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1.  The Coordinated Action of CC Chemokines in the Lung Orchestrates Allergic Inflammation and Airway Hyperresponsiveness  
The complex pathophysiology of lung allergic inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) that characterize asthma is achieved by the regulated accumulation and activation of different leukocyte subsets in the lung. The development and maintenance of these processes correlate with the coordinated production of chemokines. Here, we have assessed the role that different chemokines play in lung allergic inflammation and BHR by blocking their activities in vivo. Our results show that blockage of each one of these chemokines reduces both lung leukocyte infiltration and BHR in a substantially different way. Thus, eotaxin neutralization reduces specifically BHR and lung eosinophilia transiently after each antigen exposure. Monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-5 neutralization abolishes BHR not by affecting the accumulation of inflammatory leukocytes in the airways, but rather by altering the trafficking of the eosinophils and other leukocytes through the lung interstitium. Neutralization of RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted) receptor(s) with a receptor antagonist decreases significantly lymphocyte and eosinophil infiltration as well as mRNA expression of eotaxin and RANTES. In contrast, neutralization of one of the ligands for RANTES receptors, macrophage-inflammatory protein 1α, reduces only slightly lung eosinophilia and BHR. Finally, MCP-1 neutralization diminishes drastically BHR and inflammation, and this correlates with a pronounced decrease in monocyte- and lymphocyte-derived inflammatory mediators. These results suggest that different chemokines activate different cellular and molecular pathways that in a coordinated fashion contribute to the complex pathophysiology of asthma, and that their individual blockage results in intervention at different levels of these processes.
PMCID: PMC2525544  PMID: 9653092
chemokines; allergic inflammation; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; eosinophilia; leukocytes
2.  Inhibition of neutrophil and eosinophil induced chemotaxis by nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1990;99(4):798-802.
1. Neutrophils and eosinophils infiltrate the airways in association with the allergen-induced late phase asthmatic reaction. Mobilization of these cells takes place via lipid-like and protein-like chemotactic factors. In this study platelet-activating factor (PAF), leukotriene B4 (LTB4), zymosan-activated serum (ZAS) and N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP) were used as illustrative examples of both groups. Chemotaxis was studied in human neutrophils and eosinophils. The inhibitory effects of nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate were evaluated. 2. All chemotactic factors tested attracted neutrophils with the following rank order of activity: ZAS greater than PAF identical to FMLP identical to LTB4. Eosinophils were only mobilized by PAF, LTB4 and ZAS with the following rank order of activity: ZAS greater than PAF greater than LTB4. 3. Nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate were equally active as the PAF antagonist BN 52021 in inhibiting the PAF-induced chemotaxis of neutrophils (IC50 approximately 10(-8) M). Both drugs were also equally active in inhibiting the chemotaxis of neutrophils induced by ZAS (IC50 approximately 10(-7)-10(-6) M), FMLP (IC50 approximately 10(-7) M) and LTB4 (IC50 approximately 10(-6) M). 4. Nedocromil sodium significantly inhibited the chemotaxis of eosinophils induced by PAF (IC50 approximately 10(-6) M) and LTB4 (IC50 approximately 10(-7) M). The inhibitory potency of BN 52021 was similar to that of nedocromil sodium on the PAF-induced chemotaxis of eosinophils. Sodium cromoglycate was incapable of eliciting significant inhibition of these chemotactic responses. However, sodium cromoglycate significantly inhibited the chemotaxis of eosinophils induced by ZAS (IC50 approximately 10(-7) M), whereas nedocromil sodium was ineffective.
PMCID: PMC1917545  PMID: 2163279
3.  Inhibition of platelet-activating factor- and zymosan-activated serum-induced chemotaxis of human neutrophils by nedocromil sodium, BN 52021 and sodium cromoglycate. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1989;97(4):1251-1257.
1. Inflammatory cells such as eosinophils and neutrophils are thought to contribute actively to the pathogenesis of asthma since they infiltrate into the lung tissue. These cells are mobilized by lipid-like and protein-like chemotactic factors. As illustrative examples of both groups, platelet-activating-factor (Paf) and zymosan-activated-serum (ZAS) were used in this study. The inhibitory effects of nedocromil sodium, the Paf antagonist BN 52021 and sodium cromoglycate on Paf- and ZAS-induced neutrophil chemotaxis were evaluated. 2. All tested drugs inhibited Paf-induced neutrophil chemotaxis with approximately the same potency (IC50 approximately 1 nM). 3. Nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate were equally potent in inhibiting ZAS-induced neutrophil chemotaxis (IC50 = 0.1-1 microM), whereas BN 52021 was considerably less potent (IC30 = 10 microM). 4. To find out whether the drugs tested could inhibit early events in cell activation, their capacity to inhibit Paf- and ZAS-induced cytosolic free Ca2+-mobilization was investigated. BN 52021, at a concentration of 100 microM, completely inhibited Paf-induced Ca2+-mobilization and inhibited ZAS-induced Ca2+-mobilization by about 50%. Nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate were ineffective.
PMCID: PMC1854640  PMID: 2551444
4.  Anti-Allergic Cromones Inhibit Histamine and Eicosanoid Release from Activated Human and Murine Mast Cells by Releasing Annexin A1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58963.
