Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Respir Med. 2003 Aug;97(8):863-71.

Induced sputum in the investigation of airway inflammation of COPD.

Author information

  • 1Department of Thoracic Medicine, Medical School, University of Crete, P. O. Box 1352, Heraklion, Crete 71110, Greece.


During the last decade, the method of sputum induction (SI) has offered the opportunity to study inflammation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This paper reviews methodological aspects of SI and summarizes its uses in the research of inflammation in COPD, including sputum cellularity and soluble markers. SI is a relatively safe, reliable, and reproducible technique, used to investigate different aspects of airway inflammation. Although various methods of induction and processing have been proved safe and highly reproducible, a generally accepted method is needed. Sputum analysis has given evidence for increased numbers of macrophages and neutrophils in COPD patients compared to normal subjects. In some studies, increased numbers of eosinophils have been also reported. Changes in various mediators have been found in sputum supernatant of COPD patients (IL-8, LTB-4 and TNF-a). The clinical usefulness of the method in the follow-up of the disease has not been explored extensively. A number of observations in patients with different clinical characteristics could be proven useful in identifying patterns of inflammation associated with different prognosis. Finally, SI could also guide treatment; such as, sputum eosinophilia in COPD could predict response to inhaled corticosteroids.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk