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Neutrophilic airway inflammation plays a role in early structural lung disease in cystic fibrosis, but the mechanisms underlying this pathway are incompletely understood.

Metabolites associated with neutrophilic inflammation were identified by discovery metabolomics on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid supernatant from 20 preschool children (2.9±1.3 years) with cystic fibrosis. Targeted mass-spectrometric detection of relevant metabolites was then applied to 34 children (3.5±1.5 years) enrolled in the Australian Respiratory Early Surveillance Team for Cystic Fibrosis (AREST CF) who underwent chest computed tomography and bronchoalveolar lavage from two separate lobes during 42 visits. Relationships between metabolites and localised structural lung disease were assessed using multivariate analyses.

Discovery metabolomics identified 93 metabolites associated with neutrophilic inflammation, including pathways involved in metabolism of adenyl purines, amino acids and small peptides, cellular energy and lipids. In targeted mass spectrometry, products of adenosine metabolism, protein catabolism and oxidative stress were associated with structural lung disease and predicted future bronchiectasis, and activities of enzymes associated with adenosine metabolism were elevated in the samples with early disease.

Metabolomics analyses revealed metabolites and pathways altered with neutrophilic inflammation and destructive lung disease. These pathways can serve as biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for early cystic fibrosis lung disease.


Authors: Charles R. Esther Jr, Lidija Turkovic, Tim Rosenow, Marianne S. Muhlebach, Richard C. Boucher, Sarath Ranganathan and Stephen M. Stick on behalf of AREST CF

Published in the European Respiratory Journal in December 2016. 

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