0
Commentary |

Unraveling the Pathophysiology of the Asthma-COPD Overlap SyndromeAsthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome: Unsuspected Mild Centrilobular Emphysema Is Responsible for Loss of Lung Elastic Recoil in Never Smokers With Asthma With Persistent Expiratory Airflow Limitation

Arthur F. Gelb, MD, FCCP; Alfred Yamamoto, MD; Eric K. Verbeken, MD; Jay A. Nadel, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Pulmonary Division, Department of Medicine (Dr Gelb) and the Department of Pathology (Dr Yamamoto), Lakewood Regional Medical Center, Lakewood, CA; the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Medical Center (Dr Gelb), Los Angeles, CA; the Department of Pathology (Dr Verbeken), Katholieke Univeritair Ziekenhuis Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium; and the Departments of Medicine (Dr Nadel), Physiology (Dr Nadel), and Radiology (Dr Nadel), University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, CA.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Arthur F. Gelb, MD FCCP, 3650 E South St, Suite 308, Lakewood, CA 90712; e-mail: afgelb@msn.com


FOR EDITORIAL COMMENT SEE PAGE 297

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2015;148(2):313-320. doi:10.1378/chest.14-2483
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Investigators believe most patients with asthma have reversible airflow obstruction with treatment, despite airway remodeling and hyperresponsiveness. There are smokers with chronic expiratory airflow obstruction despite treatment who have features of both asthma and COPD. Some investigators refer to this conundrum as the asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS). Furthermore, a subset of treated nonsmokers with moderate to severe asthma have persistent expiratory airflow limitation, despite partial reversibility. This residuum has been assumed to be due to large and especially small airway remodeling. Alternatively, we and others have described reversible loss of lung elastic recoil in acute and persistent loss in patients with moderate to severe chronic asthma who never smoked and its adverse effect on maximal expiratory airflow. The mechanism(s) responsible for loss of lung elastic recoil and persistent expiratory airflow limitation in nonsmokers with chronic asthma consistent with ACOS remain unknown in the absence of structure-function studies. Recently we reported a new pathophysiologic observation in 10 treated never smokers with asthma with persistent expiratory airflow obstruction, despite partial reversibility: All 10 patients with asthma had a significant decrease in lung elastic recoil, and unsuspected, microscopic mild centrilobular emphysema was noted in all three autopsies obtained although it was not easily identified on lung CT scan. These sentinel pathophysiologic observations need to be confirmed to further unravel the epiphenomenon of ACOS. The proinflammatory and proteolytic mechanism(s) leading to lung tissue breakdown need to be further investigated.

Figures in this Article

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Figures

Tables

References

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Find Similar Articles
CHEST Journal Articles
PubMed Articles
  • CHEST Journal
    Print ISSN: 0012-3692
    Online ISSN: 1931-3543