Circulating syndecan-1 as a novel biomarker relates to lung function, systemic inflammation, and exacerbation in COPD

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2019 Aug 28:14:1933-1941. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S207855. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: Patients with COPD often show increased systemic inflammation which is associated with lower functional status, greater exacerbation risk, and worse clinical outcomes. Syndecans (SDCs), a family of transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), have been found to involve in inflammatory processes in many chronic inflammatory diseases. The aim of this preliminary clinical study was to investigate the possible association between two SDCs, SDC-1 and SDC-4, with lung function, systemic inflammation, and risk of exacerbations in COPD patients.

Method: Serum SDC-1 and SDC-4 levels were measured in 101 COPD patients and 57 health controls. Correlations between SDCs and other parameters were analyzed using Spearsman's rho. Receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis was used to evaluate the threshold value in differentiating disease status.

Results: Although both serum SDC-1 and SDC-4 showed a downward trend in COPD patients, only SDC-1 levels were correlated positively with the ratio of FEV1/FVC and parameters of small airway obstruction. Besides, SDC-1 but not SDC-4, was negatively correlated with C-reactive protein (CRP) in COPD patients and downregulated in frequent exacerbators (FEs) of COPD. Using a cutoff value of 2.08 ng/mL, the sensitivity and specificity of SDC-1 to differentiate FE were 44% and 93.4%, respectively.

Conclusion: In conclusion, circulating SDC-1 may be a novel inflammatory biomarker associated with lung function and systemic inflammation in patients with COPD, which could also be useful to identify the risk of COPD exacerbation. Further studies should be performed to clarify the influences of SDC-1 on the pathogenesis and outcomes of COPD.

Keywords: biomarker; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbation; syndecan; systemic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Disease Progression
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / blood*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndecan-1 / blood*
  • Vital Capacity


  • Biomarkers
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • SDC1 protein, human
  • Syndecan-1