Reactive nitrogen species, formed via the reaction of nitric oxide (NO) with superoxide anion and via (myelo)peroxidase-dependent oxidation of NO(2)(-), have potent proinflammatory and oxidizing actions. Reactive nitrogen species formation and nitrosative stress are potentially involved in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis.
To investigate the expression of markers of nitrosative stress, including nitrotyrosine (NT), inducible NO synthase (iNOS), endothelial NO synthase (eNOS), myeloperoxidase (MPO), and xanthine oxidase (XO) in bronchial biopsies and bronchoalveolar lavage from patients with mild to severe stable COPD compared with control groups (smokers with normal lung function and nonsmokers).
The expression of NT, iNOS, eNOS, MPO and XO in the bronchial mucosa and bronchoalveolar lavage of patients was measured by using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and ELISA and correlated with the inflammatory cell profile.
Patients with severe COPD in stable phase had higher numbers of NT(+) and MPO(+) cells in their bronchial submucosa compared with mild/moderate COPD, smokers with normal lung function, and nonsmokers (P < .01). iNOS(+) and eNOS(+) but not XO(+) cells were significantly increased in smokers with COPD or normal lung function compared with nonsmokers (P < .05 and P < .01, respectively). In patients with COPD, the number of MPO(+) cells was significantly correlated with the number of neutrophils (r = +0.61; P < .0025) in the bronchial submucosa. Furthermore, the number of NT(+) and MPO(+) cells was negatively correlated with postbronchodilator FEV(1).
These data suggest that nitrosative stress, mainly mediated by MPO and neutrophilic inflammation, may contribute to the pathogenesis of severe COPD.