Background: Glucocorticoid function is markedly impaired in the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This reduction in glucocorticoid sensitivity might`be due to an oxidant-mediated increase in phosphoinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) delta signaling.
Objective: We sought to determine the role of PI3K delta in the reduced glucocorticoid responsiveness in patients with COPD.
Methods: Peripheral lung tissue was obtained from 24 patients with COPD, 20 age-matched smokers with normal lung function, and 13 nonsmokers. Peripheral blood monocytes were isolated from 9 patients with COPD and 7 age-matched smokers with normal lung function and from healthy volunteers.
Results: The expressions of PI3K delta and Akt phosphorylation were increased in macrophages from patients with COPD compared with those from control groups of age-matched smokers and nonsmokers. In vitro oxidative stress induced phosphorylation of Akt in monocytes and macrophages, which was abolished by means of selective inhibition of PI3K delta but not PI3K gamma. Dexamethasone was less effective at repressing LPS-induced GM-CSF and CXC motif chemokine 8 release in blood monocytes from patients with COPD compared with age-matched smokers. This reduced sensitivity was reversed by inhibition of PI3K delta but not PI3K gamma.
Conclusion: PI3K delta expression and signaling is increased in the lungs of patients with COPD. Selective inhibition of PI3K delta might restore glucocorticoid function in patients with COPD and might therefore present a potential therapeutic target. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010;125:1146-53.)