Background: Despite the high disease burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and risk of acute COPD exacerbation, few COPD biomarkers are available. As developmental endothelial locus-1 (DEL-1) has been proposed to possess beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory effects, we hypothesized that DEL-1 could be a blood biomarker for COPD. Objective: To elucidate the role of plasma DEL-1 as a biomarker of COPD in terms of pathogenesis and for predicting acute exacerbation. Methods: Cigarette smoke extract (CSE) or saline was intratracheally administered to wild-type (WT) and DEL-1 knockout (KO) C57BL/6 mice. Subsequently, lung sections were obtained to quantify the degree of emphysema using the mean linear intercept (MLI). Additionally, plasma DEL-1 levels were compared between COPD and non-COPD participants recruited in ongoing prospective cohorts. Using negative binomial regression analysis, the association between the plasma DEL-1 level and subsequent acute exacerbation risk was evaluated in patients with COPD. Results: In the in vivo study, DEL-1 KO induced emphysema (KO saline vs. WT saline; P = 0.003) and augmented CSE-induced emphysema (KO CSE vs. WT CSE; P < 0.001) in 29 mice. Among 537 participants, patients with COPD presented plasma log (DEL-1) levels lower than non-COPD participants (P = 0.04), especially non-COPD never smokers (P = 0.019). During 1.2 ± 0.3 years, patients with COPD in the lowest quartile of Log(DEL-1) demonstrated an increased risk of subsequent acute exacerbation, compared with those in the highest quartile of Log(DEL-1) (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 3.64; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–12.9). Conclusion: Low DEL-1 levels are associated with COPD development and increased risk of subsequent COPD acute exacerbation. DEL-1 can be a useful biomarker in patients with COPD.
- Animal disease models
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Developmental endothelial locus-1
- Disease progression