Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Respiratory Research





First Page


PubMed ID



Springer / BMC


School of Science / Centre for Integrative Metabolomics and Computational Biology


Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation / Swedish Research Council / Swedish Asthma and Allergy Foundation / Swedish Respiratory Society / Samariten Foundation / Hesselman Foundation / Regional Agreement on Medical Training and Clinical Research between Stockholm County Council and Karolinska Institutet / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / National Health and Medical Research Council / Karolinska Institutet Research Foundation Grants / Open access funding provided by Karolinska Institute

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : GNT1140234


Gao, J., Um-Bergström, P., Pourbazargan, M., Berggren-Broström, E., Li, C. X., Merikallio, H., . . . Sköld, M. C. (2024). Large airway t cells in adults with former bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Respiratory Research, 25, article 86.


BACKGROUND: Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) in infants born prematurely is a risk factor for chronic airway obstruction later in life. The distribution of T cell subtypes in the large airways is largely unknown. OBJECTIVE: To characterize cellular and T cell profiles in the large airways of young adults with a history of BPD. METHODS: Forty-three young adults born prematurely (preterm (n = 20), BPD (n = 23)) and 45 full-term-born (asthma (n = 23), healthy (n = 22)) underwent lung function measurements, and bronchoscopy with large airway bronchial wash (BW). T-cells subsets in BW were analyzed by immunocytochemistry. RESULTS: The proportions of both lymphocytes and CD8 + T cells in BW were significantly higher in BPD (median, 6.6%, and 78.0%) when compared with asthma (3.4% and 67.8%, p = 0.002 and p = 0.040) and healthy (3.8% and 40%, p < 0.001 and p < 0.001). In all adults born prematurely (preterm and BPD), lymphocyte proportion correlated negatively with forced vital capacity (r= -0.324, p = 0.036) and CD8 + T cells correlated with forced expiratory volume in one second, FEV1 (r=-0.448, p = 0.048). Correlation-based network analysis revealed that lung function cluster and BPD-birth cluster were associated with lymphocytes and/or CD4 + and CD8 + T cells. Multivariate regression analysis showed that lymphocyte proportions and BPD severity qualified as independent factors associated with FEV1. CONCLUSIONS: The increased cytotoxic T cells in the large airways in young adults with former BPD, suggest a similar T-cell subset pattern as in the small airways, resembling features of COPD. Our findings strengthen the hypothesis that mechanisms involving adaptive and innate immune responses are involved in the development of airway disease due to preterm birth.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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