Identification of lipocalin and apolipoprotein A1 as biomarkers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Benjamin L. Nicholas, Paul Skipp, Sheila Barton, Dave Singh, Dinesh Bagmane, Richard Mould, Gilbert Angco, Jon Ward, Binita Guha-Niyogi, Susan Wilson, Peter Howarth, Donna E. Davies, Stephen Rennard, C. David O'Connor, Ratko Djukanović

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Rationale: Much effort is being made to discover noninvasive biomarkers of chronic airway disease that might enable better management, predict prognosis, and provide new therapeutic targets. Objectives: To undertake a comprehensive, unbiased proteomic analysis of induced sputum and identify novel noninvasive biomarkers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Methods: Induced sputum was obtained from patients with COPD with a spectrum of disease severity and from control subjects. Two dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometric identification of differentially expressed proteins were first applied to induced sputum from patients with GOLD stage 2 COPD and healthy smoker control subjects. Initial results thus obtained were validated by a combination of immunoassays (Western blotting and ELISA) applied to a large subject cohort. The biomarkers were localized to bronchial mucosa by immunohistochemistry. Measurements and Main Results: Of 1,325 individual protein spots identified, 37 were quantitatively and 3 qualitatively different between the two groups (P<0.05%). Forty protein spots were subjected to tandem mass spectrometry, which identified 15 separate protein species. Seven of these were further quantified in induced sputum from 97 individuals. Using this sequential approach, two of these potential biomarkers (apolipoprotein A1 and lipocalin-1) were found to be significantly reduced in patients with COPD when compared with healthy smokers. Their levels correlated with FEV1/FVC, indicating their relationship to disease severity. Conclusions: A potential role for apolipoprotein A1 and lipocalin-1 in innate defense has been postulated previously; our discovery of their reduction in COPD indicates a deficient innate defense system in airway disease that could explainincreasedsusceptibility to infectious exacerbations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1060
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2010


  • Biomarkers
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Induced sputum
  • Proteome
  • Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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