[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to the pleiotropic effects of nitric oxide (NO) within the lungs, it is likely that NO is a significant factor in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of this study was to test for association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in three NO synthase (NOS) genes and lung function, as well as to examine gene expression and protein levels in relation to the genetic variation.
One SNP in each NOS gene (neuronal NOS (NOS1), inducible NOS (NOS2), and endothelial NOS (NOS3)) was genotyped in the Lung Health Study (LHS) and correlated with lung function. One SNP (rs1800779) was also analyzed for association with COPD and lung function in four COPD case--control populations. Lung tissue expression of NOS3 mRNA and protein was tested in individuals of known genotype for rs1800779. Immunohistochemistry of lung tissue was used to localize NOS3 expression.
For the NOS3 rs1800779 SNP, the baseline forced expiratory volume in one second in the LHS was significantly higher in the combined AG + GG genotypic groups compared with the AA genotypic group. Gene expression and protein levels in lung tissue were significantly lower in subjects with the AG + GG genotypes than in AA subjects. NOS3 protein was expressed in the airway epithelium and subjects with the AA genotype demonstrated higher NOS3 expression compared with AG and GG individuals. However, we were not able to replicate the associations with COPD or lung function in the other COPD study groups.
Variants in the NOS genes were not associated with lung function or COPD status. However, the G allele of rs1800779 resulted in a decrease of NOS3 gene expression and protein levels and this has implications for the numerous disease states that have been associated with this polymorphism.
BMC Pulmonary Medicine 11/2013; 13(1):64. · 2.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) genes (CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4) have been reproducibly associated with nicotine dependence, smoking behaviors, and lung cancer risk. Of the few reports that have focused on early smoking behaviors, association results have been mixed. This meta-analysis examines early smoking phenotypes and SNPs in the gene cluster to determine: (1) whether the most robust association signal in this region (rs16969968) for other smoking behaviors is also associated with early behaviors, and/or (2) if additional statistically independent signals are important in early smoking. We focused on two phenotypes: age of tobacco initiation (AOI) and age of first regular tobacco use (AOS). This study included 56,034 subjects (41 groups) spanning nine countries and evaluated five SNPs including rs1948, rs16969968, rs578776, rs588765, and rs684513. Each dataset was analyzed using a centrally generated script. Meta-analyses were conducted from summary statistics. AOS yielded significant associations with SNPs rs578776 (beta = 0.02, P = 0.004), rs1948 (beta = 0.023, P = 0.018), and rs684513 (beta = 0.032, P = 0.017), indicating protective effects. There were no significant associations for the AOI phenotype. Importantly, rs16969968, the most replicated signal in this region for nicotine dependence, cigarettes per day, and cotinine levels, was not associated with AOI (P = 0.59) or AOS (P = 0.92). These results provide important insight into the complexity of smoking behavior phenotypes, and suggest that association signals in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster affecting early smoking behaviors may be different from those affecting the mature nicotine dependence phenotype.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that biomass smoke exposure is associated with an airway-predominant COPD phenotype, while tobacco-related COPD is associated with an emphysema-predominant phenotype.In this cross-sectional study, female never-smokers with COPD and biomass exposure (n=21) and female ex-cigarette smokers with COPD without biomass exposure (n=22) completed computed tomography (CT) at inspiration and expiration, pulmonary function, blood gas, exercise tolerance, and quality of life measures. Two radiologists scored the extent of emphysema and air trapping on CT. Quantitative emphysema severity and distribution, and airway wall thickness were calculated using specialized software.Females in the tobacco group had significantly more emphysema than the biomass group (radiologist score 2·3 vs 0·7, p=0·001; % emphysema on CT scan 27% vs 19%, p=0·046; and a larger size of emphysematous spaces, p=0·006). Females in the biomass group had significantly more air trapping than the tobacco group (radiologist score=2·6 and 1·5 respectively; p=0·02) and also scored lower on the symptom, activities and confidence domains of quality of life and had lower oxygen saturation at rest and during exercise (p<0·05).Biomass smoke exposure is associated with less emphysema but more air trapping than tobacco smoke exposure, suggesting an airway-predominant phenotype.
European Respiratory Journal 10/2013; · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myosin molecules from smooth muscle and non-muscle cells are known to self-assemble into side-polar filaments in vitro. However the in situ mechanism of filament assembly is not clear and the question of whether there is a unique length for myosin filaments in smooth muscle is still under debate. In this study we measured the lengths of 16,587 myosin filaments in three types of smooth muscle cells using serial electron microscopy (EM). Sheep airway and pulmonary arterial smooth muscle as well as rabbit carotid arterial smooth muscle were fixed for EM and serial ultra-thin (50-60 nm) sections were obtained. Myosin filaments were traced in consecutive sections to determine their lengths. The results indicate that there is not a single length for the myosin filaments; instead there is a wide variation in lengths. The plots of observation frequency versus myosin filament length follow an exponential decay pattern. Analysis suggests that in situ assembly of myosin filaments in smooth muscle is governed by random processes of linear polymerization and de-polymerization, and that the dynamic equilibrium of these processes determines the observed length distribution.
The Journal of Physiology 09/2013; · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structurally dynamic cytoskeleton is important in many cell functions. Large gaps still exist in our knowledge regarding what regulates cytoskeletal dynamics and what underlies the structural plasticity. Because Rho-kinase is an upstream regulator of signaling events leading to phosphorylation of many cytoskeletal proteins in many cell types, we have chosen this kinase as the focus of the present study. In detergent skinned tracheal smooth muscle preparations we quantified the proteins eluted from the muscle cells over time and monitored the muscle's ability to respond to acetylcholine (ACh) stimulation to produce force and stiffness. In a partially skinned preparation not able to generate active force but could still stiffen upon ACh stimulation we found that the ACh-induced stiffness was independent of calcium and myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation. This indicates that the MLC-dependent actively cycling cross-bridges are not likely the source of the stiffness. The results also indicate that Rho-kinase is central to the ACh-induced stiffness because inhibition of the kinase by H1152 (1 μM) abolished the stiffening. Furthermore, the rate of relaxation of calcium-induced stiffness in the skinned preparation was faster than that of ACh-induced stiffness with or without calcium, suggesting that different signaling pathways lead to different means of maintenance of stiffness in the skinned preparation.
Journal of Applied Physiology 09/2013; · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Airway wall remodeling and lung hyperinflation are two typical features of asthma that may alter the contractility of airway smooth muscle (ASM) by affecting its operating length. The aims of this study were: 1-To describe the 'length-dependency of ASM force' in response to different spasmogens; and 2-to predict, based on morphological data and a computational model, the consequence of this 'length-dependency of ASM force' on airway responsiveness in asthmatics who have both remodeled airway walls and hyperinflated lungs . Ovine tracheal ASM strips and human bronchial rings were isolated and stimulated to contract in response to increasing concentrations of spasmogens at 3 different lengths. Ovine tracheal strips were more sensitive and generated greater force at longer lengths in response to acetylcholine (ACh) and K+. Equipotent concentrations of ACh were ∼a log less for ASM stretched by 30% and ∼a log more for ASM shortened by 30%. Similar results were observed in human bronchi in response to methacholine. Morphometric and computational analyses predicted that the ASM of asthmatics may be elongated by 6.6 to 10.4% (depending on airway generation) due to remodeling and/or hyperinflation, which could increase force by 1.8 to 117.8% (depending on ASM length and ACh concentration) and enhance the increased resistance to airflow by 0.4 to 4432.8%. In conclusion, elongation of ASM imposed by airway wall remodeling and/or hyperinflation may allow ASM to operate at a longer length and to consequently generate more force and respond to lower concentration of spasmogens. This phenomenon could contribute to airway hyperresponsiveness.
Journal of Applied Physiology 08/2013; · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alveolar macrophages play an important role in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) via production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cathepsins as well as their inhibitors, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) and cystatin C (CST3). We hypothesized that expression levels of these molecules by alveolar macrophages at baseline and after stimulation would be influenced by genotype and associated with COPD phenotypes.Quantitative PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays/gelatin zymography were used to investigate expression levels of mRNA and protein, respectively. The relationships of expression with genotype, pulmonary function and emphysema were analysed.The results showed that basal expression level of MMP12 mRNA was inversely related to DL,CO/VA and to FEV1/FVC after correction for multiple comparisons. The expression level of MMP12 protein stimulated with LPS was also inversely related to DL,CO/VA and was positively related to the extent of emphysema. The basal expression of MMP1 mRNA was positively correlated with the extent of emphysema. Cathepsin L protein level was positively associated with FEV1% predicted.We conclude that increased MMP12 and MMP1 expression may play a role in the pathogenesis of emphysema. Cathepsin L and MMP9 may be involved in the development of airflow limitation.
