Neutrophil count in sputum is associated with increased sputum glucose and sputum L-lactate in cystic fibrosis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Bibi Uhre Nielsen
  • Mette Kolpen
  • Jensen, Peter Østrup
  • Terese Katzenstein
  • Tacjana Pressler
  • Christian Ritz
  • Inger Hee Mabuza Mathiesen
  • Daniel Faurholt-Jepsen

Background: Markers of lung inflammation measured directly in expectorated sputum have the potential of improving the timing of antibiotic treatment in cystic fibrosis (CF). L-Lactate might be a marker of inflammation, as it is produced from glucose by polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) in CF lungs. We aimed to investigate changes in and associations between PMNs, glucose and L-lactate in sputum during antibiotic treatment. In addition, the effect of hemoglobin A1c and plasma glucose on these biomarkers were investigated.

Methods: We sampled non-induced sputum at day 0, 7, 14 and 42 in 27 chronically infected CF patients electively treated with 14 days of intravenous antibiotic. To analyze sputum samples, we used flowcytometry to count PMNs and colorimetric assays to estimate lactate and glucose.

Results: No changes in levels of PMNs, glucose and lactate were detected in sputum during the antibiotic treatment. Sputum PMNs were positively associated with both glucose (log coefficient = 0.20, p = 0.01) and L-lactate (log coefficient = 0.34, p<0.001). In multivariate analyses, hemoglobin A1c was negatively associated with sputum PMNs (log coefficient = -1.68, p<0.001) and plasma glucose was negatively associated with sputum glucose (log coefficient = -0.09, p = 0.02).

Conclusions: In CF sputum PMNs, glucose and lactate were unchanged during elective antibiotic treatment. However, sputum PMNs were associated with both sputum glucose and sputum lactate. Surprisingly, hyperglycemia seemed to be associated with less PMNs infiltration and less glucose in CF sputum.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0238524
JournalP L o S One
Issue number9
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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