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Exhaled breath condensate cytokines and pH in pediatric asthma and atopic dermatitis

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Some studies have proposed exhaled breath condensate (EBC) as a noninvasive tool for monitoring airway inflammation in children. Moreover, atopic dermatitis (AD) has been considered a risk factor for the development of asthma. This study was designed to assess the EBC pH and the exhaled concentration of cytokines produced by T-helper (Th) 1, Th2, and T regulatory cells in asthmatic children and AD and to verify if their concentrations are affected by a short course of treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). We assessed the mean levels of pH, interferon (IFN) gamma, interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-10 in EBC of children with asthma (n = 20) and AD (n = 12) and healthy controls (n = 20) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Variations of pH and cytokine concentration in response to ICS (flunisolide, 500 g/day, for 2 weeks), were also investigated in asthmatic patients. We found that the mean condensate pH value in patients with asthma and AD was significantly lower when compared with that of controls (6.9 ± 0.2 and 7.0 ± 0.2 versus 7.4 ± 0.4; p < 0.0001) and it significantly increased in asthmatic patients after treatment (7.2 ± 0.2 versus 6.9 ± 0.2; p = 0.003). In addition, the IL-4/IFN-gamma ratio was significantly higher in children with asthma and in those with AD when compared with controls (9.72 ± 2.00 and 9.70 ± 2.0 versus 8.04 ± 2.6; p < 0.001) and that it decreased in asthmatic patients after ICS (6.4 ± 5.4 versus 9.72 ± 2.00; p < 0.01). We observed that exhaled IL-10 levels were significantly higher in children with asthma compared with those of controls (18.8 ± 8.9 versus 4.2 ± 1.0; p < 0.002). IL-10 did not significantly increase after treatment with steroids. No such finding was documented in children with AD. Our data suggest that EBC IL-10 levels are different in asthmatic patients compared with healthy children, but they are insensitive markers in monitoring therapy with ICS. Moreover, children with AD show an EBC pH and an exhaled pattern of Th2/Th1 cytokines similar to that of asthmatic patients.

Keywords: Asthma; atopic dermatitis; childhood; corticosteroids; exhaled breath condensate; interferon gamma; interleukin-10; interleukin-4; pH

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Biomedicina dell'Eta' Evolutiva, Pediatric Unit “S.Maggiore,” and 2: Department of Emergenza e Trapianti d'Organo (DETO), University of Bari, Bari, Italy

Publication date: 2008-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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