Activation of the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-4 is critical for the differentiation of T-helper 1 cells/type-1 cytotoxic T-cells and the production of interferon (IFN)-γ. Expression of STAT4, phospho-STAT4, IFN-γ and T-box expressed in T-cells (T-bet) proteins in bronchial biopsies and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)-derived lymphocytes, obtained from 12 smokers with mild/moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) 59±16% predicted), 14 smokers with normal lung function (FEV1 106±12% pred) and 12 nonsmoking subjects (FEV1 111±14% pred), was examined by immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry. In bronchial biopsies of COPD patients, the number of submucosal phospho-STAT4+ cells was increased (240 (22-406) versus 125 (0-492) versus 29 (0-511) cells·mm-2) when compared with both healthy smokers and control nonsmokers, respectively. In smokers, phospho-STAT4+ cells correlated with the degree of airflow obstruction and the number of IFN-γ+ cells. Similar results were seen in BAL (2.8 (0.2-5.9) versus 1.03 (0.09-1.6) versus 0.69 (0-2.3) lymphocytes·mL-1×103). In all smokers who underwent lavage, phospho-STAT4+ lymphocytes correlated with airflow obstruction and the number of IFNγ+ lymphocytes. T-bet expression was not altered in bronchial biopsies and BAL-derived lymphocytes between the three groups. In conclusion, this study suggests that stable mild/moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with an active T-helper 1 cell/type-1 cytotoxic T-cell inflammatory process involving activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 and interferon-gamma production.
- Airway inflammation
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Signal transducer and activator of transcription 4
- T-helper 1 cells/type-1 cytotoxic T-cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine