FRIDAY, Sept. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Airway mucin concentrations may be a marker for chronic bronchitis, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Mehmet Kesimer, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues measured total mucin concentration in 917 patients from the Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcome Measures in COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] Study (SPIROMICS). The respiratory secreted mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B were measured in 148 of these participants. In an independent 94-participant cohort, data from chronic bronchitis questionnaires and data on total mucin concentrations in sputum were analyzed.
The researchers found that current or former smokers with severe COPD had higher mean total mucin concentrations than controls who had never smoked (3,166±402 versus 1,515±152 µg/ml); concentrations were also higher in participants with two or more versus zero respiratory exacerbations per year (4,194±878 versus 2,458±113 µg/ml). Current and former smokers with severe COPD had absolute concentrations of MUC5B and MUC5AC that were about three and 10 times as high, respectively, as never smokers. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the correlation between total mucin concentration and chronic bronchitis concentration was 0.72 and 0.82 for the SPIROMICS and independent cohorts, respectively.
"Airway mucin concentrations may quantitate a key component of the chronic bronchitis pathophysiologic cascade that produces sputum and mediates disease severity," the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries; several pharmaceutical companies partially funded the study.
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