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Club Cells, Their Secretory Protein, and COPDClub Cells in COPD

Peter J. Barnes, DM, DSc, Master FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Airway Disease Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Peter J. Barnes, DM, DSc, Master FCCP, Airway Disease Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Dovehouse St, London, SW3 6LY, England; e-mail: p.j.barnes@imperial.ac.uk


FINANCIAL/NONFINANCIAL DISCLOSURES: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

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


Chest. 2015;147(6):1447-1448. doi:10.1378/chest.14-3171
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Club cells are nonciliated epithelial cells found mainly in bronchioles as well as basal cells found in large airways. They have been ascribed several protective roles, including airway repair after injury, secretion of antiinflammatory and immunomodulatory proteins, and detoxification.1 The study by Gamez et al2 in this issue of CHEST (see page 1467) reports a reduction in the number of club cells in bronchial biopsy specimens from patients with COPD compared with matched normal smokers, suggesting that these cells may normally have a protective role against the development of airway obstruction. Ablation of club cells in transgenic mice results in squamous metaplasia of the airways with impaired epithelial cell regeneration and peribronchiolar fibrosis reminiscent of the changes seen in COPD airways.3

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