Cell division abnormality contributes to inflammation in COPD

May 15, 2011

Changes in the ability of lung cells to divide may play a role in initiating or prolonging lung tissue inflammation, a hallmark of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study conducted by researchers in France.

The results will be presented at the ATS 2011 International Conference in Denver.

"We found that lung of patients with COPD had an impaired ability to divide, or had lost their ability to divide," said lead author Valerie Amsellem, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Creteil, France. "This phenomenon, called senescence, affects several types of cells that build the lung. In addition, we found that these cells change their behavior by producing different molecules that could contribute to inflammation."

COPD is associated with smoking and occurs much more commonly in individuals as they grow older. Dr. Amsellem wanted to determine if the aging process of cells contributes to the sustained associated with COPD.

During its normal life cycle, a cell will divide many times; however, its ability to divide decreases as it ages. This cellular aging process, or senescence, can vary by cell, and can also be affected by disease processes. In this study, the researchers looked specifically at endothelial cells, which border the tiny blood vessels in the lungs and create a barrier between blood and tissue.

Endothelial cells were collected from 15 patients with COPD and 15 age- and sex-matched , who were smokers but did not have COPD. Laboratory analysis of the cells revealed a higher percentage of senescent endothelial cells in patients with COPD when compared to controls. In addition, endothelial cells from COPD patients displayed accelerated senescence, meaning they lost their ability to divide compared to endothelial cells from control subjects. from COPD patients also produced greater numbers of molecules, which are associated with increased and persistent inflammation, than their control counterparts.

"We found that endothelial cells from the lungs of COPD patients displayed more characteristics of senescence than cells from patients not affected with COPD, and we also showed that it is the senescence of these cells that creates an inflammatory context that could contribute to lung inflammation which is seen in COPD," Dr. Amsellem said.

Although an increase in senescent characteristics was expected, Dr. Amsellem said the finding that the senescent process appeared to contribute to unresolved inflammation was not.

"We expected to find senescence characteristics in the cells of COPD patients," Dr. Amsellem said. "However, the fact that senescent endothelial cells released factors promoting sustained inflammation was a novel finding.

"The fact that it is the accelerated aging phenomenon of cells that contributes to inflammation will open a new therapeutic strategy to cure chronic inflammation in COPD disease," she added.

Future research will focus on strategies to limit senescence of cells associated with inflammation, and to understand how senescence of affects other cells involved in conditions, which may occur in patients with COPD, such as cardiovascular disease.

Explore further: Compound in broccoli sprouts cleans out diseased lungs: Experimental treatment for COPD in development

Related Stories

Compound in broccoli sprouts cleans out diseased lungs: Experimental treatment for COPD in development

April 13, 2011
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have developed a non-steroid based strategy for improving the lung's innate immune defense and decreasing inflammation that can be a problem for patients ...

Recommended for you

Four simple tests could help GPs spot pneumonia and reduce unnecessary antibiotics

November 23, 2017
Testing for fever, high pulse rate, crackly breath sounds, and low oxygen levels could be key to helping GPs distinguish pneumonia from less serious infections, according to a large study published in the European Respiratory ...

New approach to tracking how deadly 'superbugs' travel could slow their spread

November 22, 2017
Killer bacteria - ones that have out-evolved our best antibiotics—may not go away anytime soon. But a new approach to tracking their spread could eventually give us a fighting chance to keep their death toll down.

Research points to diagnostic test for top cause of liver transplant in kids

November 22, 2017
Biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver transplants for children in the United States. Now researchers report in Science Translational Medicine finding a strong biomarker candidate that could be used for earlier ...

Metabolites altered in chronic kidney disease

November 22, 2017
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1 in 7 people in the United States, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). These individuals have a very high risk of cardiovascular ...

Alcohol consumption and metabolic factors act together to increase the risk of severe liver disease

November 22, 2017
A new study provides insights into the interaction between alcohol consumption and metabolic factors in predicting severe liver disease in the general population. The findings, which are published in Hepatology, indicate ...

Rainfall can indicate that mosquito-borne epidemics will occur weeks later

November 22, 2017
A new study demonstrates that outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses Zika and Chikungunya generally occur about three weeks after heavy rainfall.Researchers also found that Chikungunya will predominate over Zika when both circulate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.