Plasma carbonyls do not correlate with lung function or computed tomography measures of lung density in older smokers

Sonia Mesia-Vela, Chih Ching Yeh, John Austin, Matthew Dounel, Charles Powell, Anthony Reeves, Regina M. Santella, Lori Stevenson, David Yankelevitz, R. Graham Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Oxidative stress and inflammation are hallmarks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A critical byproduct of oxidative damage is the introduction of carbonyl groups into amino acid residues. We hypothesize that plasma carbonyl content is inversely correlated with lung function and computed tomography (CT) measures of lung density among smokers and is elevated in COPD. Carbonyl was measured in plasma of participants aged 60 years and older by ELISA. Generalized linear and additive models were used to adjust for potential confounders. Among 541 participants (52% male, mean age 67 years, 41% current smokers), mean plasma carbonyl content was 17.9 ± 2.9 nmol ml-1 and mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was 80.7 ± 20.9% of predicted. Plasma carbonyl content was inversely associated with FEV1, but this relationship was largely explained by age. Multivariate analyses ruled out clinically meaningful associations of plasma carbonyl content with FEV1, FEV1/FVC (forced vital capacity) ratio, severity of airflow obstruction, and CT lung density. Plasma carbonyl content is a poor biomarker of oxidative stress in COPD and emphysema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-434
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Airflow obstruction
  • COPD
  • CT
  • Oxidative stress
  • Protein carbonyl
  • Pulmonary emphysema
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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