European Respiratory Journal 07/2013; · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RATIONALE: Molecular phenotyping of COPD has been impeded in part by the difficulty in obtaining lung tissue samples from individuals with impaired lung function. OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine whether COPD-associated processes are reflected in gene-expression profiles of bronchial airway epithelial cells obtained via bronchoscopy. METHODS: Gene expression profiling of bronchial brushings obtained from 238 current and former smokers with and without COPD was performed using Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST Arrays. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We identified 98 genes whose expression levels were associated with COPD status, FEV1% predicted, and FEV1/FVC. In silico analysis identified ATF4 as a potential transcriptional regulator of genes with COPD-associated airway expression, and ATF4 overexpression in airway epithelial cells in vitro recapitulates COPD-associated gene expression changes. Genes with COPD-associated expression in the bronchial airway epithelium had similarly altered expression profiles in prior studies performed on small-airway epithelium and lung parenchyma, suggesting that transcriptomic alterations in the bronchial airway epithelium reflect molecular events found at more distal sites of disease activity. Many of the airway COPD-associated gene expression changes revert toward baseline following therapy with the inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone in independent cohorts. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate a molecular field of injury throughout the bronchial airway of active and former smokers with COPD that may be driven in part by ATF4 and is modifiable with therapy. Bronchial airway epithelium may therefore ultimately serve as a relatively accessible tissue in which to measure biomarkers of disease activity for guiding clinical management of COPD.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 03/2013; · 11.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of mortality worldwide. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified robust susceptibility loci associated with COPD. However, the mechanisms mediating the risk conferred by these loci remain to be found. The goal of this study was to identify causal genes/variants within susceptibility loci associated with COPD. In the discovery cohort, genome-wide gene expression profiles of 500 non-tumor lung specimens were obtained from patients undergoing lung surgery. Blood-DNA from the same patients were genotyped for 1,2 million SNPs. Following genotyping and gene expression quality control filters, 409 samples were analyzed. Lung expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) were identified and overlaid onto three COPD susceptibility loci derived from GWAS; 4q31 (HHIP), 4q22 (FAM13A), and 19q13 (RAB4B, EGLN2, MIA, CYP2A6). Significant eQTLs were replicated in two independent datasets (n = 363 and 339). SNPs previously associated with COPD and lung function on 4q31 (rs1828591, rs13118928) were associated with the mRNA expression of HHIP. An association between mRNA expression level of FAM13A and SNP rs2045517 was detected at 4q22, but did not reach statistical significance. At 19q13, significant eQTLs were detected with EGLN2. In summary, this study supports HHIP, FAM13A, and EGLN2 as the most likely causal COPD genes on 4q31, 4q22, and 19q13, respectively. Strong lung eQTL SNPs identified in this study will need to be tested for association with COPD in case-control studies. Further functional studies will also be needed to understand the role of genes regulated by disease-related variants in COPD.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e70220. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The lung is a dynamic organ and the oscillating stress applied to the airway wall during breathing maneuvers can decrease airway smooth muscle (ASM) contractility. However, it is unclear whether it is the stress or the attendant strain that is responsible for the decline of ASM force associated with breathing maneuvers, and whether tone can prevent the decline of force by attenuating the strain. To investigate this question, ovine tracheal strips were subjected to oscillating stress that simulates breathing maneuvers, and the resulting strain and decline of force were measured in the absence or presence of different levels of tone elicited by acetylcholine. In relaxed ASM, high stress simulating 20 cmH(2)O-transpulmonary pressure excursions strained ASM strips by 20.7% and decreased force by 17.1%. When stress oscillations were initiated during measurement of ACh concentration-response curves, tone almost abrogated strain at ACh concentration of 10(-6) M (1.1%) but the decline of force was not affected (18.9%). When stress oscillations were initiated after ACh-induced contraction had reached its maximal force, strain were almost abrogated at ACh concentration of 10(-6) M (0.9%) and the decline of force was attenuated (10.1%). However, even at the highest ACh concentration (10(-4) M), substantial decline of force (6.1%) was still observed despite very small strain (0.7%). As expected, the results indicate that tone attenuated the strain experienced by ASM during breathing maneuver simulations. More surprisingly, the reduction of strain induced by tone was not proportional to its effect on the decline of force induced by simulated breathing maneuvers.
