Respiratory research

Proteomic profiling of peripheral blood neutrophils identifies two inflammatory phenotypes in stable COPD patients.

PMID 28532454


COPD is a heterogeneous chronic inflammatory disease of the airways and it is well accepted that the GOLD classification does not fully represent the complex clinical manifestations of COPD and this classification therefore is not well suited for phenotyping of individual patients with COPD. Besides the chronic inflammation in the lung compartment, there is also a systemic inflammation present in COPD patients. This systemic inflammation is associated with elevated levels of cytokines in the peripheral blood, but the precise composition is unknown. Therefore, differences in phenotype of peripheral blood neutrophils in vivo could be used as a read out for the overall systemic inflammation in COPD. Our aim was to utilize an unsupervised method to assess the proteomic profile of peripheral neutrophils of stable COPD patients and healthy age matched controls to find potential differences in these profiles as read-out of inflammatory phenotypes. We performed fluorescence two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis with the lysates of peripheral neutrophils of controls and stable COPD patients. We identified two groups of COPD patients based on the differentially regulated proteins and hierarchical clustering whereas there was no difference in lung function between these two COPD groups. The neutrophils from one of the COPD groups were less responsive to bacterial peptide N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLF). This illustrates that systemic inflammatory signals do not necessarily correlate with the GOLD classification and that inflammatory phenotyping can significantly add in an improved diagnosis of single COPD patients. NCT00807469 registered December 11th 2008.