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Multiomics links global surfactant dysregulation with airflow obstruction and emphysema in COPD.

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Hristova, Ventzislava A 
Chaerkady, Raghothama 
Glover, Matthew S 


RATIONALE: Pulmonary surfactant is vital for lung homeostasis as it reduces surface tension to prevent alveolar collapse and provides essential immune-regulatory and antipathogenic functions. Previous studies demonstrated dysregulation of some individual surfactant components in COPD. We investigated relationships between COPD disease measures and dysregulation of surfactant components to gain new insights into potential disease mechanisms. METHODS: Bronchoalveolar lavage proteome and lipidome were characterised in ex-smoking mild/moderate COPD subjects (n=26) and healthy ex-smoking (n=20) and never-smoking (n=16) controls using mass spectrometry. Serum surfactant protein analysis was performed. RESULTS: Total phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylinositol, surfactant protein (SP)-B, SP-A and SP-D concentrations were lower in COPD versus controls (log2 fold change (log2FC) -2.0, -2.2, -1.5, -0.5, -0.7 and -0.5 (adjusted p<0.02), respectively) and correlated with lung function. Total phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylinositol, SP-A, SP-B, SP-D, napsin A and CD44 inversely correlated with computed tomography small airways disease measures (expiratory to inspiratory mean lung density) (r= -0.56, r= -0.58, r= -0.45, r= -0.36, r= -0.44, r= -0.37, r= -0.40 and r= -0.39 (adjusted p<0.05)). Total phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylinositol, SP-A, SP-B, SP-D and NAPSA inversely correlated with emphysema (% low-attenuation areas): r= -0.55, r= -0.61, r= -0.48, r= -0.51, r= -0.41, r= -0.31 and r= -0.34, respectively (adjusted p<0.05). Neutrophil elastase, known to degrade SP-A and SP-D, was elevated in COPD versus controls (log2FC 0.40, adjusted p=0.0390), and inversely correlated with SP-A and SP-D. Serum SP-D was increased in COPD versus healthy ex-smoking volunteers, and predicted COPD status (area under the curve 0.85). CONCLUSIONS: Using a multiomics approach, we demonstrate, for the first time, global surfactant dysregulation in COPD that was associated with emphysema, giving new insights into potential mechanisms underlying the cause or consequence of disease.



MICA II Study group

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ERJ Open Res

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European Respiratory Society (ERS)