Respiratory research

Non-neuronal cholinergic system contributes to corticosteroid resistance in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.

PMID 27825347


Inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) with long-acting beta-2 agonists is a well-documented combination therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) based on its additive anti-inflammatory properties. By contrast, the recommendation of ICS in combination with long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) is not evidence-based. In this study, neutrophils obtained from COPD patients were used to compare the anti-inflammatory effects of aclidinium bromide (a long-acting muscarinic antagonist) with corticosteroids and their potential additive effect. Human sputum and blood neutrophils were isolated from healthy individuals (n = 37), patients with stable COPD (n = 52) and those with exacerbated COPD (n = 16). The cells were incubated with corticosteroid fluticasone propionate (0.1 nM-1 μM), aclidinium bromide (0.1 nM-1 μM) or a combination thereof and stimulated with 1 μg of lipopolysaccharide/ml or 5 % cigarette smoke extract. Levels of the pro-inflammatory mediators interleukin-8, matrix metalloproteinase-9, CCL-5, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-1β were measured and the mechanisms of corticosteroid resistance evaluated at the end of the incubation. The non-neuronal cholinergic system was over-expressed in neutrophils from COPD patients, as evidenced by increases in the expression of muscarinic receptors (M2, M4 and M5), choline acetyltransferase and vesicular acetylcholine transporter. Aclidinium bromide demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects on neutrophils from COPD patients, reversing their resistance to corticosteroids. Additive effects of combined aclidinium bromide and fluticasone propionate in blocking M2 receptor levels, inhibiting phosphoinositide 3-kinase-δ and enhancing the glucocorticoid response element transcription factor were demonstrated and were accompanied by an increase in the corticosteroid-induced expression of anti-inflammatory-related genes. LAMAs potentiate the anti-inflammatory effects of corticosteroids in neutrophils from COPD patients in vitro, thus providing a scientific rationale for their use in combination with corticosteroids in the treatment of COPD.