Transfer factor for carbon monoxide in patients with COPD and diabetes: results from the German COSYCONET cohort

Kathrin Kahnert*, Tanja Lucke, Frank Biertz, Andreas Lechner, Henrik Watz, Peter Alter, Robert Bals, Juergen Behr, Rolf Holle, Rudolf M. Huber, Stefan Karrasch, Beate Stubbe, Margarethe Wacker, Sandra Soehler, Emiel F. M. Wouters, Claus Vogelmeier, Rudolf A. Joerres, COSYCONET Study Grp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: An impairment of CO diffusing capacity has been shown in diabetic patients without lung disease. We analyzed how diffusing capacity in patients with COPD is affected by the concurrent diagnosis of diabetes.

Methods: Data from the initial visit of the German COPD cohort COSYCONET were used for analysis. 2575 patients with complete lung function data were included, among them 358 defined as diabetics with a reported physician diagnosis of diabetes and/or specific medication. Pairwise comparisons between groups and multivariate regression models were used to identify variables predicting the CO transfer factor (TLCO% pred) and the transfer coefficient (KCO% pred).

Results: COPD patients with diabetes differed from those without diabetes regarding lung function, anthropometric, clinical and laboratory parameters. Moreover, gender was an important covariate. After correction for lung function, gender and body mass index (BMI), TLCO% pred did not significantly differ between patients with and without diabetes. The results for the transfer coefficient KCO were similar, demonstrating an important role of the confounding factors RV% pred, TLC% pred, ITGV% pred, FEV1% pred, FEV1/FVC, age, packyears, creatinine and BMI. There was not even a tendency towards lower values in diabetes.

Conclusion: The analysis of data from a COPD cohort showed no significant differences of CO transport parameters between COPD patients with and without diabetes, if BMI, gender and the reduction in lung volumes were taken into account. This result is in contrast to observations in lung-healthy subjects with diabetes and raises the question which factors, among them potential anti-inflammatory effects of anti-diabetes medication are responsible for this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages9
JournalRespiratory Research
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2017


  • COPD
  • Diabetes
  • Lung function
  • Diffusing capacity

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