Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients exhibit chronic inflammation, both in the lung parenchyma and the airways, which is characterised by an increased infiltration of macrophages and T-lymphocytes, particularly CD8+ cells. Both cell types can express chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor (CXCR)3 and C-C chemokine receptor 5 and the relevant chemokines for these receptors are elevated in COPD. The aim of this study was to compare chemotactic responses of lymphocytes and monocytes of nonsmokers, smokers and COPD patients towards CXCR3 ligands and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand (CCL)5.
Migration of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, monocytes and lymphocytes from nonsmokers, smokers and COPD patients toward CXCR3 chemokines and CCL5 was analysed using chemotaxis assays.
There was increased migration of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from COPD patients towards all chemokines studied when compared with nonsmokers and smokers. Both lymphocytes and monocytes contributed to this enhanced response, which was not explained by increased receptor expression. However, isolated lymphocytes failed to migrate and isolated monocytes from COPD patients lost their enhanced migratory capacity.
Both monocytes and lymphocytes cooperate to enhance migration towards CXCR3 chemokines and CCL5. This may contribute to increased numbers of macrophages and T-cells in the lungs of COPD patients, and inhibition of recruitment using selective antagonists might be a treatment to reduce the inflammatory response in COPD.