Molecular gender differences in COPD confirming known clinical phenotypes

Published online: November 12, 2012

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, which has been increasingly observed among women. Under-diagnosis is common and due to the heterogeneous disease characteristics, molecular markers of specific disease phenotypes as well as more efficacious treatment regimens are urgently needed. In a recent article published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Kohler et al analyzed the entity of soluble proteins in bronchoalveolar lavage cells to compare groups of male and female healthy smokers, non-symptomatic smokers, smoking COPD patients, and ex-smoker COPD patients. They identified proteins of interest to establish correlations with phenotypic gender differences in the development of COPD.

Kohler and colleagues unveiled significant gender differences with numerous alterations in the BAL cell proteome occurring in female but not male COPD patients. They attributed the observed alterations to down-regulation of the lysosomal pathway and up-regulation of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway, which are possibly related to dysregulation of macroautophagy in alveolar macrophages, to a female-dominated COPD disease phenotype. Moreover, the researchers linked the alterations to previously observed gender differences in clinical COPD phenotypes. Their results stress the importance of gender-specific search for biomarkers, diagnosis, and treatment in COPD.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology