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BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive fibrotic lung disease with poor prognosis. Clinical studies have demonstrated association between different blood leucocytes and mortality and forced vital capacity (FVC) decline. Here, we question which blood leucocyte levels are specifically associated with progression of fibrosis, measured by accumulation of fibrosis on CT scan using a standardised automated method. METHODS: Using the Computer-Aided Lung Informatics for Pathology Evaluation and Rating CT algorithm, we determined the correlation between different blood leucocytes (<4 months from CT) and total lung fibrosis (TLF) scores, pulmonary vessel volume (PVV), FVC% and transfer factor of lung for carbon monoxide% at baseline (n=171) and with progression of fibrosis (n=71), the latter using multivariate Cox regression. RESULTS: Neutrophils (but not monocyte or lymphocytes) correlated with extent of lung fibrosis (TLF/litre) (r=0.208, p=0.007), PVV (r=0.259, p=0.001), FVC% (r=-0.127, p=0.029) at baseline. For the 71 cases with repeat CT; median interval between CTs was 25.9 (16.8-39.9) months. Neutrophil but not monocyte levels are associated with increase in TLF/litre (HR 2.66, 95% CI 1.35 to 5.25, p=0.005). CONCLUSION: Our study shows that neutrophil rather than monocyte levels correlated with quantifiable increase in fibrosis on imaging of the lungs in IPF, suggesting its relative greater contribution to progression of fibrosis in IPF.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open Respir Res

Publication Date





Innate Immunity, Interstitial Fibrosis, Humans, Neutrophils, Cohort Studies, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Lung, Vital Capacity