Lung diseases like cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with chronic airway inflammation. The aim of our study was to compare a complex biomarker profile in order to characterize specific inflammatory patterns in sputum of patients with CF and COPD. Induced sputum samples of 19 CF-, 26 COPD patients and 21 healthy controls were analyzed for concentrations of IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-13, IP-10, MCP-1, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha using the new cytometric bead array (CBA) technology. Significant differences in airway biomarker profiles of CF and COPD were detected. Patients with CF showed a significant increase in IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-13, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma and MCP-1. COPD patients showed an increase in IL-6, IL-8, IL-13 and MCP-1 compared to healthy controls. CF and COPD compared to each other exhibited differences in IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-8, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma and MCP-1 levels. Significant correlations between the parameters of lung function and sputum biomarker levels were found. Analyzing induced sputum allows characterization of specific airway biomarker profiles in CF and COPD and can be related to the clinical status of the patient. CBA of induced sputum seems to be a pivotal tool to characterize pulmonary inflammation.
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