Researchers from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute
and Nippon Medical School in Japan have identified a protein likely to
be involved in the exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD). This protein, Siglec-14, could serve as a potential new target
for the treatment of COPD exacerbation.
In a study published on March 22, 2013 in the journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
the researchers show that COPD patients who do not express Siglec-14, a
glycan-recognition protein, are less susceptible to exacerbation
compared with those who do.
COPD is a chronic condition in which the airways and alveoli in the
lungs become damaged, making it increasingly difficult for air to pass
in and out. It is the 4th leading cause of death worldwide
and its prevalence is on the rise. Exacerbation, or a sudden worsening
of the COPD symptoms often triggered by bacterial or viral infection,
directly leads to the decline of the quality of life, and even to the
death, of the patient.
Based on the facts that Siglec-14, which is made by innate immune
cells, binds to the bacteria that often trigger exacerbation, and that
approximately 1 out of 4 people in Japan cannot make Siglec-14 because
of genetic polymorphism, the research team led by Drs. Takashi Angata
and Naoyuki Taniguchi (RIKEN Advanced Science Institute) and Drs. Takeo
Ishii and Kozui Kida (Respiratory Care Clinic, Nippon Medical School)
hypothesized that the presence of Siglec-14 may influence the frequency
of exacerbation episodes in COPD patients.
The team analyzed the correlation between the genotype of SIGLEC14
gene and the frequency of COPD exacerbations during 1 year of
monitoring in 135 COPD patients, and found that those patients who do
not have Siglec-14 (31 patients) suffer far fewer episodes of
exacerbations (nearly 80% less) on average compared with those who do
These findings by the team suggest that COPD patients may be stratified based on the SIGLEC14
genotype for more efficient and personalized care. They also imply that
Siglec-14 protein is involved in the exacerbation of COPD, and that a
compound that blocks the inflammatory events triggered by Siglec-14
engagement could be used to prevent or treat the exacerbation of COPD.
Takashi Angata, Takeo
Ishii, Takashi Motegi, Ritsuko Oka, Rachel E. Taylor, Paula Campos Soto,
Yung-Chi Chang, Ismael Secundino, Cong-Xiao Gao, Kazuaki Ohtsubo,
Shinobu Kitazume, Victor Nizet, Ajit Varki, Akihiko Gemma, Kozui Kida,
and Naoyuki Taniguchi. "Loss of Siglec-14 reduces the risk of chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation". Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2013, doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1311-7