Systemic CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell cytokine profiles correlate with GOLD stage in stable COPD.Eur Respir J. 2012 Aug; 40(2):330-7.ER
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with pulmonary and systemic inflammation. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes play a key role in COPD pathogenesis, but cytokine profiles in circulating T-lymphocytes have not been well characterised. Here we report the analysis of peripheral blood T-cells from 30 stable COPD patients and 10 healthy never-smokers for interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-4, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and the T-helper 17 cytokines IL-17A, IL-17F and IL-22 by intracellular flow cytometry. We found significantly increased proportions of IFN-γ+ and TNF-α+ CD8+ T-cells in COPD patients, when compared with healthy controls. This was most evident in patients with less severe disease. In contrast, expression profiles in circulating CD4+ T-cells were similar in COPD patients and healthy controls for all cytokines tested, except for IL-17F. COPD patients with more severely reduced diffusing capacity had lower proportions of IL-17A+ CD4+ T-cells. Proportions of IL-22+ cells in the CD4+ memory T-cell population were significantly increased in active smokers, when compared with past smokers. Collectively, this comprehensive cytokine analysis of circulating T-cells in COPD patients revealed a correlation for CD8+ T-cells between Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stage and IFN-γ or TNF-α expression, but not for CD4+ T-cells.