Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) expression is increased in the lungs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). DPP4 is known to be associated with inflammation in various organs, including LPS-induced acute lung inflammation. Since non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) causes acute exacerbations in COPD patients, we examined the contribution of DPP4 in NTHi-induced lung inflammation in COPD. Pulmonary macrophages isolated from COPD patients showed higher expression of DPP4 than the macrophages isolated from normal subjects. In response to NTHi infection, COPD, but not normal macrophages show a further increase in the expression of DPP4. COPD macrophages also showed higher expression of IL-1β, and CCL3 responses to NTHi than normal, and treatment with DPP4 inhibitor, diprotin A attenuated this response. To examine the contribution of DPP4 in NTHi-induced lung inflammation, COPD mice were infected with NTHi, treated with diprotin A or PBS intraperitoneally, and examined for DPP4 expression, lung inflammation, and cytokine expression. Mice with COPD phenotype showed increased expression of DPP4, which increased further following NTHi infection. DPP4 expression was primarily observed in the infiltrated inflammatory cells. NTHi-infected COPD mice also showed sustained neutrophilic lung inflammation and expression of CCL3, and this was inhibited by DPP4 inhibitor. These observations indicate that enhanced expression of DPP4 in pulmonary macrophages may contribute to sustained lung inflammation in COPD following NTHi infection. Therefore, inhibition of DPP4 may reduce the severity of NTHi-induced lung inflammation in COPD.

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