Carmen Casaulta

Universität Bern, Berna, Bern, Switzerland

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Publications (59)247.92 Total impact

  • Florian Singer · Carmen Casaulta · Philipp Latzin

    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Background and objective: Rhinoviruses (RV) replicate in both upper and lower airway epithelial cells. We evaluated the possibility of using nasal epithelial cells (NEC) as surrogate of bronchial epithelial cells (BEC) for RV pathogenesis cell culture studies. Methods: We used primary paired NEC and BEC cultures established from healthy subjects and compared the replication of RV belonging to the major (RV16) and minor (RV1B) group, and the cellular antiviral and proinflammatory cytokine responses towards these viruses. We related antiviral and pro-inflammatory responses of NEC isolated from CF and COPD patients with those of BEC. Results: RV16 replication and major group surface receptor (ICAM-1) expression were higher in healthy NEC compared with BEC (P < 0.05); RV1B replication and minor group surface receptor (LDLR) expression were similar. Healthy NEC and BEC produced similar levels of IFN-β and IFN-λ2/3 upon RV infection or after simulation with poly(IC). IL-8 production was similar between healthy NEC and BEC. IL-6 release at baseline (P < 0.01) and upon infection with RV16 (P < 0.05) and poly(IC) stimulation (P < 0.05) was higher in NEC. RV1B viral load in NEC was related to RV1B viral load in BEC (r = 0.49, P = 0.01). There was a good correlation of IFN levels between NEC and BEC (r = 0.66, P = 0.0004 after RV1B infection). IL-8 production in NEC was related to IL-8 production in BEC (r = 0.48, P = 0.02 after RV1B infection). Conclusion: NEC are a suitable alternative cellular system to BEC to study the pathophysiology of RV infections and particularly to investigate IFN responses induced by RV infection.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Respirology
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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D has immunomodulatory properties in the defence against pathogens. Its insufficiency is a widespread feature of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, which are repeatedly suffering from rhinovirus (RV)-induced pulmonary exacerbations.To investigate whether vitamin D has antiviral activity, primary bronchial epithelial cells from CF children were pre-treated with vitamin D and infected with RV16. Antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity of vitamin D was assessed. RV and LL-37 levels were measured in bronchoalveolar lavages (BALs) of CF children infected with RV.Vitamin D reduced RV16 load in a dose-dependent manner in CF cells (10(-7 )M:p<0.01). The antiviral response mediated by interferons remained unchanged by vitamin D in CF cells. Vitamin D did not exert anti-inflammatory properties in RV-infected CF cells. Vitamin D increased the expression of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 up to 17.4-fold (p<0.05). Addition of exogenous LL-37 decreased viral replication by 4.4-fold in CF cells (p<0.05). An inverse correlation between viral load and LL-37 levels in CF BALs (r=-0.48, p<0.05) was observed.RV replication in primary CF bronchial cells was reduced by vitamin D through the induction of LL-37. Clinical studies are needed to determine the importance of an adequate control of vitamin D for prevention of virus-induced pulmonary CF exacerbations.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · European Respiratory Journal

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · European Respiratory Journal

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · European Respiratory Journal
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    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · European Respiratory Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Rhinoviruses (RVs) are associated with exacerbations of cystic fibrosis (CF), asthma and COPD. There is growing evidence suggesting the involvement of the interferon (IFN) pathway in RV-associated morbidity in asthma and COPD. The mechanisms of RV-triggered exacerbations in CF are poorly understood. In a pilot study, we assessed the antiviral response of CF and healthy bronchial epithelial cells (BECs) to RV infection, we measured the levels of IFNs, pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) upon infection with major and minor group RVs and poly(IC) stimulation. Major group RV infection of CF BECs resulted in a trend towards a diminished IFN response at the level of IFNs, PRRs and ISGs in comparison to healthy BECs. Contrary to major group RV, the IFN pathway induction upon minor group RV infection was significantly increased at the level of IFNs and PRRs in CF BECs compared to healthy BECs.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · European Respiratory Journal

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · European Respiratory Journal

