Increased proportion of Fas positive CD8+ cells in peripheral blood of patients with COPD

Respir Med. 2007 Jun;101(6):1338-43. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2006.10.004. Epub 2006 Nov 21.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by chronic inflammation in pulmonary tissue and is also associated with systemic effects. The objective of this study was determination of lymphocyte subpopulation and the expression of Fas receptor on lymphocytes derived from peripheral blood of patients with stable COPD (n=18) and a control group: asymptomatic smokers (n=12) and non-smokers (n=12). Flow cytometry method with monoclonal antibodies was used for evaluation of lymphocyte subsets: CD4+ and CD8+ and the expression of Fas (CD95) on T lymphocytes. We found an elevated proportion of CD8+ cells in the blood of COPD patients. Proportion of Fas+ T lymphocytes was significantly higher in patients with COPD when compared with asymptomatic smokers and non-smokers (mean: 84.4% vs. 71.6% vs. 61.0% for Fas+/ CD4+ and 88.1% vs. 73.8% vs. 58.3% for Fas+/CD8+ lymphocytes). The proportion of Fas positive CD8+ cells significantly correlated with the degree of airway obstruction and hypoxemia. The significant correlations of Fas positive CD4+ and Fas positive CD8+ with smoking history expressed as pack years smoked were observed. Our observation of an elevated proportion of circulating lymphocytes bearing Fas receptor may play a role in induction of these cells' apoptosis and indicate the role of Fas/ FasL pathway in the changes in proportion of lymphocyte subpopulations in patients with COPD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Smoking / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Vital Capacity
  • fas Receptor / blood*


  • fas Receptor