Intra-alveolar neutrophil-derived microvesicles are associated with disease severity in COPD

Sanooj Soni, Justin L. Garner, Kieran P. O'Dea, Marissa Koh, Lydia Finney, Nikhil Tirlapur, Karthi Srikanthan, Eric D. Tenda, Arafa M. Aboelhassan, Suveer Singh, Michael R. Wilson, Jadwiga A. Wedzicha, Samuel V. Kemp, Omar S. Usmani, Pallav L. Shah, Masao Takata

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Despite advances in the pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there is a distinct lack of biochemical markers to aid clinical management. Microvesicles (MVs) have been implicated in the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases including COPD, but their association to COPD disease severity remains unknown. We analyzed different MV populations in plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) taken from 62 patients with mild to very severe COPD (51% male; mean age: 65.9 yr). These patients underwent comprehensive clinical evaluation (symptom scores, lung function, and exercise testing), and the capacity of MVs to be clinical markers of disease severity was assessed. We successfully identified various MV subtype populations within BALF [leukocyte, polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN; i.e., neutrophil), monocyte, epithelial, and platelet MVs] and plasma (leukocyte, PMN, monocyte, and endothelial MVs) and compared each MV population to disease severity. BALF neutrophil MVs were the only population to significantly correlate with the clinical evaluation scores including forced expiratory volume in 1 s, modified Medical Research Council dyspnea score, 6-min walk test, hyperinflation, and gas transfer. BALF neutrophil MVs, but not neutrophil cell numbers, also strongly correlated with BODE index. We have undertaken, for the first time, a comprehensive evaluation of MV profiles within BALF/plasma of COPD patients. We demonstrate that BALF levels of neutrophil-derived MVs are unique in correlating with a number of key functional and clinically relevant disease severity indexes. Our results show the potential of BALF neutrophil MVs for a COPD biomarker that tightly links a key pathophysiological mechanism of COPD (intra-alveolar neutrophil activation) with clinical severity/outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L73-L83
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Biomarker
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Microvesicles
  • Neutrophil


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