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · European Respiratory Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Lung clearance index (LCI), a marker of ventilation inhomogeneity, is elevated early in children with cystic fibrosis (CF). However, in infants with CF, LCI values are found to be normal, although structural lung abnormalities are often detectable. We hypothesized that this discrepancy is due to inadequate algorithms of the available software package. Our aim was to challenge the validity of these software algorithms. We compared multiple breath washout (MBW) results of current software algorithms (automatic modus) to refined algorithms (manual modus) in 17 asymptomatic infants with CF, and 24 matched healthy term-born infants. The main difference between these two analysis methods lies in the calculation of the molar mass differences that the system uses to define the completion of the measurement. In infants with CF the refined manual modus revealed clearly elevated LCI above 9 in 8 out of 35 measurements (23%), all showing LCI values below 8.3 using the automatic modus (paired t-test comparing the means, P < 0.001). Healthy infants showed normal LCI values using both analysis methods (n = 47, paired t-test, P = 0.79). The most relevant reason for false normal LCI values in infants with CF using the automatic modus was the incorrect recognition of the end-of-test too early during the washout. We recommend the use of the manual modus for the analysis of MBW outcomes in infants in order to obtain more accurate results. This will allow appropriate use of infant lung function results for clinical and scientific purposes. Pediatr Pulmonol. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Pediatric Pulmonology
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    ABSTRACT: We have taken keen interest in the current discussion on the meaning of the lung clearance index (LCI) in patients with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD). In patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), LCI from the nitrogen multiple-breath gas washout (N2-MBW) test has become a sensitive marker for detection of ventilation inhomogeneity with a good correlation between LCI and FEV1.1 However, in patients with PCD, two studies failed to find a correlation for the FEV1 and LCI.1 ,2 This difference in functional measures between CF and PCD was recently challenged by Boon et al,3 showing a robust correlation between LCI and FEV … [Full text of this article]
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Thorax
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    ABSTRACT: Virus-associated pulmonary exacerbations, often associated with rhinoviruses (RVs), contribute to cystic fibrosis (CF) morbidity. Currently, there are only a few therapeutic options to treat virus-induced CF pulmonary exacerbations. The macrolide antibiotic azithromycin has antiviral properties in human bronchial epithelial cells. We investigated the potential of azithromycin to induce antiviral mechanisms in CF bronchial epithelial cells. Primary bronchial epithelial cells from CF and control children were infected with RV after azithromycin pre-treatment. Viral RNA, interferon (IFN), IFN-stimulated gene and pattern recognition receptor expression were measured by real-time quantitative PCR. Live virus shedding was assessed by assaying the 50% tissue culture infective dose. Pro-inflammatory cytokine and IFN-β production were evaluated by ELISA. Cell death was investigated by flow cytometry. RV replication was increased in CF compared with control cells. Azithromycin reduced RV replication seven-fold in CF cells without inducing cell death. Furthermore, azithromycin increased RV-induced pattern recognition receptor, IFN and IFN-stimulated gene mRNA levels. While stimulating antiviral responses, azithromycin did not prevent virus-induced pro-inflammatory responses. Azithromycin pre-treatment reduces RV replication in CF bronchial epithelial cells, possibly through the amplification of the antiviral response mediated by the IFN pathway. Clinical studies are needed to elucidate the potential of azithromycin in the management and prevention of RV-induced CF pulmonary exacerbations.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · European Respiratory Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Altered arterial stiffness is a recognized risk factor of poor cardiovascular health. Chronic inflammation may increase arterial stiffness. We tested whether arterial stiffness is increased children with asthma, a chronic disease characterized by fluctuating airway and systemic inflammation. Arterial stiffness, expressed as carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWVcf), was measured in 37 mild-to-moderate asthmatic children: 11 girls, median (range) age 11.1 years (6–15). PWVcf in asthma was compared to PWVcf in 65 healthy controls matched for age, height, and gender previously studied in Germany and was correlated with airway inflammation and obstruction. PWVcf was higher in asthmatic children compared to controls: PWVcf median (interquartile range) was 4.7 m/s (4.5–4.9) vs. 4.3 m/s (4.1–4.7), p < 0.0001. In asthmatic children, PWVcf was inversely associated (r 2 = 0.20, p = 0.004) with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). This association remained significant after adjusting for possible confounders including body mass index, blood pressure, steroid use, and FeNO. Conclusion: Arterial stiffness is increased in children with mild-to-moderate asthma. The association between impaired lung function and increased arterial stiffness suggests that severity of disease translates into detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · European Journal of Pediatrics
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Primary nasal epithelial cells are used for diagnostic purposes in clinical routine and have been shown to be good surrogate models for bronchial epithelial cells in studies of airway inflammation and remodeling. We aimed at comparing different instruments allowing isolation of nasal epithelial cells. Methods: Primary airway epithelial cell cultures were established using cells acquired from the inferior surface of the middle turbinate of both nostrils. Three different instruments to isolate nasal cells were used: homemade cytology brush, nasal swab, and curette. Cell count, viability, time until a confluent cell layer was reached, and success rate in establishing cell cultures were evaluated. A standard numeric pain intensity scale was used to assess the acceptability of each instrument. Results: Sixty healthy adults (median with interquartile range [IQR] age of 31 [26-37] years) participated in the study. Higher number of cells (×10(5) cells/ml) was obtained using brushes (9.8 [5.9-33.5]) compared to swabs (2.4 [1.5-3.9], p < 0.0001) and curettes (5.5 [4.4-6.9], p < 0.01). Cell viability was similar between groups. Cells obtained by brushes had the fastest growth rate, and the success rate in establishing primary cell cultures was highest with brushes (90% vs. 65% for swabs and 70% for curettes). Pain was highest with curettes (VAS score 4.0 [3.0-5.0] out of 10). The epithelial phenotype of the cultures was confirmed through cytokeratin and E-cadherin staining. Conclusions: All three types of instruments allow collection and growth of human nasal epithelial cells with good acceptability to study participants. The most efficient instrument is the nasal brush.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Experimental Lung Research
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    ABSTRACT: Nitrogen multiple-breath washout (N2 MBW) using 100% oxygen (O2 ) has regained interest to assess efficiency of tracer gas clearance in, for example, children with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). However, the influence of hyperoxia on the infants' respiratory control is unclear. We assessed safety and impact on breathing pattern from hyperoxia, and if exposure to 40% O2 first induces tolerance to subsequent 100% O2 for N2 MBW. We prospectively enrolled 39 infants aged 3-57 weeks: 15 infants with CF (8 sedated for testing) and 24 healthy controls. Infants were consecutively allocated to the protocols comprising of 100% O2 or 40/100% O2 administered for 30 breaths. Lung function was measured using an ultrasonic flowmeter setup. Primary outcome was tidal volume (VT ). None of the infants experienced apnea, desaturation, or bradycardia. Both protocols initially induced hypoventilation. VT temporarily declined in 33/39 infants across 10-25 breaths. Hypoventilation occurred independent of age, disease, and sedation. In the new 40/100% O2 protocol, VT returned to baseline during 40% O2 and remained stable during 100% O2 exposure. End-tidal carbon dioxide monitored online did not change. The classical N2 MBW protocol with 100% O2 may change breathing patterns of the infants. The new protocol with 40% O2 induces hyperoxia-tolerance and does not lead to changes in breathing patterns during later N2 washout using 100% O2 . Both protocols are safe, the new protocol seems an attractive option for N2 MBW in infants. Pediatr Pulmonol. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Pediatric Pulmonology
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    ABSTRACT: Small airways disease is a hallmark in adults with persistent asthma but little is known on small airways function in children with mild asthma and normal spirometry. We assessed ventilation heterogeneity, a marker of small airways function, using an easy tidal breath single-breath washout (SBW) technique in school-aged children with mild asthma and normal FEV1 and healthy age-matched controls. Primary outcome was the double-tracer gas phase III slope (SDTG), an index of ventilation heterogeneity in acinar airways derived from the tidal double-tracer gas SBW test. The second outcome was the nitrogen phase III slope (SN2), an index of global ventilation heterogeneity derived from the tidal nitrogen SBW test using pure oxygen. Triplicate SBW and spirometry tests were performed in healthy (n = 35) and asthmatic children (n = 31) at baseline and in asthmatic children after bronchodilation. Acinar (SDTG) but not global (SN2) ventilation heterogeneity was significantly increased in asthma despite normal FEV1. SDTG was abnormal (≤-2 z-scores) in 11/31 asthmatic children, FEF25-75 in 3/31 and FEV1 in 0/31. After bronchodilaton, SDTG, SN2, and FEF25-75 and FEV1 significantly changed: Average (95% CI) change given as percentage from baseline was 36 (15-56)%, 38 (18-58)%, 17 (9-25)% and 6 (3-9)%, respectively. Abnormal acinar ventilation heterogeneity in one third of children suggests that small airways disease may be present despite rare and mild asthma symptoms and normal spirometry. The easy tidal SBW technique has considerable potential as a clinical and research outcome in children with asthma.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Chest

