RATIONALE: Bronchodilator responsiveness (BDR) is a common but variable phenomenon in COPD. The CT characteristics of airway dimensions that differentiate COPD subjects with BDR from those without BDR have not been well described. We aimed to assess airway dimensions in COPD subjects with and without BDR. METHODS: We analyzed subjects with GOLD 1-4 disease in the COPDGene(R) study who had CT airway analysis. We divided patients into two groups: BDR + (post bronchodilator DeltaFEV1 >/= 10%) and BDR-(post bronchodilator DeltaFEV1 < 10%). The mean wall area percent (WA%) of six segmental bronchi in each subject was quantified using VIDA. Using 3D SLICER, airway wall thickness was also expressed as the square root wall area of an airway of 10 mm (Pi10) and 15 mm (Pi15) diameter. %Emphysema and %gas trapping were also calculated. RESULTS: 2355 subjects in the BDR-group and 1306 in the BDR + group formed our analysis. The BDR + group had a greater Pi10, Pi15, and mean segmental WA% compared to the BDR-group. In multivariate logistic regression using gender, race, current smoking, history of asthma, %emphysema, %gas trapping, %predicted FEV1, and %predicted FVC, airway wall measures remained independent predictors of BDR. Using a threshold change in FEV1 >/= 15% and FEV1 >/= 12% and 200 mL to divide patients into groups, the results were similar. CONCLUSION: BDR in COPD is independently associated with CT evidence of airway pathology. This study provides us with greater evidence of changes in lung structure that correlate with physiologic manifestations of airflow obstruction in COPD.