Background YKL-40 is a chitinase-like protein that, in cross-sectional clinical studies, has been associated with severe asthma and COPD in smokers. Aim To determine the longitudinal relation of circulating YKL-40 to levels and decline of lung function in the general population. Methods We used longitudinal data from up to 13 surveys from the population-based TESAOD study which was conducted in Tucson, Arizona between 1972 and 1996. In cross-sectional analyses, we also used data from 3 Spanish centers of the multicenter ECRHS study (ECRHS-Sp). Serum YKL-40 was measured at baseline in TESAOD and in survey 2 in ECRHS-Sp using ELISAs. Multivariate linear regression was used to test associations of serum YKL-40 to concomitant lung function. In TESAOD, random coefficients models were used to test associations of serum YKL-40 to subsequent decline of lung function. Results Data on YKL-40 and lung function were available from 1088 TESAOD and 854 ECRHS-Sp adult participants (59% and 51% females; respectively). In adjusted multivariate meta-analyses, being in the highest YKL-40 quartile was associated cross-sectionally with significant deficits in FEV1 and FVC %predicted. In adjusted longitudinal analyses, TESAOD participants in the top YKL-40 quartile had an FEV1 decline that was 5 ml/yr (p = 0.05) faster than subjects in the third quartile, 5 ml/yr (p = 0.02) faster than subjects in the second quartile, and 10 ml/yr (p < 0.001) faster than subjects in the lowest YKL-40 quartile. These longitudinal effects were particularly strong in smokers and absent in never smokers. After adjusting for covariates, as compared with the other three quartiles combined, the top YKL-40 quartile was associated with a 9 ml/yr (p = 0.001) faster FEV1 decline among smokers, while no significant effects were found among never smokers (2 ml/yr, p = 0.35). Conclusions Circulating YKL-40 is associated with levels and decline of lung function in the general population and may be a biomarker of susceptibility to the long-term effects of cigarette smoking.
- Lung function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine