Differential expression of vitamin e and selenium-responsive genes by disease severity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Anne H. Agler, Ronald G. Crystal, Jason G. Mezey, Jennifer Fuller, Chuan Gao, Joyanna G. Hansen, Patricia A. Cassano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Antioxidant nutritional status is hypothesized to influence chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) susceptibility and progression. Although past studies relate antioxidants to gene expression, there are no data in patients with COPD. This study investigated the hypothesis that antioxidant status is compromised in patients with COPD, and antioxidant-responsive genes differentially express in a similar pattern. Lung tissue samples from patients with COPD were assayed for vitamin E and gene expression. Selenium and vitamin E were assayed in corresponding plasma samples. Discovery based genome-wide expression analysis compared moderate, severe, and very severe COPD (GOLD II-IV) patients to mild and at-risk/normal (GOLD 0-I). Hypotheses-driven analyses assessed differential gene expression by disease severity for vitamin E-responsive and selenium-responsive genes. GOLD II-IV COPD patients had 30% lower lung tissue vitamin E levels compared to GOLD 0-I participants (p = 0.0082). No statistically significant genome-wide differences in expression by disease severity were identified. Hypothesis-driven analyses of 109 genes found 16 genes differentially expressed (padjusted < 0.05) by disease severity including 6 selenium-responsive genes (range in fold-change -1.39 to 2.25), 6 vitamin E-responsive genes (fold-change -2.30 to 1.51), and 4 COPD-associated genes. Lung tissue vitamin E in patients with COPD was associated with disease severity and vitamin E-responsive genes were differentially expressed by disease severity. Although nutritional status is hypothesized to contribute to COPD risk, and is of therapeutic interest, evidence to date is mainly observational. The findings reported herein are novel, and support a role of vitamin E in COPD progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-458
Number of pages9
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • COPD
  • Gene expression
  • Selenium
  • Tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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