Association of clonal hematopoiesis with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Blood. 2022 Jan 20;139(3):357-368. doi: 10.1182/blood.2021013531.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with age and smoking, but other determinants of the disease are incompletely understood. Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) is a common, age-related state in which somatic mutations in clonal blood populations induce aberrant inflammatory responses. Patients with CHIP have an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, but the association of CHIP with COPD remains unclear. We analyzed whole-genome sequencing and whole-exome sequencing data to detect CHIP in 48 835 patients, of whom 8444 had moderate to very severe COPD, from four separate cohorts with COPD phenotyping and smoking history. We measured emphysema in murine models in which Tet2 was deleted in hematopoietic cells. In the COPDGene cohort, individuals with CHIP had risks of moderate-to-severe, severe, or very severe COPD that were 1.6 (adjusted 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.2) and 2.2 (adjusted 95% CI, 1.5-3.2) times greater than those for noncarriers. These findings were consistently observed in three additional cohorts and meta-analyses of all patients. CHIP was also associated with decreased FEV1% predicted in the COPDGene cohort (mean between-group differences, -5.7%; adjusted 95% CI, -8.8% to -2.6%), a finding replicated in additional cohorts. Smoke exposure was associated with a small but significant increased risk of having CHIP (odds ratio, 1.03 per 10 pack-years; 95% CI, 1.01-1.05 per 10 pack-years) in the meta-analysis of all patients. Inactivation of Tet2 in mouse hematopoietic cells exacerbated the development of emphysema and inflammation in models of cigarette smoke exposure. Somatic mutations in blood cells are associated with the development and severity of COPD, independent of age and cumulative smoke exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clonal Hematopoiesis*
  • Exome Sequencing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects

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