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Evaluation of cytokine mRNA in induced sputum from patients with allergic rhinitis: relationship to airway hyperresponsiveness

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Background: 

Although airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is a characteristic feature of asthma, it is also frequently present in allergic rhinitis (AR). However, the pathogenesis of AHR is unclear and the roles of cytokines in the airway have not been well established in AR. We sought to compare cytokine mRNA levels in the sputum of AR patients with or without AHR and those of asthma patients, and to evaluate whether differences in cytokine levels are associated with the development of an abnormal airway response and the absence of respiratory symptoms in AR patients with AHR. Methods: 

Airway cells were obtained by sputum induction from 18 AR patients with AHR, 58 AR patients without AHR, and 27 asthma patients. Airway cell cytokine levels, interleukin (IL) -4, IL-5, IL-13, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and interferon-γ (IFN-γ), were studied at the mRNA level by RT-PCR. Results: 

Vascular endothelial growth factor and IL-5 mRNA levels were significantly higher in AR patients with AHR than in AR patients without AHR, but these were lower than those of asthmatic patients. Eosinophils were significantly higher in AR patients with AHR and in asthmatic patients than in AR patients without AHR. Interleukin-4, IL-13, and IFN-γ levels were not elevated in AR patients with or without AHR vs asthma patients. Conclusions: 

These findings suggest that VEGF and IL-5 can be important determinants of the development of AHR in AR patients and that lower levels of other cytokines may be associated with the absence of asthmatic symptoms in AR patients with AHR.
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Keywords: airway hyperresponsiveness; allergic rhinitis; mRNA; sputum; vascular endothelial growth factor

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul 2: Department of Life Science, Pohang Biotechnology Center, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, Korea

Publication date: 01 March 2008

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