Rare lung disease cells indicate higher death risk

Jan 16, 2008

Large numbers of certain cells in the lungs of patients diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may increase their chance of death, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have discovered.

According to a new study, increased numbers of neutrophil (pronounced new-tro-fil) cells—a type of white blood cell—in patients’ lungs were associated with a 30 percent increased risk of mortality in the first year following diagnosis with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

“A measure of cell types in the lungs of IPF patients at the time of diagnosis may allow us to determine their risk of death in the following year,” says Brent Kinder, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the UC College of Medicine and pulmonologist with UC Physicians.

“This even takes into account other well-known measures of disease severity like age, whether or not the patient smokes and how well his or her lung functions during breathing tests,” he adds.

Kinder co-authored the study, which is featured in the January issue of the journal Chest, with colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and National Jewish Medical Center in Denver, Colo.

IPF is scarring of the lung. As the disease progresses, air sacs in the lungs become replaced by fibrotic scar tissue. Lung tissue becomes thicker where the scarring forms, causing an irreversible loss of the tissue’s ability to carry oxygen into the bloodstream.

IPF is one of about 200 disorders called interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), which affect the thick tissue of the lung as opposed to more common lung ailments—such as asthma or emphysema—that affect the airways.

It is the most common form of ILD and affects about 128,000 people in the United States, with an estimated 48,000 new cases diagnosed each year. There currently are no proven therapies or cures for IPF.

Researchers discovered the link between neutrophils and IPF outcome using bronchoalveolar lavage. The technique involves passing a bronchoscope through the mouth of the patient and into the lungs. Saline is squirted into a small part of the affected lung and then recollected for examination.

The team evaluated the cell count of 156 people with IPF at the time the disease began to make its appearance.

“With this information, we can now work to identify neutrophil cells in patients’ lungs and provide detailed information for more accurate diagnosis,” says Kinder, who is also director of the newly established Interstitial Lung Disease Center at UC.

“It is our hope that this accurate prognostic information will become even more useful as effective treatments become available.”

Source: University of Cincinnati

Explore further: The human parasite Leishmania is a probiotic for the fly that carries it

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

9 minutes ago

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

Facebook shares profit growth story

10 minutes ago

Facebook on Wednesday reported that is quarterly profit more than doubled amid big gains in ad revenues and a jump in users.

Six charged in global e-ticket hacking scheme

38 minutes ago

Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against six people in what authorities said was a global cyber-crime ring that created fraudulent e-tickets for major concerts and sporting events.

EU sets new energy savings target at 30%

48 minutes ago

After months of tough negotiations, the European Commission recommended Wednesday a new energy savings target of 30 percent so as to combat climate change and ensure self-sufficiency.

IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

48 minutes ago

Who will lay claim to having the world's largest particle smasher?. Could China become the collider capital of the world? Questions tease answers, following a news story in Nature on Tuesday. Proposals for ...

Recommended for you

Diseases of another kind

3 hours ago

The drought that has the entire country in its grip is affecting more than the color of people's lawns. It may also be responsible for the proliferation of a heat-loving amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such ...

User comments : 0