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Eur Respir J. 2018 Oct 4;52(4). pii: 1701994. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01994-2017. Print 2018 Oct.

The DNA repair transcriptome in severe COPD.

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Dept of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Centre de Recherche Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada.
Dept of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Dept of Pathology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Dept of Pathology and Medical Biology, University Medical Center Groningen, GRIAC Research Institute, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
The University of British Columbia Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Dept of Molecular Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada.


Inadequate DNA repair is implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the mechanisms that underlie inadequate DNA repair in COPD are poorly understood. We applied an integrative genomic approach to identify DNA repair genes and pathways associated with COPD severity.We measured the transcriptomic changes of 419 genes involved in DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance that occur with severe COPD in three independent cohorts (n=1129). Differentially expressed genes were confirmed with RNA sequencing and used for patient clustering. Clinical and genome-wide transcriptomic differences were assessed following cluster identification. We complemented this analysis by performing gene set enrichment analysis, Z-score and weighted gene correlation network analysis to identify transcriptomic patterns of DNA repair pathways associated with clinical measurements of COPD severity.We found 15 genes involved in DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance to be differentially expressed in severe COPD. K-means clustering of COPD cases based on this 15-gene signature identified three patient clusters with significant differences in clinical characteristics and global transcriptomic profiles. Increasing COPD severity was associated with downregulation of the nucleotide excision repair pathway.Systematic analysis of the lung tissue transcriptome of individuals with severe COPD identified DNA repair responses associated with disease severity that may underlie COPD pathogenesis.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest: W. Timens reports unrestricted institutional grants from Merck, during the conduct of the study; fees paid to institution for consultancy from Pfizer, fees paid to the institution for lecturing from GSK, Chiesi, Lilly Oncology and Boehringer Ingelheim, fees paid to the institution for consultancy and lecturing, and travel costs, from Roche Diagnostics/Ventana, grants from Dutch Asthma Fund, fees for travel paid to the institution from Biotest, and fees paid to the institution for consultancy and lecturing from Merck Sharp Dohme, AstraZeneca and Novartis, outside the submitted work. Conflict of interest: N. Kaminski reports grants and personal fees for consultancy from Biogen Idec, personal fees for consultancy from Boehringer Ingelheim, Third Rock and MMI, non-financial support from Actelion and Miragen, personal fees for advisory board work from Pliant, unpaid consultancy work for Samumed, and personal fees from Numedii, outside the submitted work; in addition, N. Kaminski has a patent New Therapies in Pulmonary Fibrosis licensed, and a patent Peripheral Blood Gene Expression issued, and is a Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee, the Research Advisory Forum and the Board of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, and also serves as Deputy Editor of Thorax. None of the above relate to COPD.

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