The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections


Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by lung and systemic inflammation. The role of cytokines in local and systemic inflammation in COPD is not well understood. This study aimed to compare plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid cytokine levels in COPD and non-COPD subjects with the intent of better understand their potential roles in driving local and systemic inflammation.

Methods: This cross-sectional study analyzed data from 65 subjects: 31 with COPD confirmed by spirometry and 34 non-COPD controls. All subjects underwent spirometry, plasma sample collection, and bronchoscopy/BAL. Levels of 21 inflammatory cytokines were measured in the plasma (systemic inflammation) and BAL (lung inflammation) using a multiplex assay.

Results:COPD subjects were overall older (median age 59 vs 36; p =

Conclusion: Elevated levels of cytokines were identified in the plasma of COPD subjects when compared to controls, supporting the role of these mediators as one of the mechanisms of systemic inflammation in COPD. In contrast, lung cytokines were not elevated suggesting that inflammation in the setting of COPD may not originate and/or perpetuate in the lungs, or that the BAL fluid is not an optimal source of information when evaluating inflammation in COPD. Although the role of these cytokines remains uncertain, anti-cytokine therapy might modulate inflammation in COPD and perhaps improve outcomes.


National Institutes of Health



jri017-Table_1.pdf (316 kB)
Table 1

jri017-Table_2.pdf (279 kB)
Table 2

jri017-Table_3.pdf (268 kB)
Table 3

jri017-Table_4.pdf (175 kB)
Table 4

jri017-Table_5.pdf (181 kB)
Table 5



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