Effect of 1-year smoking cessation on airway inflammation in COPD and asymptomatic smokers

BWM Willemse, NHT ten Hacken, B Rutgers, IGAT Lesman-Leegte, DS Postma, W Timens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

270 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Smoking cessation is the only treatment in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) effective in slowing down disease progression. Its effect on airway inflammation in COPD is unknown, although cross-sectional studies suggest ongoing inflammation in ex-smokers.

In order to elucidate the effect of smoking cessation on airway inflammation, 28 smokers with COPD (mean age: 55 yrs; forced expiratory volume in one second: 71% predicted) and 25 asymptomatic smokers with normal lung function (aged 50 yrs) were included in a 1-yr smoking cessation programme. Effects of smoking cessation on airway inflammation were investigated in bronchial biopsies (baseline, 12 months) and sputum samples (baseline, 2, 6 and 12 months).

In the 12 candidates with COPD who successfully ceased smoking, airway inflammation persisted in bronchial biopsies, while the number of sputum neutrophils, lymphocytes, interleukin (IL)-8 and eosinophilic-cationic-protein levels significantly increased at 12 months. In the 16 asymptomatic smokers who successfully quitted, inflammation significantly reduced (i.e. number of sputum macrophages, percentage of eosinophils and IL-8 levels) or did not change.

The current authors suggest that the observed persistent airway inflammation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is related to repair of tissue damage in the airways. It remains to be elucidated whether this reflects a beneficial or detrimental effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-845
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Volume26
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2005

Keywords

  • airway inflammation
  • asymptomatic smokers
  • bronchial biopsies
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • induced sputum
  • smoking cessation
  • OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY-DISEASE
  • BRONCHOALVEOLAR LAVAGE FLUID
  • LUNG-FUNCTION
  • CHRONIC-BRONCHITIS
  • BACTERIAL-COLONIZATION
  • RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS
  • INDUCED SPUTUM
  • T-CELLS
  • INTERLEUKIN-8
  • HYPERRESPONSIVENESS

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