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Elevated plasma levels of pigment epithelium-derived factor correlated with inflammation and lung function in COPD patients

Authors Li X, Wang T, Yang T, Shen Y, An J, Liu L, Dong J, Guo L, Li D, Zhang X, Chen L, Xu D, Wen F

Received 2 December 2014

Accepted for publication 10 February 2015

Published 17 March 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 587—594


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Xiaoou Li,1–3 Tao Wang,1,2 Ting Yang,1,2 Yongchun Shen,1,2 Jing An,1,2 Lian Liu,1,2 Jiajia Dong,1,2 Lingli Guo,1,2 Diandian Li,1,2 Xue Zhang,1,2 Lei Chen,1,2 Dan Xu,1,2 Fuqiang Wen1,2

1Division of Pulmonary Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy of China, West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Respiratory Medicine, West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Rationale: Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) is a 50 kD small secreting glycoprotein that participates in multiple physiological and pathological processes. Recent studies have reported that PEDF plays an important role in inflammatory responses in several diseases. However, the role of PEDF in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains unclear.
Objective: The aim of the present study is to explore the potential relationship between PEDF and COPD.
Methods: We used differential proteomics – stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture – to investigate protein expression profile changes in cigarette smoke extract-treated pulmonary cells and found that the neurotrophic and antiangiogenic protein PEDF was abnormally expressed. Furthermore, Western blotting was used to detect the expression of PEDF in the lung tissue of rats that were exposed to cigarette smoke. Eighty subjects between the ages of 40–90 years, including 20 healthy nonsmokers, ten smoking volunteers, and 50 COPD patients, were recruited from September 2012 until August 2013 in Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China. We measured the plasma PEDF concentration and classic proinflammatory cytokines by multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In addition, we performed a spirometry examination to diagnose COPD patients and we also analyzed the correlation between PEDF and lung function.
Results: First, we found that the expression of PEDF in cigarette smoke extract-treated cells increased 16.2-fold when compared with the control group. Next, we confirmed that 4 weeks’ exposure to cigarette smoke can upregulate PEDF levels in rat lung tissues. We also discovered that plasma PEDF in COPD patients was significantly increased when compared with either healthy nonsmoking or smoking subjects. Furthermore, circulating PEDF was correlated with inflammatory cytokine and blood neutrophil numbers, but it was reversely associated with a decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second percent predicted.
Conclusion: Our findings provide a novel link between PEDF and COPD. Elevated PEDF levels may be involved in promoting the development of COPD by performing proinflammatory functions.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pigment epithelium-derived factor, cigarette smoke, inflammation

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