Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory disease that is correlated with environmental stress. Particulate matter ≤10 μm (PM10) is considered to be a risk factor for COPD development; however, the effects of PM10 on the protein levels in COPD remain unclear. Fifty subjects with COPD and 15 healthy controls were recruited. Gene ontology analysis of differentially expressed proteins identified immune system process and binding as the most important biological process and molecular function, respectively, in the responses of PM10-exposed patients with COPD. Biomarkers for PM10 in COPD were identified and compared with the same in healthy controls and included proteoglycan 4 (PRG4), inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain 4 (ITIH4), and apolipoprotein F (APOF). PRG4 and ITIH4 were associated with a past 3-year PM10 exposure level. The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that ITIH4 is a sensitive and specific biomarker for PM10 exposure (area under the curve [AUC] =0.690, P=0.015) compared with PRG4 (AUC =0.636, P=0.083), APOF (AUC =0.523, P=0.766), 8-isoprostane (AUC =0.563, P=0.405), and C-reactive protein (CRP; AUC =0.634, P=0.086). ITIH4 levels were correlated with CRP (r=0.353, P=0.005), suggesting that ITIH4 may be involved in an inflammatory mechanism. In summary, serum ITIH4 may be a PM10-specific biomarker in COPD and may be related to inflammation.
Keywords: C-reactive protein; air pollution; apolipoprotein F; inflammation; oxidative stress; proteoglycan 4.