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Plasma Inflammatory Cytokine IL-4, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α Levels Correlate with Pulmonary Function in Patients with Asthma-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Overlap Syndrome

Ai-Xia Huang, Li-Wen Lu, Wen-Juan Liu, Mao Huang

Department of Respiratory Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:2800-2808

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.896458

Available online:

Published: 2016-08-09

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate the plasma inflammatory cytokine levels and their correlations with pulmonary function in patients with asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome (ACOS).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between January 2013 and December 2014, a total of 96 patients with asthma, acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD), or ACOS were enrolled, and 35 healthy people were included as a control group. Fasting plasma interleukin (IL)-4, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) levels were detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Correlations between the plasma inflammatory cytokine levels and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/predicted value ratio (FEV1%pred), and FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC) were analyzed.
RESULTS: IL-4 and IL-8 levels showed statistically significant differences among the 3 groups of patients (both P<0.001); IL-4 level was significantly lower, while IL-8 level was significantly higher in the AECOPD group and ACOS group than those in the asthma group (all P<0.05). IL-10 level and TNF-α level were significantly different among the 3 patient groups (both P<0.001). IL-10 level was significantly different between each of the 2 groups (all P<0.001). TNF-α level in the asthma group was higher than in the AECOPD group and ACOS group (both P<0.001). IL-4 and IL-10 were positively and IL-8 and TNF-α were negatively related with FEV1, FEV1%pred, and FEV1/FVC.
CONCLUSIONS: Plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-4, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α are related with severity of airway diseases and could be potential markers for the evaluation of asthma, COPD, and ACOS.

Keywords: Asthma - physiopathology, Adult, Case-Control Studies, China, Cytokines - blood, Forced Expiratory Volume, Interleukins - blood, Lung - physiopathology, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive - physiopathology, Respiratory Function Tests, Syndrome, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha - blood