Blood MCP-1 levels are increased in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients with prevalent emphysema

Antonino Di Stefano, Teresa Coccini, Elisa Roda, Cinzia Signorini, Bruno Balbi, Giuseppe Brunetti, Piero Ceriana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous disease characterized by different phenotypes with either bronchial airways alterations or emphysema prevailing. As blood biomarkers could be clinically useful for COPD stratification, we aimed at investigating the levels of blood biomarkers in COPD patients differentiated by phenotype: prevalent chronic airway disease versus emphysema.

Methods: In 23 COPD patients with prevalent airway disease (COPD-B), 22 COPD patients with prevalent emphysema (COPD-E), 9 control smokers (CSs), and 18 control nonsmokers (CNSs), we analyzed the expression levels of interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interferon (IFN)-γ, epidermal growth factor (EGF), monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, and vascular endothelial growth factor by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in plasma/serum; glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD)-1 by immunochemical kits in plasma; and free F2-isoprostanes (F2-IsoPs) by gas chromatography in plasma.

Results: F2-IsoPs level was increased in COPD-B and COPD-E compared with CSs and CNSs; in addition, CS showed higher levels than CNSs; SOD1 level was lower in COPD-B and COPD-E than that in CNSs. Interestingly, MCP-1 level was higher only in COPD-E versus CSs and CNSs; EGF and IL-8 levels were higher in COPD-B and COPD-E versus CNSs; IL-6 level was increased in all three smoking groups (COPD-B, COPD-E, and CSs) versus CNS; IFN-γ and IL-1α levels were higher in CSs than in CNSs; and IL-1α level was also higher in CSs versus COPD-B and COPD-E. In all subjects, F2-IsoPs level correlated positively and significantly with MCP-1, IL-2, IL-1β, IFN-γ, and TNF-α and negatively with SOD1. When correlations were restricted to COPD-E and COPD-B groups, F2-IsoPs maintained the positive associations with IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-2.

Conclusion: We did not find any specific blood biomarkers that could differentiate COPD patients with prevalent airway disease from those with prevalent emphysema. The MCP-1 increase in COPD-E, associated with the imbalance of oxidant/antioxidant markers, may play a role in inducing emphysema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1700
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Aged
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chemokine CCL2/blood
  • Epidermal Growth Factor/blood
  • F2-Isoprostanes/blood
  • Female
  • Glutathione Peroxidase/blood
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma/blood
  • Interleukins/blood
  • Male
  • Non-Smokers
  • Phenotype
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/blood
  • Pulmonary Emphysema/blood
  • Smokers
  • Smoking/blood
  • Superoxide Dismutase/blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/blood
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/blood


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