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Systemic and pulmonary inflammation is independent of skeletal muscle changes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Authors Barker BL, McKenna S, Mistry V, Pancholi M, Patel H, Haldar K, Barer MR, Pavord ID, Steiner MC, Brightling CE, Bafadhel M

Received 5 March 2014

Accepted for publication 18 April 2014

Published 15 September 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 975—981

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S63568

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Bethan L Barker,1 Susan McKenna,1 Vijay Mistry,1 Mitesh Pancholi,1 Hemu Patel,2 Koirobi Haldar,3 Michael R Barer,3 Ian D Pavord,4 Michael C Steiner,1 Christopher E Brightling,1 Mona Bafadhel4

1Institute for Lung Health, NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom; 2Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, United Kingdom; 3Department of Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom; 4Respiratory Medicine Unit, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Oxford, United Kingdom

Background: Nutritional depletion is an important manifestation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which has been related to systemic inflammation. It remains unclear to what degree airway inflammation contributes to the presence or progression of nutritional depletion.
Objectives: To determine whether airway inflammation and lung bacterial colonization are related to nutritional status or predict progressive weight loss and muscle atrophy in patients with COPD.
Methods: Body composition using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, indices of airway inflammation, and bacterial colonization were measured in 234 COPD patients. Systemic inflammation was assessed from serum C reactive protein (CRP) and circulating total and differential leukocyte counts. Nutritional depletion was defined as a body mass index (BMI) less than 21 kg/m2 and/or fat-free mass index (FFMI) less than 15 or 17 kg/m2 in women and men, respectively. FFMI was calculated as the fat-free mass (FFM) corrected for body surface area. Measurements were repeated in 94 patients after a median 16-month follow-up. Regression analysis was used to assess the relationships of weight change and FFM change with indices of bacterial colonization and airway and systemic inflammation.
Results: Nutritional depletion occurred in 37% of patients. Lung function was worsened in patients with nutritional depletion compared to those without (forced expiratory volume in 1 second 1.17 L versus 1.41 L, mean difference 0.24, 95% confidence interval 0.10 to 0.38, P<0.01). There were no differences in airway inflammation and bacterial colonization in patients with and without nutritional depletion. At baseline, BMI correlated positively with serum CRP (rs=0.14, P=0.04). Change in weight and change in FFM over time could not be predicted from baseline patient characteristics.
Conclusion: Nutritional depletion and progressive muscle atrophy are not related to airway inflammation or bacterial colonization. Overspill of pulmonary inflammation is not a key driver of muscle atrophy in COPD.

Keywords: muscle atrophy, fat-free mass, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), airway inflammation, bacteria

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