Decreased expression of TGF-β type II receptor in bronchial glands of smokers with COPD

Baraldo, S.; Bazzan, E.; Turato, G.; Calabrese, F.; Beghé, B.; Papi, A.; Maestrelli, P.; Fabbri, L. M.; Zuin, R.; Saetta, M.
December 2005
Thorax;Dec2005, Vol. 60 Issue 12, p998
Academic Journal
Background: The role of transforming growth factor-β1, (TGF-β1,) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is still controversial, but it has been proposed that it may protect from mucus hypersecretion since it is able to downregulate mucin production. A study was undertaken to investigate the expression of TGF-β1 and its type II receptor (TGF-β Rll) in the bronchial glands of smokers with COPD. Methods: The expression of TGF-β1, and TGF-β Rll were examined immunohistochemically in the bronchial glands of 24 smokers undergoing lung resection for solitary peripheral nodules: 12 with airflow limitation (smokers with COPD) and 12 with normal lung function. Results: The expression of TGF-β1, in bronchial glands was similar in the two groups of subjects while that of TGF-β Rll was lower in smokers with COPD than in smokers with normal lung function (p = 0.004). TGF- β Rll expression was inversely correlated with the values of Reid's index, a measure of gland size (p = 0.02, r = -0.50). Conclusions: In the bronchial glands of smokers with COPD there is decreased expression of TGF-β Rll which is associated with bronchial gland enlargement. These findings support the view that the absence of TGF-β signalling may induce structural changes in the bronchial glands which, in turn, may promote mucus hypersecretion.


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