B cell–adaptive immune profile in emphysema-predominant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Cigarette smoke
Pulmonary inflammation
Smoking cessation
Issue Date: 
American Thoracic Society
This article is open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Sullivan, J.L. (John Lawrence); Bagevalu, B. (Bhavani); Glass, C. (Carolyn); et al. "B cell–adaptive immune profile in emphysema-predominant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 200 (11), 2019, 31348682
Cigarette smoke, the major risk factor for COPD in developed countries, causes pulmonary inflammation that persists long after smoking cessation, suggesting self-perpetuating adaptive immune responses similar to those that occur in autoimmune diseases. Increases in the number and size of B cell–rich lymphoid follicles (LFs) have been shown in patients in severe stages of COPD (4), and increased B-cell products (autoantibodies) have been observed in the blood and lungs of patients with COPD (5, 6). Oligoclonal rearrangement of the immunoglobulin genes has been observed in B cells isolated from COPD LFs, suggesting that a specific antigenic stimulation drives B-cell proliferation. Consistently, we have shown that in the COPD lung, there is an overexpression of BAFF (B-cell activation factor of the TNF family), which is a key regulator of B-cell homeostasis in several autoimmune diseases (7) and is involved in the growth of LFs in COPD. However, a network analysis of lung transcriptomics showed that a prominent B-cell molecular signature characterized emphysema preferentially but was absent in AD independently of the degree of airflow limitation (8). In the current study, we investigated the correlation between B-cell responses in lung tissue from patients with COPD and healthy smokers, and the extent of emphysema versus airflow limitation.

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