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Activity of sputum p38 MAPK is correlated with airway inflammation and reduced FEV1 in COPD patients

Cuiping Huang, Moying Xie, Xinhua He, Hui Gao

Department of Internal Medicine, College of Clinical Medicine, Hubei University of Science and Technology, Xianing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:1229-1235

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889880

Available online:

Published: 2013-12-31

Background: Inflammation and remodeling of the small airways are major determinants of the progression and severity of COPD. The present study explored the correlation between sputum p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity and airway inflammation and reduction of lung function in the patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Material and Methods: Sputum samples were collected from 48 COPD patients and 12 healthy persons. Sputum p38 MAPK activity was measured by Western blotting and sputum levels of CXCL8 and neutrophil, and lung function was measured. The correlation between p38MAPK activity and airway inflammation and reduction of lung function was analyzed.
Results: Our results showed the significantly increased expression of phospho-p38 MAPK and CXCL8 in the sputum samples of the COPD patients. The p38 MAPK activity was remarkably correlated with the CXCL8 level and neutrophils infiltration in the airway, and the decline of lung function in the COPD patients.
Conclusions: These findings suggest the pivotal role of p38 MAPK in the airway inflammation of COPD patients. We propose p38 MAPK as a potential target for the treatment of COPD.

Keywords: Forced Expiratory Volume - physiology, Blotting, Western, Inflammation - metabolism, Interleukin-8 - metabolism, Neutrophils - metabolism, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive - physiopathology, Respiratory Function Tests, Sputum - enzymology, p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases - metabolism