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BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have increased numbers of neutrophils and macrophages in their lungs. Growth related oncogene-alpha (GROalpha) attracts neutrophils, whereas monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) attracts monocytes that can differentiate into macrophages. The aim of this study was to determine the concentration of GROalpha and MCP-1 in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and sputum from non-smokers, healthy smokers and patients with COPD, and to see if there was a correlation between the concentrations of these chemokines, lung function, and numbers of inflammatory cells. METHODS: BAL fluid and sputum from non-smokers (n=32), healthy smokers (n=36), and patients with COPD (n=40) were analysed for the presence of GROalpha and MCP-1 using ELISA. Cells counts were performed on the samples and correlations between the concentrations of these chemokines, lung function, and inflammatory cells observed. RESULTS: Median (SE) GROalpha and MCP-1 levels were significantly increased in sputum from patients with COPD compared with non-smokers and healthy smokers (GROalpha: 31 (11) v 2 (2) v 3 (0.8) ng/ml; MCP-1: 0.8 (0.4) v 0.2 (0.1) v 0.1 (0.04) ng/ml, p<0.05), but not in BAL fluid. There were significant negative correlations between both GROalpha and MCP-1 levels in sputum and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)) % predicted (GROalpha: r=-0.5, p<0.001; MCP-1: r=-0.5, p<0.001), together with significant positive correlations between GROalpha and MCP-1 and neutrophil numbers in sputum (GROalpha: r=0.6, p<0.001; MCP-1: r=0.4, p<0.01). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that GROalpha and MCP-1 are involved in the migration of inflammatory cells, thus contributing to the inflammatory load associated with COPD.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





590 - 595


Adult, Biomarkers, Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid, Cell Count, Chemokine CCL2, Chemokine CXCL1, Chemokines, CXC, Chemotactic Factors, Female, Forced Expiratory Volume, Growth Substances, Humans, Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Macrophages, Male, Middle Aged, Neutrophils, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, Smoking, Sputum