Forrest et al. article in Journal of Cystic Fibrosis

"Resistin is elevated in cystic fibrosis sputum and correlates negatively with lung function." Forrest OA, Chopyk DM, Gernez Y, Brown MR, Conrad CK, Moss RB, Tangpricha V, Peng L, Tirouvanziam R. J Cyst Fibros. 2018 Jun 21. pii: S1569-1993(18)30623-4.

Full article



Resistin is an immunometabolic mediator that is elevated in several inflammatory disorders. A ligand for Toll-like receptor 4, resistin modulates the recruitment and activation of myeloid cells, notably neutrophils. Neutrophils are major drivers of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease, in part due to the release of human neutrophil elastase- and myeloperoxidase-rich primary granules, leading to tissue damage. Here we assessed the relationship of resistin to CF lung disease.


Resistin levels were measured in plasma and sputum from three retrospective CF cohorts spanning a wide range of disease. We also assessed the ability of neutrophils to secrete resistin upon activation in vitro. Finally, we constructed a multivariate model assessing the relationship between resistin levels and lung function.


Plasma resistin levels were only marginally higher in CF than in healthy control subjects. By contrast, sputum resistin levels were very high in CF, reaching 50–100 fold higher levels than in plasma. Among CF patients, higher plasma resistin levels were associated with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, and higher sputum resistin levels were associated with CF-related diabetes. Mechanistically, in vitro release of neutrophil primary granules was concomitant with resistin secretion. Overall, sputum resistin levels were negatively correlated with CF lung function, independently of other variables (age, sex, and genotype).


Our data establish relationships between resistin levels in the plasma and sputum of CF patients that correlate with disease status, and identify resistin as a novel mechanistic link between neutrophilic inflammation and lung disease in CF.