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Immunological findings in blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in chronic bronchitis patients with recurrent infectious exacerbations



Immunological findings in blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in chronic bronchitis patients with recurrent infectious exacerbations



European Respiratory Journal. 11(1): 46-54,.



Bronchial infections are common in smokers and seem to be related to the presence of chronic bronchitis (CB). Why only some smokers develop repeated bronchial infections is not known. The aim of this study was to screen for immunological changes associated with disease in patients with CB and recurrent infectious exacerbations compared to asymptomatic smokers. Sixteen smokers with stable CB and recurrent infectious exacerbations, and 18 asymptomatic smokers, all without any immunomodulating treatment, underwent bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Smoking history and current smoking status were comparable. Serum levels of immunoglobulin (Ig)A, IgM, IgG and IgG subclasses were measured. Blood and BAL lymphocyte phenotypes and proliferative responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to various stimulators were analysed. Unstimulated and tetanus toxoid-stimulated production of cytokines in PBMC cultures was measured. Natural killer (NK-) cell activity was analysed. A significantly (p<0.05) lower level of IgG3 was found in the CB group, and a significantly (p<0.01) higher proliferative response of PBMCs was found in the CB group after stimulation with diphtheria toxoid. Detectable levels of interleukin (IL)-6, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon-gamma, but not of IL-2, IL-4 or transforming growth factor-beta2, were found in supernatants from cultured cells in both study groups. Stimulated TNF-alpha production was significantly (p<0.05) higher in the CB group. NK-cell activity did not differ significantly between the study groups. There were no major differences between the groups in lymphocyte subpopulations in blood or BAL. In conclusion, no major alterations in the analysed indices of cell-mediated and humoral immunity were found in patients with chronic bronchitis prone to recurrent infectious exacerbations when compared with asymptomatic smoking controls.

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Accession: 008823207

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PMID: 9543269

DOI: 10.1183/09031936.98.11010046


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