Severity of COPD and its relationship with IL-10

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The present study was designed to compare inflammatory and metabolic responses according to severity of airflow among patients with COPD and to verify the relationship between pulmonary function, body composition, metabolic and inflammatory profile.


Fifty-one patients with mild to very severe COPD were recruited and divided according lung function in Mild-moderate (GOLD 1–2) n = 21; Severe (GOLD 3) n = 25 and Very severe (GOLD 4) n = 5. Patients were submitted to assessments of lung function (spirometry), functional exercise capacity (6-min walk test), body composition (Octopolar bioelectrical impedance), metabolic profile (glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and albumin (colorimetric assay)) and inflammatory profile (cytokines: IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α and IL-15 (ELISA)).


We found that patients in GOLD 3 group had lower levels of IL-10, triglycerides, visceral fat area, and higher IL-6 and IL-6/IL-10 ratio when compared to GOLD 1–2 patients. Additionally, GOLD 1–2 group presented negative correlation between TNF-α and HDL cholesterol (p = .01) and positive correlation between IL-15 and FEV1/FVC (p = .01), while GOLD 3 group showed positive correlation between IL-6 and IL-10 (p < .01), IL-6 and total cholesterol (p < .01) and negative correlation between IL-10 and HDL-cholesterol (p = .01).


Our findings suggest that patients with severe COPD can exhibit compromised “inflammatory status”, characterized by higher IL6, IL-6/IL-10 ratio and lower IL-10 concentration. Furthermore, IL-10 seems to be an interesting cytokine to be investigated in this kind of patients.

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