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Keywords:

  • adult;
  • asthma;
  • eotaxin;
  • exhaled breath condensate;
  • macrophage-derived chemokine

Summary

Background Asthma is associated with esoinophilic airway inflammation and overproduction of T-helper type 2 (Th2) lymphocyte-related cytokines.

Objective This study assessed the eosinophil chemoattractant eotaxin and Th2-specific macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC) in the adult asthmatic airway. Eotaxin and MDC levels were determined in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) obtained from adult patients with asthma.

Methods Fifty-four asthmatics (20 male, mean (SD) age 40 (12) years and percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 81.7 (20.8)) and 20 age- and sex-matched controls were studied. EBC was collected using EcoScreen by 10 min of tidal breathing with a nose clip. Concentrations of eotaxin and MDC were measured by ELISA.

Results Asthma patients on inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) had a higher median interquartile range (IQR) level of eotaxin than the steroid-naïve asthmatics (18.5 (17.7–20.1) vs. 17.9 (17.0–18.6) pg/mL, P=0.02) and controls (18.5 (17.7–20.1) pg/mL vs 17.4 (16.3–18.0) pg/mL, P=0.001). Eotaxin level in EBC had a significant negative correlation with the FEV1/forced vital capacity ratio (r=−0.43, P=0.03) in steroid-naïve asthmatics. EBC MDC level was higher in subjects on ICS than the steroid naïve asthmatics (120 (118–125) vs. 117 (116–119) pg/mL, P=0.01) and the controls (120 (118–125) vs. 117 (116–120) pg/mL, P=0.02).

Conclusions Eotaxin and MDC could be measured in EBC of adults with asthma. EBC eotaxin and MDC levels were higher in asthmatics on ICS than the steroid-naïve asthmatics or controls. Exhaled chemokines may be potential non-invasive markers for assessing airway inflammation in asthmatics.