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Clinical Investigations: BRONCHITIS |

Long-term Repeatability of Induced Sputum Cells and Inflammatory Markers in Stable, Moderately Severe COPD*

Kai M. Beeh, MD; Jutta Beier, MD; Oliver Kornmann, MD; Annette Mander; Roland Buhl, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Pulmonary Department, Internal Medicine, University Hospital, Mainz, Germany.

Correspondence to: Kai M. Beeh, MD, Pulmonary Department, Internal Medicine, University Hospital, Langenbeckstr. 1, D-55131 Mainz, Germany; e-mail: k.beeh@3-med.klinik.uni-mainz.de



Chest. 2003;123(3):778-783. doi:10.1378/chest.123.3.778
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Study objectives: Neutrophilic inflammation is a major feature of COPD. Induced sputum is increasingly used to monitor inflammatory airway diseases. Although short-term repeatability of selected sputum markers has been extensively studied in several populations, data on the long-term repeatability of induced sputum markers in stable COPD are scant.

Design: Sputum supernatant of 12 patients with stable COPD was analyzed on three separate occasions with 4-weekly intervals. Sputum cells and inflammatory markers interleukin (IL)-8 and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM)-1 were measured in supernatant using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Repeatability of sputum markers was expressed by intraclass correlation coefficients (Ri).

Measurements and results: Sputum induction was safe in all patients. None of the sputum parameters analyzed changed significantly throughout the study. The repeatability for cell differential counts in stable COPD was as follows: total cells, Ri = 0.07; neutrophils, Ri = 0.66; macrophages, Ri = 0.47; eosinophils, Ri = 0.49; and lymphocytes, Ri = 0.58. The repeatability of soluble markers was as follows: IL-8, Ri = 0.50; and sICAM, Ri = 0.58. Sputum neutrophils were negatively correlated with lung function on each separate occasion, whereas soluble markers were not correlated with sputum cells (p > 0.16, all correlations) or lung function (p > 0.24, all correlations).

Conclusions: Clinically stable, moderate COPD is associated with equally stable sputum inflammatory markers. Repeatability of induced-sputum markers of neutrophilic inflammation in stable COPD is satisfactory, even over extended periods of time. These data support the usefulness of serial monitoring of induced-sputum inflammatory markers in COPD.

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