state that if a patient suffering from chronic bronchitis presents a documented airway obstruction, NAC should be administered at a dose of ≥1200 mg per day to prevent exacerbations, while if a patient suffers from chronic bronchitis, but is without airway obstruction, a regular treatment of 600 mg per day seems to be sufficient.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Asthma, Medical statistics, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pulmonary hypertension, Obstructive lung disease, Chronic bronchitis, Respiratory diseases


Background Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic bronchitic and emphysematous components. In one biophysical model, the concentration of mucin on the airway surfaces is hypothesized to be a key variable that controls mucus transport in healthy persons versus cessation of transport in persons with muco-obstructive lung diseases. Under this model, it is postulated that a high mucin concentration produces the sputum and disease progression that are characteristic of chronic bronchitis. Methods We characterized the COPD status of 917 participants from the Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcome Measures in COPD Study (SPIROMICS) using questionnaires administered to participants, chest tomography, spirometry, and examination of induced sputum. Total mucin concentrations in sputum were measured with the use of size-exclusion chromatography and refractometry. In 148 of these participants, the respiratory secreted mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B were quantitated by means of mass spectrometry. Data from chronic-bronchitis questionnaires and data on total mucin concentrations in sputum were also analyzed in an independent 94-participant cohort. Results Mean (±SE) total mucin concentrations were higher in current or former smokers with severe COPD than in controls who had never smoked (3166±402 vs. 1515±152 μg per milliliter) and were higher in participants with two or more respiratory exacerbations per year than in those with zero exacerbations (4194±878 vs. 2458±113 μg per milliliter). The absolute concentrations of MUC5B and MUC5AC in current or former smokers with severe COPD were approximately 3 times as high and 10 times as high, respectively, as in controls who had never smoked. Receiver-operating-characteristic curve analysis of the association between total mucin concentration and a diagnosis of chronic bronchitis yielded areas under the curve of 0.72 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.65 to 0.79) for the SPIROMICS cohort and 0.82 (95% CI, 0.73 to 0.92) for the independent cohort. Conclusions Airway mucin concentrations may quantitate a key component of the chronic bronchitis pathophysiologic cascade that produces sputum and mediates disease severity. Studies designed to explore total mucin concentrations in sputum as a diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target for chronic bronchitis appear to be warranted. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.).

Concepts: Pulmonology, Asthma, Lung, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Mucus, Obstructive lung disease, Respiratory diseases