Nitrosative stress in the bronchial mucosa of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Fabio L M Ricciardolo, Gaetano Caramori, Kazuhiro Ito, Armando Capelli, Paola Brun, Giovanni Abatangelo, Alberto Papi, Kian Fan Chung, Ian Adcock, Peter J. Barnes, Claudio F. Donner, Andrea Rossi, Antonino Di Stefano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Reactive nitrogen species, formed via the reaction of nitric oxide (NO) with superoxide anion and via (myelo)peroxidase-dependent oxidation of NO2-, have potent proinflammatory and oxidizing actions. Reactive nitrogen species formation and nitrosative stress are potentially involved in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis. Objectives: 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). Methods: 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. Results: 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 FEV1. Conclusion: These data suggest that nitrosative stress, mainly mediated by MPO and neutrophilic inflammation, may contribute to the pathogenesis of severe COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1035
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Bronchial biopsies
  • COPD
  • Pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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