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Thorax
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Although lung clearance index (LCI) is a sensitive indicator of mild cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease, it is rarely measured due to lengthy protocols and the commercial unavailability of multiple-breath washout (MBW) setups and tracer gases. We used a newly validated, commercially available nitrogen (N2 ) MBW setup to assess success rate, duration, and variability of LCI within a 20 min timeframe, during clinical routine. We also evaluated the relationship between LCI and other clinical markers of CF lung disease. METHODS: One hundred thirty six children (83 with CF) between 4 and 16 years were studied in a pediatric CF outpatient setting. One hundred eighteen out of 136 children were naïve to MBW. Within 20 min, each child was trained, N2 MBW was performed, and LCI was analyzed. We assessed intra- and between-test reproducibility in a subgroup of children. RESULTS: At least one LCI was feasible in 123 (90%) children, with a mean (range) of 3.3 (1.2-6.4) min per test. Two or more measurements were feasible in 56 (41%) children. Comparing LCI in CF versus controls, LCI mean (SD) was 12.0 (3.9) versus 6.1 (0.9), and the intra- and inter-test coefficient of repeatability was 1.00 versus 0.81 and 0.96 versus 0.62, respectively. LCI was correlated with spirometry, blood gases, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. CONCLUSIONS: Using available N2 MBW equipment, LCI measurements are practical and fast in children. LCI is correlated with markers of CF lung disease. Longer timeframes would be required for triplicate N2 MBW tests in inexperienced children.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Pediatric Pulmonology
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the ability of 4 single-breath gas washout (SBW) tests to measure immediate effects of airway clearance in children with CF. 25 children aged 4-16years with CF performed pulmonary function tests to assess short-term variability at baseline and response to routine airway clearance. Tidal helium and sulfur hexafluoride (double-tracer gas: DTG) SBW, tidal capnography, tidal and vital capacity nitrogen (N2) SBW and spirometry were applied. We analyzed the gasses' phase III slope (SnIII - normalized for tidal volume) and FEV1 from spirometry. SnIII from tidal DTG-SBW, SnIII from vital capacity N2-SBW, and FEV1 improved significantly after airway clearance. From these tests, individual change of SnIII from tidal DTG-SBW and FEV1 exceeded short-term variability in 10 and 6 children. With the tidal DTG-SBW, an easy and promising test for peripheral gas mixing efficiency, immediate pulmonary function response to airway clearance can be assessed in CF children.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of cystic fibrosis: official journal of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Rhinovirus (RV)-induced pulmonary exacerbations are common in cystic fibrosis (CF) and have been associated with impaired virus clearance by the CF airway epithelium in vitro. Here, we assess in vivo the association of RV prevalence and load with antiviral defense mechanisms, airway inflammation, and lung function parameters in children with CF compared with a control group and children with other chronic respiratory diseases. METHODS: RV presence and load were measured by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in BAL samples and were related to antiviral and inflammatory mediators measured in BAL and to clinical parameters. RESULTS: BAL samples were obtained from children with CF (n = 195), non-CF bronchiectasis (n = 40), or asthma (n = 29) and from a control group (n = 35) at a median (interquartile range [IQR]) age of 8.2 (4.0-11.7) years. RV was detected in 73 samples (24.4%). RV prevalence was similar among groups. RV load (median [IQR] x 10(3) copies/mL) was higher in children with CF (143.0 [13.1-1530.0]), especially during pulmonary exacerbations, compared with children with asthma (3.0 [1.3-25.8], P = .006) and the control group (0.5 [0.3-0.5], P < .001), but similar to patients with non-CF bronchiectasis (122.1 [2.7-4423.5], P = not significant). In children with CF, RV load was negatively associated with interferon (IFN)- b and IFN- l , IL-1ra levels, and FEV 1 , and positively with levels of the cytokines CXCL8 and CXCL10. CONCLUSIONS: RV load in CF BAL is high, especially during exacerbated lung disease. Impaired production of antiviral mediators may lead to the high RV burden in the lower airways of children with CF. Whether high RV load is a cause or a consequence of inflammation needs further investigation in longitudinal studies.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Chest

Publication Stats

514 Citations
247.92 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • Universität Bern
      Berna, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2002-2015
    • University Children's Hospital Basel
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
    • Inselspital, Universitätsspital Bern
      • • Department of Paediatrics
      • • Department of Pneumology
      Berna, Bern, Switzerland