Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes pneumonia with a relatively high case fatality rate in humans. Smokers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients have been reported to be more susceptible to MERS-CoV infection. Here, we determined the expression of MERS-CoV receptor, dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP4), in lung tissues of smokers without airflow limitation and COPD patients in comparison to nonsmoking individuals (never-smokers). Methods. DPP4 expression was measured in lung tissue of lung resection specimens of never-smokers, smokers without airflow limitation, COPD GOLD stage II patients and in lung explants of end-stage COPD patients. Both control subjects and COPD patients were well phenotyped and age-matched. The mRNA expression was determined using qRT-PCR and protein expression was quantified using immunohistochemistry. Results. In smokers and subjects with COPD, both DPP4 mRNA and protein expression were significantly higher compared to never-smokers. Additionally, we found that both DPP4 mRNA and protein expression were inversely correlated with lung function and diffusing capacity parameters. Conclusions. We provide evidence that DPP4 is upregulated in the lungs of smokers and COPD patients, which could partially explain why these individuals are more susceptible to MERS-CoV infection. These data also highlight a possible role of DPP4 in COPD pathogenesis.

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doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix741, hdl.handle.net/1765/112820
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Ghent University-Universiteit Gent

Seys, L.J.M. (Leen J. M), Widagdo, W., Verhamme, F., Kleinjan, A., Janssens, W., Joos, G., … Brusselle, G. (2018). DPP4, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Receptor, is Upregulated in Lungs of Smokers and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 66(1), 45–53. doi:10.1093/cid/cix741