Journal of Applied Physiology 11/2012; · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified loci reproducibly associated with pulmonary diseases; however, the molecular mechanism underlying these associations are largely unknown. The objectives of this study were to discover genetic variants affecting gene expression in human lung tissue, to refine susceptibility loci for asthma identified in GWAS studies, and to use the genetics of gene expression and network analyses to find key molecular drivers of asthma. We performed a genome-wide search for expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in 1,111 human lung samples. The lung eQTL dataset was then used to inform asthma genetic studies reported in the literature. The top ranked lung eQTLs were integrated with the GWAS on asthma reported by the GABRIEL consortium to generate a Bayesian gene expression network for discovery of novel molecular pathways underpinning asthma. We detected 17,178 cis- and 593 trans- lung eQTLs, which can be used to explore the functional consequences of loci associated with lung diseases and traits. Some strong eQTLs are also asthma susceptibility loci. For example, rs3859192 on chr17q21 is robustly associated with the mRNA levels of GSDMA (P = 3.55×10(-151)). The genetic-gene expression network identified the SOCS3 pathway as one of the key drivers of asthma. The eQTLs and gene networks identified in this study are powerful tools for elucidating the causal mechanisms underlying pulmonary disease. This data resource offers much-needed support to pinpoint the causal genes and characterize the molecular function of gene variants associated with lung diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The innate immune system is essential for host survival because of its ability to recognize invading pathogens and mount defensive responses. OBJECTIVES: We sought to identify genetic associations of innate immunity genes with atopy and asthma and interactions with early viral infections (first 12 months of life) in a high-risk birth cohort. METHODS: Three Canadian family-based studies and 1 Australian population-based case-control study (n = 5565) were used to investigate associations of 321 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 26 innate immunity genes with atopy, asthma, atopic asthma, and airway hyperresponsiveness. Interactions between innate immunity genes and early viral exposure to 3 common viruses (parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and picornavirus) were examined in the Canadian Asthma Primary Prevention Study by using both an affected-only family-based transmission disequilibrium test and case-control methods. RESULTS: In a joint analysis of all 4 cohorts, IL-1 receptor 2 (IL1R2) and Toll-like receptor 1 (TLR1) SNPs were associated with atopy after correction for multiple comparisons. In addition, an NFKBIA SNP was associated with atopic asthma. Six SNPs (rs1519309 [TLR3], rs740044 [ILIR2], rs4543123 [TLR1], rs5741812 [LBP], rs917998 [IL18RAP], and rs3136641 [NFKBIB]) were significant (P < .05, confirmed with 30,000 permutations) in both the combined analysis of main genetic effects and SNP-virus interaction analyses in both case-control and family-based methods. The TLR1 variant (rs4543123) was associated with both multiple viruses (respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus) and multiple phenotypes. CONCLUSION: We have identified novel susceptibility genes for asthma and related traits and interactions between these genes and early-life viral infections.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 10/2012; · 12.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Prior studies have demonstrated that the distal 1.5 kb of the MMP-1 promoter is fundamental in directing the induction of the MMP-1 gene by cigarette smoke. METHODS: To characterize the genetic variants in the MMP-1 cigarette smoke-responsive element, deep re-sequencing of this element was performed on DNA samples from participants in the Lung Health Study. Furthermore, evidence of Sp1 binding to the MMP-1 promoter was assessed using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays and the influence of cigarette smoke exposure on this interaction was evaluated in cultured human small airway epithelial cells. RESULTS: Ten polymorphisms (four novel) were detected in the cigarette smoke-responsive element. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays to assess the protein-DNA interactions at Sp1 sites in the MMP-1 promoter showed increased binding to the Sp1 sites in the cigarette smoke-responsive element in small airway epithelial cells treated with cigarette smoke extract. In contrast, a Sp1 site outside of the element exhibited the opposite effect. None of the polymorphisms were more prevalent in the fast decliners versus the slow decliners (fast decliners = mean -4.14% decline in FEV1 % predicted per year vs. slow decliners = mean +1.07%/year). CONCLUSIONS: Sequencing analyses identified four novel polymorphisms within the cigarette smoke-responsive element of the MMP-1 promoter. This study identifies functional activity within the cigarette smoke-responsive element that is influenced by cigarette smoke exposure and examines this region of the promoter within a small patient population.
Respiratory research 09/2012; 13(1):79. · 3.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accelerated lung function decline is a key COPD phenotype; however, its genetic control remains largely unknown. We performed a genome-wide association study using the Illumina Human660W-Quad v.1_A BeadChip. Generalized estimation equations were used to assess genetic contributions to lung function decline over a 5-year period in 4,048 European American Lung Health Study participants with largely mild COPD. Genotype imputation was performed using reference HapMap II data. To validate regions meeting genome-wide significance, replication of top SNPs was attempted in independent cohorts. Three genes (TMEM26, ANK3 and FOXA1) within the regions of interest were selected for tissue expression studies using immunohistochemistry. Two intergenic SNPs (rs10761570, rs7911302) on chromosome 10 and one SNP on chromosome 14 (rs177852) met genome-wide significance after Bonferroni. Further support for the chromosome 10 region was obtained by imputation, the most significantly associated imputed SNPs (rs10761571, rs7896712) being flanked by observed markers rs10761570 and rs7911302. Results were not replicated in four general population cohorts or a smaller cohort of subjects with moderate to severe COPD; however, we show novel expression of genes near regions of significantly associated SNPS, including TMEM26 and FOXA1 in airway epithelium and lung parenchyma, and ANK3 in alveolar macrophages. Levels of expression were associated with lung function and COPD status. We identified two novel regions associated with lung function decline in mild COPD. Genes within these regions were expressed in relevant lung cells and their expression related to airflow limitation suggesting they may represent novel candidate genes for COPD susceptibility.