Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is characterized by an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles and gases, caused primarily by cigarette smoking. Although COPD affects the lung, it also produces significant systemic consequences. Inflammation, proteases-antiproteases imbalance, oxidative stress, tissue damage and tissue repair, apoptosis and several genes seem to be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. The cellular and molecular events underlying COPD pathogenesis are driven by multifunctional molecules including enzymes, cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, lipid mediators and their respective receptors. A large number of biomarkers evaluated in COPD, showed a high degree of redundancy. Nevertheless, current understanding of the pathobiology of COPD suggests a number of biomarkers as potential candidates. The development of relevant markers of lung damage, pulmonary inflammation, and systemic disease will be essential to our further understanding of the natural history of COPD and the discovery of new, effective treatments for its progression This review summarizes recent findings, on potential pulmonary biomarkers in the induced sputum, the exhaled air condensate, the peripheral blood, the urine, the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and in selective cases, in bronchial biopsies.
Department of Thoracic Medicine, University General Hospital, 71110 Heraklion, Crete, Greece.
Publication date: April 1, 2007
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