Back to Journals » International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease » Volume 14

Overexpression of chitotriosidase and YKL-40 in peripheral blood and sputum of healthy smokers and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Authors Majewski S, Tworek D, Szewczyk K, Kiszałkiewicz J, Kurmanowska Z, Brzeziańska-Lasota E, Jerczyńska H, Antczak A, Piotrowski WJ, Górski P

Received 30 March 2019

Accepted for publication 5 June 2019

Published 22 July 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 1611—1631


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Sebastian Majewski,1 Damian Tworek,2 Karolina Szewczyk,1 Justyna Kiszałkiewicz,3 Zofia Kurmanowska,1 Ewa Brzeziańska-Lasota,3 Hanna Jerczyńska,4 Adam Antczak,2 Wojciech Jerzy Piotrowski,1 Paweł Górski1

1Department of Pneumology and Allergy, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland; 2Department of General and Oncological Pulmonology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland; 3Department of Molecular Bases of Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland; 4Central Scientific Laboratory (CoreLab), Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland

Background: Despite the absence of endogenous chitin in humans, chitinases are present in the serum of healthy subjects and their levels are increased in a variety of chronic inflammatory conditions. It has been shown that chitotriosidase and structurally related chitinase-like protein-YKL-40 contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD. However, details regarding the relation of their systemic and local airways levels remain unknown.
Objectives: To examine peripheral blood and sputum chitotriosidase and YKL-40 expression in smokers and patients with COPD.
Methods: Forty patients with COPD, 20 healthy smokers and 10 healthy never-smokers were studied. Serum and induced sputum chitotriosidase protein and activity levels, YKL-40 concentrations, and their gene expression in sputum cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were evaluated.
Results: Both chitotriosidase protein levels and activity were higher in sputum obtained from COPD subjects compared to healthy never-smokers (P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively). A similar pattern was observed for PBMC chitotriosidase mRNA expression (P<0.001). YKL-40 serum concentrations were elevated in healthy smokers and COPD subjects compared to healthy never-smokers (P<0.001 and P<0.01, respectively). In sputum, YKL-40 levels were increased in COPD compared to healthy never-smokers (P<0.01). PBMC YKL-40 mRNA expression was increased in COPD and healthy smokers compared to healthy never-smokers (P<0.0001). No associations were found between chitotriosidase or YKL-40 peripheral blood levels and sputum levels.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that chitotriosidase and YKL-40 are overexpressed in peripheral blood and airways in both healthy smokers and COPD subjects which may indicate smoking-related activation of macrophages, neutrophils, and epithelial cells.

Keywords: chitotriosidase, CHIT1, YKL-40, chitinase, chitin-like protein, COPD

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]