Long-term variability of desmosine/isodesmosine as biomarker in alpha-1-antritrypsin deficiencyrelated COPD

Laura Fregonese, Fabio Ferrari, Marco Fumagalli, Maurizio Luisetti, Jan Stolk, Paolo Iadarola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Desmosine and isodesmosine are products of elastin breakdown which are candidate biomarkers to measure lung destruction in COPD. Data exist on the burden of desmosines in urine and plasma in COPD but long-term changes have never been investigated. We determined the changes of desmosine levels over 14 months in urine and plasma of patients with type ZZ alpha-1-antitryspsin deficiency-related COPD. Urines and plasma for determination of desmosines were collected from 11 ex-smokers with moderate/severe emphysema at monthly intervals for 14 months. Spirometry and gas transfer were assessed at baseline and 6-month intervals. At baseline and month 14, eleven healthy partners of patients volunteered to give a blood sample for detection of desmosines. Desmosines were determined by capillary electrophoresis combined with laser-induced fluorescence. Urine and plasma desmosines were significantly increased after 14 months in patients (p = 0.027 and p = 0.0005, respectively). Plasma desmosines of healthy partners at baseline were 4-fold lower than from patients and not significantly different from values at month 14. Only a significant decline in lung gas transfer occurred in patients (p = 0.015). The variability of desmosines was higher in urine than in plasma (coefficient of variation 0.17 and 0.087, respectively). As longitudinal desmosine changes likely reflect the elevated elastic fiber turnover associated with the progression of lung damage and destruction in COPD, they appear to be a suitable marker for application in long-term studies. Plasma desmosines were more stable long-term biomarkers than desmosines in urine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-333
Number of pages5
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Biomarker
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Desmosine
  • Elastin
  • Emphysema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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