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Chest. 2007 Jan;131(1):37-43.

Systemic cytokines, clinical and physiological changes in patients hospitalized for exacerbation of COPD.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, St Elizabeth's Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.



Systemic inflammation in patients with COPD may worsen during exacerbations, but there is limited information relating levels of systemic inflammatory markers with symptoms and physiologic changes during an exacerbation


We measured dyspnea using the visual analog scale, pulmonary function tests, hemograms, and plasma levels for interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, leukotriene B(4) (LTB4), tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) in 20 patients on admission to a hospital for exacerbation of COPD (ECOPD), 48 h later (interim), and 8 weeks after hospital discharge (recovery).


Dyspnea was present in all patients. Inspiratory capacity improved faster than FEV(1). Compared to recovery, there was a significant increase in the mean (+/- SD) hospital admission plasma levels of IL-6 (6.38 +/- 0.72 to 2.80 +/- 0.79 pg/mL; p = 0.0001), IL-8 (8.18 +/- 0.85 to 3.72 +/- 0.85 pg/mL; p = 0.002), and LTB4 (8,675 +/- 1,652 to 2,534 +/- 1,813 pg/mL; p = 0.003), and the percentages of segmented neutrophils (79 to 69%; p < 0.02) and band forms (7.3 to 1.0%; p < 0.01) in peripheral blood, with no changes in TNF-alpha and SLPI. There were significant correlations between changes in IL-6 (r = 0.61; p = 0.01) and IL-8 (r = 0.56; p = 0.04) with changes in dyspnea and levels of IL-6 (r = -0.51; p = 0.04) and TNF-alpha (r = -0.71; p < 0.02) with changes in FEV(1.)


Hospitalized patients with ECOPDs experience significant changes in systemic cytokine levels that correlate with symptoms and lung function. An ECOPD represents not only a worsening of airflow obstruction but also increased systemic demand in a host with limited ventilatory reserve.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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