Background and Purpose
Although the ‘cromones’ (di-sodium cromoglycate and sodium nedocromil) are used to treat allergy and asthma, their ‘mast cell stabilising’ mechanism of pharmacological action has never been convincingly explained. Here, we investigate the hypothesis that these drugs act by stimulating the release of the anti-inflammatory protein Annexin-A1 (Anx-A1) from mast cells.
Experimental approach
We used biochemical and immuno-neutralisation techniques to investigate the mechanism by which cromones suppress histamine and eicosanoid release from cord-derived human mast cells (CDMCs) or murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMDMCs) from wild type and Anx-A1 null mice.
Key results
CDMCs activated by IgE-FcRε1 crosslinking, released histamine and prostaglandin (PG) D2, which were inhibited (30–65%) by 5 min pre-treatment with cromoglycate (10 nM) or nedocromil (10 nM), as well as dexamethasone (2 nM) and human recombinant Anx-A1 (1–10 nM). In CDMCs cromones potentiated (2–5 fold) protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation and Anx-A1 phosphorylation and secretion (3–5 fold). Incubation of CDMCs with a neutralising anti-Anx-A1 monoclonal antibody reversed the cromone inhibitory effect.
Nedocromil (10 nM) also inhibited (40–60%) the release of mediators from murine bone marrow derived-mast cells from wild type mice activated by compound 48/80 and IgE-FcRε1 cross-linking, but were inactive in such cells when these were prepared from Anx-A1 null mice or when the neutralising anti-Anx-A1 antibody was present.
Conclusions and Implications
We conclude that stimulation of phosphorylation and secretion of Anx-A1 is an important component of inhibitory cromone actions on mast cells, which could explain their acute pharmacological actions in allergy. These findings also highlight a new pathway for reducing mediator release from these cells.
PMCID: PMC3601088  PMID: 23527056
5.  Ca2+-Activated K+ Channel–3.1 Blocker TRAM-34 Attenuates Airway Remodeling and Eosinophilia in a Murine Asthma Model 
Key features of asthma include bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), eosinophilic airway inflammation, and bronchial remodeling, characterized by subepithelial collagen deposition, airway fibrosis, and increased bronchial smooth muscle (BSM) mass. The calcium-activated K+ channel KCa3.1 is expressed by many cells implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma, and is involved in both inflammatory and remodeling responses in a number of tissues. The specific KCa3.1 blocker 5-[(2-chlorophenyl)(diphenyl)methyl]-1H-pyrazole (TRAM-34) attenuates BSM cell proliferation, and both mast cell and fibrocyte recruitment in vitro. We aimed to examine the effects of KCa3.1 blockade on BSM remodeling, airway inflammation, and BHR in a murine model of chronic asthma. BALB/c mice were sensitized with intraperitoneal ovalbumin (OVA) on Days 0 and 14, and then challenged with intranasal OVA during Days 14–75. OVA-sensitized/challenged mice received TRAM-34 (120 mg/kg/day, subcutaneous) from Days −7 to 75 (combined treatment), Days −7 to 20 (preventive treatment), or Days 21 to 75 (curative treatment). Untreated mice received daily injections of vehicle (n = 8 per group). Bronchial remodeling was assessed by histological and immunohistochemical analyses. Inflammation was evaluated using bronchoalveolar lavage and flow cytometry. We also determined BHR in both conscious and anesthetized mice via plethysmography. We demonstrated that curative treatment with TRAM-34 abolishes BSM remodeling and subbasement collagen deposition, and attenuates airway eosinophilia. Although curative treatment alone did not significantly reduce BHR, the combined treatment attenuated nonspecific BHR to methacholine. This study indicates that KCa3.1 blockade could provide a new therapeutic strategy in asthma.
PMCID: PMC4035224  PMID: 23204391
asthma; KCa3.1; ion channel; remodeling; smooth muscle
6.  Airway inflammation, basement membrane thickening and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthma 
Thorax  2002;57(4):309-316.
Background: There are few data in asthma relating airway physiology, inflammation and remodelling and the relative effects of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment on these parameters. A study of the relationships between spirometric indices, airway inflammation, airway remodelling, and bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR) before and after treatment with high dose inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP 750 µg bd) was performed in a group of patients with relatively mild but symptomatic asthma.
Methods: A double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, parallel group study of inhaled FP was performed in 35 asthmatic patients. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and airway biopsy studies were carried out at baseline and after 3 and 12 months of treatment. Twenty two normal healthy non-asthmatic subjects acted as controls.
Results: BAL fluid eosinophils, mast cells, and epithelial cells were significantly higher in asthmatic patients than in controls at baseline (p<0.01). Subepithelial reticular basement membrane (rbm) thickness was variable, but overall was increased in asthmatic patients compared with controls (p<0.01). Multiple regression analysis explained 40% of the variability in BHR, 21% related to rbm thickness, 11% to BAL epithelial cells, and 8% to BAL eosinophils. The longitudinal data corroborated the cross sectional model. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second improved after 3 months of treatment with FP with no further improvement at 12 months. PD20 improved throughout the study. BAL inflammatory cells decreased following 3 months of treatment with no further improvement at 12 months (p<0.05 v placebo). Rbm thickness decreased in the FP group, but only after 12 months of treatment (mean change –1.9, 95% CI –3 to –0.7 µm; p<0.01 v baseline, p<0.05 v placebo). A third of the improvement in BHR with FP was associated with early changes in inflammation, but the more progressive and larger improvement was associated with the later improvement in airway remodelling.
Conclusion: Physiology, airway inflammation and remodelling in asthma are interrelated and improve with ICS. Changes are not temporally concordant, with prolonged treatment necessary for maximal benefit in remodelling and PD20. Determining the appropriate dose of inhaled steroids only by reference to symptoms and lung function, as specified in current international guidelines, and even against indices of inflammation may be over simplistic. The results of this study support the need for early and long term intervention with ICS, even in patients with relatively mild asthma.
PMCID: PMC1746305  PMID: 11923548
7.  Identification of PCDH1 as a Novel Susceptibility Gene for Bronchial Hyperresponsiveness 
Rationale: Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease that affects more than 300 million individuals worldwide. Asthma is caused by interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is a hallmark of asthma and results from increased sensitivity of the airways to physical or chemical stimulants. BHR and asthma are linked to chromosome 5q31-q33.
Objectives: To identify a gene for BHR on chromosome 5q31-q33.
Methods: In 200 Dutch families with asthma, linkage analysis and fine mapping were performed, and the Protocadherin 1 gene (PCDH1) was identified. PCDH1 was resequenced in 96 subjects from ethnically diverse populations to identify novel sequence variants. Subsequent replication studies were undertaken in seven populations from The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including two general population samples, two family samples, and three case-control samples. PCDH1 mRNA and protein expression was investigated using polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry.
Measurements and Main Results: In seven out of eight populations (n = 6,168) from The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States, PCHD1 gene variants were significantly associated with BHR (P values, 0.005–0.05) This association was present in both families with asthma and general populations. PCDH1 mRNA and protein were expressed in airway epithelial cells and in macrophages.
Conclusions: PCDH1 is a novel gene for BHR in adults and children. The identification of PCDH1 as a BHR susceptibility gene may suggest that a structural defect in the integrity of the airway epithelium, the first line of defense against inhaled substances, contributes to the development of BHR.
PMCID: PMC2778155  PMID: 19729670
bronchial hyperresponsiveness; asthma genetics; protocadherin-1; cell adhesion; airway epithelium
8.  Bronchial Hyperresponsiveness to Methacholine and AMP in Children With Atopic Asthma 
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is typically measured by bronchial challenge tests that employ direct stimulation by methacholine or indirect stimulation by adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP). Some studies have shown that the AMP challenge test provides a better reflection of airway inflammation, but few studies have examined the relationship between the AMP and methacholine challenge tests in children with asthma. We investigated the relationship between AMP and methacholine testing in children and adolescents with atopic asthma.
The medical records of 130 children with atopic asthma (mean age, 10.63 years) were reviewed retrospectively. Methacholine and AMP test results, spirometry, skin prick test results, and blood tests for inflammatory markers (total IgE, eosinophils [total count, percent of white blood cells]) were analyzed.
The concentration of AMP that induces a 20% decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] (PC20) of methacholine correlated with the PC20 of AMP (r2=0.189, P<0.001). No significant differences were observed in the levels of inflammatory markers (total eosinophil count, eosinophil percentage, and total IgE) between groups that were positive and negative for BHR to methacholine. However, significant differences in inflammatory markers were observed in groups that were positive and negative for BHR to AMP (log total eosinophil count, P=0.023; log total IgE, P=0.020, eosinophil percentage, P<0.001). In contrast, body mass index (BMI) was significantly different in the methacholine positive and negative groups (P=0.027), but not in the AMP positive and negative groups (P=0.62). The PC20 of methacholine correlated with FEV1, FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC), and maximum mid-expiratory flow (MMEF) (P=0.001, 0.011, 0.001, respectively), and the PC20 of AMP correlated with FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and MMEF (P=0.008, 0.046, 0.001, respectively).
Our results suggest that the AMP and methacholine challenge test results correlated well with respect to determining BHR. The BHR to AMP more likely implicated airway inflammation in children with atopic asthma. In contrast, the BHR to methacholine was related to BMI.
PMCID: PMC3479227  PMID: 23115730
AMP; atopic asthma; bronchial hyper-responsiveness; methacholine
9.  A novel transcription factor inhibitor, SP100030, inhibits cytokine gene expression, but not airway eosinophilia or hyperresponsiveness in sensitized and allergen-exposed rat 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2001;134(5):1029-1036.
We examined the effect of SP100030, a novel inhibitor of activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB transcription factors, in a rat model of asthma.Sensitized Brown-Norway rats were treated with SP100030 (20 mg kg−1 day−1 for 3 days) intraperitoneally prior to allergen challenge. Allergen exposure of sensitized rats induced bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), accumulation of inflammatory cells in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and also an increase in eosinophils and CD2+, CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells in the airways together with mRNA expression for IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IFN-γ.Pre-treatment with SP100030 inhibited BAL lymphocyte influx (P<0.03), specifically reduced CD8+ T-cell infiltration in the airway submucosa (P<0.03), and mRNA expression for IL-2, IL-5, and IL-10 (P<0.05). Neutrophil, eosinophil, and CD4+ T-cells accumulation in the airways and BHR were not affected by SP100030.Our results indicate that suppression of IL-2 and IL-5 mRNA expression may not necessarily lead to suppression of BHR. The expression of IL-5 mRNA may contribute to the airway accumulation of eosinophils, but does not correlate with the extent of eosinophilia.The joint AP-1 and NF-κB inhibitor, SP100030, selectively inhibits CD8+ T-cells, and mRNA expression of both Th1 and Th2 cytokines in vivo, but does not inhibit allergen-induced airway eosinophilia and BHR.
PMCID: PMC1573037  PMID: 11682451
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness; airway inflammation; SP100030; NF-κB; AP-1; Th1 and Th2 cytokines
10.  Pathophysiological characterization of asthma transitions across adolescence 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):153.
Adolescence is a period of change, which coincides with disease remission in a significant proportion of subjects with childhood asthma. There is incomplete understanding of the changing characteristics underlying different adolescent asthma transitions. We undertook pathophysiological characterization of transitional adolescent asthma phenotypes in a longitudinal birth cohort.
The Isle of Wight Birth Cohort (N = 1456) was reviewed at 1, 2, 4, 10 and 18-years. Characterization included questionnaires, skin tests, spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide, bronchial challenge and (in a subset of 100 at 18-years) induced sputum. Asthma groups were “never asthma” (no asthma since birth), “persistent asthma” (asthma at age 10 and 18), “remission asthma” (asthma at age 10 but not at 18) and “adolescent-onset asthma” (asthma at age 18 but not at age 10).
Participants whose asthma remitted during adolescence had lower bronchial reactivity (odds ratio (OR) 0.30; CI 0.10 -0.90; p = 0.03) at age 10 plus greater improvement in lung function (forced expiratory flow 25-75% gain: 1.7 L; 1.0-2.9; p = 0.04) compared to persistent asthma by age 18. Male sex (0.3; 0.1-0.7; p < 0.01) and lower acetaminophen use (0.4; 0.2-0.8; p < 0.01) independently favoured asthma remission, when compared to persistent asthma. Asthma remission had a lower total sputum cell count compared to never asthma (31.5 [25–75 centiles] 12.9-40.4) vs. 47.0 (19.5-181.3); p = 0.03). Sputum examination in adolescent-onset asthma showed eosinophilic airway inflammation (3.0%, 0.7-6.6), not seen in persistent asthma (1.0%, 0–3.9), while remission group had the lowest sputum eosinophil count (0.3%, 0–1.4) and lowest eosinophils/neutrophils ratio of 0.0 (Interquartile range: 0.1).
Asthma remission during adolescence is associated with lower initial BHR and greater gain in small airways function, while adolescent-onset asthma is primarily eosinophilic.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-014-0153-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4256730  PMID: 25472820
11.  Nedocromil sodium inhibits the A23187- and opsonized zymosan-induced leukotriene formation by human eosinophils but not by human neutrophils. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1989;96(3):631-636.
1. Inflammatory cells such as eosinophils and neutrophils are thought to contribute actively to the pathogenesis of asthma by the release of bronchoconstrictor mediators including leukotrienes. Previous studies have revealed the almost exclusive synthesis of leukotriene C4 (LTC4) by human eosinophils and of leukotriene B4 (LTB4), 20-OH-LTB4 and the non-enzymatically formed LTB4-isomers by neutrophils when stimulated in vitro with the calcium ionophore A23187 or opsonized zymosan (OZ). In this study we have investigated whether nedocromil sodium, a new anti-asthma drug, was capable of inhibiting A23187- and OZ-induced leukotriene formation by these cells. 2. Nedocromil sodium inhibited A23187- and OZ-induced LTC4 formation by eosinophils in a concentration-dependent manner (mean IC30 for A23187: 5.6 X 10(-5) M; mean IC30 for OZ: 6.3 X 10(-5) M), whereas it did not inhibit A23187- and OZ-induced LTB4 formation by neutrophils. 3. Extension of the preincubation time of the cells with the drug did not alter the observed inhibitory capacity. The optimal preincubation time was 5 min. 4. The in vitro inhibition of LTC4 formation by eosinophils by nedocromil sodium may be a valuable property of this drug in the treatment of asthma.
PMCID: PMC1854383  PMID: 2541846
12.  Bronchial hyper-responsiveness, subepithelial fibrosis, and transforming growth factor-β1 expression in patients with long-standing and recently diagnosed asthma 
Chronic inflammation in asthmatic airways leads to bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) and the development of structural changes. Important features of remodeling include the formation of subepithelial fibrosis due to increased collagen deposition in the reticular basement membrane. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β might be a central mediator of tissue fibrosis and remodeling.
Materials and Methods:
Immunohistochemistry was used to measure collagen III deposition and TGF-β1 expression in biopsies from patients with long-standing asthma treated with inhaled corticosteroids, patients with recently diagnosed asthma, and control subjects. Computer-assisted image analysis was used to evaluate total basement membrane (TBM) thickness.
Asthmatics, particularly those with long-standing asthma, had thicker TBMs than healthy subjects. Collagen III deposition was comparable in the studied groups. BHR was not correlated with features of mucosal inflammation and was lower in steroid-treated patients with long-standing asthma than in subjects with newly diagnosed asthma untreated with steroids. Epithelial TGF-β1 expression negatively correlated with collagen III deposition and TBM thickness.
The study showed that TBM thickness, but not collagen III deposition, could be a differentiating marker of asthmatics of different disease duration and treatment. The lack of correlation between BHR and features of mucosal inflammation suggests the complexity of BHR development. Corticosteroids can reduce BHR in asthmatics, but it seems to be less effective in reducing subepithelial fibrosis. The role of epithelial TGF-β1 needs to be further investigated since the possibility that it plays a protective and anti-inflammatory role in asthmatic airways cannot be excluded.
PMCID: PMC2805797  PMID: 19043669
bronchial hyper-responsiveness; subepithelial fibrosis; airway remodeling; transforming growth factor-β
13.  Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide and Impulse Oscillometry in Children With Allergic Rhinitis 
Airway inflammation, bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR), and bronchodilator response (BDR) are representative characteristics of asthma. Because allergic rhinitis (AR) is a risk factor for asthma development, we evaluated these 3 characteristics in AR using measurement of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a methacholine challenge test (MCT), and impulse oscillometry (IOS).
This study included 112 children with asthma (asthma group), 196 children with AR (AR group), and 32 control subjects (control group). We compared pulmonary function parameters and FeNO levels among the 3 groups. The AR group was subdivided into 2 categories: the AR group with BHR and the AR group without, and again pulmonary function and FeNO levels were compared between the 2 subgroups.
FeNO levels were more increased in the AR and asthma groups than in the control group; within the AR group, FeNO was higher in the AR group with BHR than in the AR group without. The BDR was more increased in the AR group than in the control group when percent changes in reactance at 5 Hz (Δ X5) and reactance area (Δ AX) were compared. In the AR group, however, there was no difference in Δ X5 and Δ AX between the AR group with BHR and the AR group without.
Reversible airway obstruction on IOS and elevated FeNO levels were observed in children with AR. Because elevated FeNO levels can indicate airway inflammation and because chronic inflammation may lead to BHR, FeNO levels may be associated with BHR in AR. IOS can be a useful tool for detecting lower airway involvement of AR independent of BHR assessed in the MCT.
PMCID: PMC3881396  PMID: 24404390
Asthma; allergic rhinitis; bronchial hyper-responsiveness; bronchodilator effect; child; nitric oxide
14.  Bronchial hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation, and reversibility in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), sputum eosinophilia, and bronchial reversibility are often thought to be a hallmark of asthma, yet it has been shown to occur in COPD as well.
To evaluate the relationship between BHR, lung function, and airway inflammation in COPD patients.
Thirty-one, steroid-free patients with stable, mild and moderate COPD were studied. The following tests were carried out: baseline lung function, reversibility, provocative dose of methacholine causing a 20% fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 second, a COPD symptom score, and sputum induction.
Twenty-nine patients completed the procedures. About 41.4% had BHR, 31.0% had increased sputum eosinophils, and 37.9% had bronchial reversibility. Some of the patients had only one of these characteristics while others had two or the three of them. Patients with BHR had higher sputum eosinophils than patients without BHR (P=0.046) and those with sputum eosinophils ≥3% had more exacerbations in the previous year and a higher COPD symptom score than patients with sputum eosinophils <3% (P=0.019 and P=0.031, respectively). In patients with BHR, the cumulative dose of methacholine was negatively related to the symptom score and the number of exacerbations in the previous year. When patients with bronchial reversibility were considered, bronchodilation was positively related to sputum eosinophils.
Our study showed that BHR, sputum eosinophilia, and bronchial reversibility were not clustered in one single phenotype of COPD but could be present alone or together. Of interest, BHR and airway eosinophilia were associated with clinical data in terms of exacerbations and symptoms. Further investigation is needed to clarify this topic.
PMCID: PMC4476439  PMID: 26124655
hyperreactivity; methacholine; exacerbations; sputum eosinophilia; COPD
15.  Bronchial hyperresponsiveness in lung transplant recipients: lack of correlation with airway inflammation 
Thorax  1997;52(6):551-556.
BACKGROUND: Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) to methacholine has been reported to occur in most lung transplant recipients. BHR to physical stimuli such as exercise and non-isotonic aerosols has not been as extensively studied in this subject population. This report aims to assess the presence and degree of BHR to methacholine and hypertonic saline in stable lung transplant recipients and to relate it to the presence of airway inflammation. METHODS: Ten patients undergoing bilateral sequential lung transplantation and six heart-lung transplant recipients, all with stable lung function, were recruited 66- 1167 days following transplantation. Subjects underwent a methacholine challenge and bronchoscopy for sampling of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, transbronchial and endobronchial biopsy tissues. Hypertonic saline challenge was performed six days later. RESULTS: Nine of the 16 transplant recipients had positive methacholine challenges (geometric mean PD20 0.18 mg, interquartile range 0.058-0.509) and three of these subjects also had positive hypertonic saline challenges (PD15 = 2.3, 33.0, and 51.5 ml). No clear relationship was found between BHR to either methacholine or hypertonic saline and levels of mast cells, eosinophils or lymphocytes in samples of biopsy tissue or lavage fluid. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the lung transplant recipients studied were responsive to methacholine and unresponsive to hypertonic saline. BHR was not clearly related to airway inflammation, suggesting an alternative mechanism for BHR following lung transplantation from that usually assumed in asthma. 

PMCID: PMC1758572  PMID: 9227723
16.  Cromoglycate drugs suppress eicosanoid generation in U937 cells by promoting the release of Anx-A1 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2009;77(12):1814-1826.
Graphical abstract
Using biochemical, epifluorescence and electron microscopic techniques in a U937 model system, we investigated the effect of anti-allergic drugs di-sodium cromoglycate and sodium nedocromil on the trafficking and release of the anti-inflammatory protein Annexin-A1 (Anx-A1) when this was triggered by glucocorticoid (GC) treatment. GCs alone produced a rapid (within 5 min) concentration-dependent activation of PKCα/β (Protein Kinase C; EC and phosphorylation of Anx-A1 on Ser27. Both phosphoproteins accumulated at the plasma membrane and Anx-A1 was subsequently externalised thereby inhibiting thromboxane (Tx) B2 generation. When administered alone, cromoglycate or nedocromil had little effect on this pathway however, in the presence of a fixed sub-maximal concentration of GCs, increasing amounts of the cromoglycate-like drugs caused a striking concentration-dependent enhancement of Anx-A1 and PKCα/β phosphorylation, membrane recruitment and Anx-A1 release from cells resulting in greatly enhanced inhibition of TxB2 generation. GCs also stimulated phosphatase accumulation at the plasma membrane of U937 cells. Both cromoglycate and nedocromil inhibited this enzymatic activity as well as that of a highly purified PP2A phosphatase preparation. We conclude that stimulation by the cromoglycate-like drugs of intracellular Anx-A1 trafficking and release (hence inhibition of eicosanoid release) is secondary to inhibition of a phosphatase PP2A (phosphoprotein phosphatase; EC, which probably forms part of a control loop to limit Anx-A1 release. These experiments provide a basis for a novel mechanism of action for the cromolyns, a group of drugs that have long puzzled investigators.
PMCID: PMC2888050  PMID: 19428336
Sodium nedocromil; Glucocorticoids; Okadaic acid; PKC; PP2A phosphatase
17.  Effects of Respiratory Mycoplasma pneumoniae Infection on Allergen-Induced Bronchial Hyperresponsiveness and Lung Inflammation in Mice  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(3):1520-1526.
Airway mycoplasma infection may be associated with asthma pathophysiology. However, the direct effects of mycoplasma infection on asthma remain unknown. Using a murine allergic-asthma model, we evaluated the effects of different timing of airway Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection on bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), lung inflammation, and the protein levels of Th1 (gamma interferon [IFN-γ]) and Th2 (interleukin 4 [IL-4]) cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. When mycoplasma infection occurred 3 days before allergen (ovalbumin) sensitization and challenge, the infection reduced the BHR and inflammatory-cell influx into the lung. This was accompanied by a significant induction of Th1 responses (increased IFN-γ and decreased IL-4 production). Conversely, when mycoplasma infection occurred 2 days after allergen sensitization and challenge, the infection initially caused a temporary reduction of BHR and then increased BHR, lung inflammation, and IL-4 levels. Our data suggest that mycoplasma infection could modulate both physiological and immunological responses in the murine asthma model. Our animal models may also provide a new means to understand the role of infection in asthma pathogenesis and give evidence for the asthma hygiene hypothesis.
PMCID: PMC148884  PMID: 12595471
18.  Randomised placebo-controlled study of the effect of paracetamol on asthma severity in adults 
BMJ Open  2014;4(2):e004324.
To investigate the effect of regular paracetamol on bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) and asthma control in adult asthma.
Single research-based outpatient clinic.
94 adults with mild-to-moderate asthma received randomised treatment; 85 completed the study. Key inclusion criteria were age 18–65 years, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) >70% predicted, provocation concentration of methacholine causing a 20% reduction in FEV1 (PC20) between 0.125 and 16 mg/mL. Key exclusion criteria included an asthma exacerbation within the previous 2 months, current regular use of paracetamol, use of high-dose aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, current or past cigarette smoking >10 pack-years.
In a 12-week randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, participants received 12 weeks of 1 g paracetamol twice daily or placebo twice daily.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The primary outcome variable was BHR, measured as the PC20 at week 12. Secondary outcome variables included FEV1, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and asthma control questionnaire (ACQ) score.
At 12 weeks, the mean (SD) logarithm base two PC20 was 1.07 (2.36) in the control group (N=54) and 0.62 (2.09) in the paracetamol group (N=31). After controlling for baseline PC20, the mean difference (paracetamol minus placebo) was −0.48 doubling dose worsening in BHR in the paracetamol group (95% CI −1.28 to 0.32), p=0.24. There were no statistically significant differences (paracetamol minus placebo) in log FeNO (0.09 (95% CI −0.097 to 0.27)), FEV1 (−0.07 L (95% CI −0.15 to 0.01)) or ACQ score (−0.04 (95% CI −0.27 to 0.18)).
There was no significant effect of paracetamol on BHR and asthma control in adults with mild-to-moderate asthma. However, the study findings are limited by low power and the upper confidence limits did not rule out clinically relevant adverse effects.
Trial Registration
Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number: NZCTR12609000551291.
PMCID: PMC3927716  PMID: 24525393
19.  Inhibition by the immunosuppressive agent FK-506 of antigen-induced airways eosinophilia and bronchial hyperreactivity in mice 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1996;120(1):130-136.
The effect of the immunosuppressive agent, FK-506, on allergen-induced airways eosinophilia and bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR) in hyper IgE mice (BP2 selection) was investigated.Administration of FK-506 at 2 mg kg−1 s.c., 1 h before and 5 h after the first of four ovalbumin challenges, reduced the recruitment of eosinophils into the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from 1.36±0.22×105 to 0.53±0.24×105 cells ml−1 (n=5–6, P<0.05; 60% inhibition), inhibited by 80% BHR in response to i.v. 5-HT and practically suppressed BHR in response to inhaled methacholine.The antigen-induced interleukin (IL)-5 formation in the BALF and serum was inhibited by FK-506 by 75% in both instances.FK-506 failed to modify the bronchoconstriction in BP2 mice, suggesting that different mechanisms are involved in acute bronchoconstriction and BHR.The increased number of CD4+, CD8+, CD3+ T lymphocytes in the BALF of antigen-challenged mice was unaffected by FK-506.These findings indicate that antigen-induced in vivo IL-5 release and eosinophil, but not T-cell, infiltration into the bronchial lumen of sensitized BP2 mice are targets for the anti-allergic activities of FK-506.
PMCID: PMC1564338  PMID: 9117088
Asthma; T lymphocytes; IL-5; eosinophils; bronchial hyperreactivity in mice; immunosuppression
20.  Associations of airway inflammation and responsiveness markers in non asthmatic subjects at start of apprenticeship 
Bronchial Hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is considered a hallmark of asthma. Other methods are helpful in epidemiological respiratory health studies including Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FENO) and Eosinophils Percentage (EP) in nasal lavage fluid measuring markers for airway inflammation along with the Forced Oscillatory Technique measuring Airway resistance (AR). Can their outcomes discriminate profiles of respiratory health in healthy subjects starting apprenticeship in occupations with a risk of asthma?
Rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma-like symptoms, FEV1 and AR post-Methacholine Bronchial Challenge (MBC) test results, FENO measurements and EP were all investigated in apprentice bakers, pastry-makers and hairdressers not suffering from asthma. Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) was simultaneously conducted in relation to these groups and this generated a synthetic partition (EI). Associations between groups of subjects based on BHR and EI respectively, as well as risk factors, symptoms and investigations were also assessed.
Among the 441 apprentice subjects, 45 (10%) declared rhinoconjunctivitis-like symptoms, 18 (4%) declared asthma-like symptoms and 26 (6%) suffered from BHR. The mean increase in AR post-MBC test was 21% (sd = 20.8%). The median of FENO values was 12.6 ppb (2.6-132 range). Twenty-six subjects (6.7%) had EP exceeding 14%. BHR was associated with atopy (p < 0.01) and highest FENO values (p = 0.09). EI identified 39 subjects with eosinophilic inflammation (highest values of FENO and eosinophils), which was associated with BHR and atopy.
Are any of the identified markers predictive of increased inflammatory responsiveness or of development of symptoms caused by occupational exposures? Analysis of population follow-up will attempt to answer this question.
PMCID: PMC2913998  PMID: 20604945
21.  A double blind placebo controlled group comparative study of ophthalmic sodium cromoglycate and nedocromil sodium in the treatment of vernal keratoconjunctivitis. 
In a 4 week double masked comparative study, patients received 2% nedocromil sodium (48), 2% sodium cromoglycate (48), or placebo eye drops (42), four times daily, for the treatment of vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC). Clinical examinations of eye condition and symptom severity were made before and after a 1 week baseline before starting test treatment, and after 1, 2, and 4 weeks of treatment. Patients kept daily diary card records of symptom severity and concomitant therapy. At the clinic, significant improvements were seen with both active treatments after 2-4 weeks. During the final visit, significant benefits over placebo were recorded for five ocular signs with nedocromil sodium and three with sodium cromoglycate, bulbar and lower tarsal chemosis being better controlled by nedocromil sodium (p < 0.05 v sodium cromoglycate). Diary card trends showed improvement with all three treatments, which was greatest with nedocromil sodium and least with placebo. Compared with placebo, both the active drugs produced statistically significant improvements in general eye condition during weeks 1-2, and nedocromil sodium significantly reduced itching within the first week. Overall, nedocromil sodium had the greatest effect on symptoms, although diary card data revealed no statistically significant differences between the two active drugs. In conclusion, both 2% nedocromil sodium and 2% sodium cromoglycate were effective in controlling VKC when administered four times daily into the eyes, while the marked anti-inflammatory activity of nedocromil sodium was apparent in its more pronounced overall therapeutic effect.
PMCID: PMC504789  PMID: 8025071
22.  Asthma and other wheezing disorders in children 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2006;2006:0302.
Asthma is more common in children with a personal or family history of atopy, increased severity and frequency of wheezing episodes, and presence of variable airway obstruction or bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Precipitating factors for symptoms and acute episodes include infection, house dust mites, allergens from pet animals, exposure to tobacco smoke, and anxiety.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments for acute asthma in children? What are the effects of single-agent prophylaxis in children taking as-needed inhaled beta agonists for asthma? What are the effects of additional prophylactic treatments in childhood asthma inadequately controlled by standard-dose inhaled corticosteroids? What are the effects of treatments and of prophylactic treatments for acute wheezing in infants? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to October 2005 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 84 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: beta2 agonists (high-dose nebulised, long-acting [inhaled salmeterol], short-acting [oral salbutamol or by nebuliser, or metered-dose inhaler/spacer versus nebuliser]), corticosteroids (oral prednisolone, systemic, inhaled higher or lower doses [beclometasone]), ipratropium bromide (single or multiple dose inhaled), leukotriene receptor antagonists (oral montelukast), nedocromil (inhaled), oxygen, sodium cromoglycate (inhaled), or theophylline (oral or intravenous).
Key Points
Childhood asthma can be difficult to distinguish from viral wheeze and can affect up to 20% of children.
The consensus is that oxygen, high dose nebulised beta2 agonists and systemic corticosteroids should be used to treat an acute asthma attack. High dose beta2 agonists may be equally effective when given intermittently or continuously via a nebuliser, or from a metered dose inhaler using a spacer, in children with an acute asthma attack.Admission to hospital may be averted by adding ipratropium bromide to beta2 agonists, or by using high dose nebulised or oral corticosteroids.
Prophylactic inhaled corticosteroids improve symptoms and lung function in children with asthma. Their effect on final adult height is unclear. Inhaled nedocromil, inhaled long acting beta2 agonists, oral theophylline and oral leukotriene receptor antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids.Inhaled sodium cromoglycate does not seem to improve symptoms.
CAUTION: Monotherapy with long acting beta2 agonists reduces the frequency of asthma episodes, but may increase the chance of severe asthma episodes and death when those episodes occur. Intravenous theophylline may improve lung function in children with severe asthma, but can cause cardiac arrhythmias and convulsions.
We don't know whether adding higher doses of corticosteroids, long acting beta2 agonists, oral leukotriene receptor antagonists or oral theophylline to standard treatment improves symptoms or lung function in children with uncontrolled asthma.
In infants with acute wheeze, short acting beta2 agonists via a nebuliser or a spacer may improve symptoms, but we don't know whether high dose inhaled or oral corticosteroids or inhaled ipratropium bromide are beneficial.
Oral short acting beta2 agonists and inhaled high dose corticosteroids may prevent or improve wheeze in infants but can cause adverse effects. We don't know whether lower dose inhaled or oral corticosteroids, inhaled ipratropium bromide or inhaled short acting beta2 agonists improve wheezing episodes in infants.
PMCID: PMC2907635
23.  Inhaled sodium metabisulphite induced bronchoconstriction: inhibition by nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate. 
1. The effects of nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate on bronchoconstriction induced by inhaled sodium metabisulphite have been studied in eight atopic subjects, three of whom had mild asthma. 2. Nedocromil sodium (4 mg, 7.8 X 10(-6) M), sodium cromoglycate (10 mg, 24.1 X 10(-6) M) and matched placebo were administered by identical metered dose inhalers 30 min before a dose-response to sodium metabisulphite (5-100 mg ml-1) was performed. 3. Maximum fall in sGaw after placebo pre-treatment was -43.9 +/- 3.3% baseline (mean +/- s.e. mean). At the same metabisulphite concentration maximum fall in sGaw after sodium cromoglycate was -13.0 +/- 3.6% and after nedocromil sodium was +4.3 +/- 6.8%. Nedocromil sodium prevented any significant fall in sGaw even after higher concentrations of metabisulphite. 4. Both nedocromil sodium, 4 mg, and sodium cromoglycate, 10 mg, inhibited sodium metabisulphite induced bronchoconstriction but nedocromil sodium was significantly more effective. Relative in vivo potency of the two drugs is broadly in line with other in vivo and in vitro studies.
PMCID: PMC1368138  PMID: 2171616
24.  Allergic rhinitis and asthma: inflammation in a one-airway condition 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2006;6(Suppl 1):S5.
Allergic rhinitis and asthma are conditions of airway inflammation that often coexist.
In susceptible individuals, exposure of the nose and lungs to allergen elicits early phase and late phase responses. Contact with antigen by mast cells results in their degranulation, the release of selected mediators, and the subsequent recruitment of other inflammatory cell phenotypes. Additional proinflammatory mediators are released, including histamine, prostaglandins, cysteinyl leukotrienes, proteases, and a variety of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors. Nasal biopsies in allergic rhinitis demonstrate accumulations of mast cells, eosinophils, and basophils in the epithelium and accumulations of eosinophils in the deeper subepithelium (that is, lamina propria). Examination of bronchial tissue, even in mild asthma, shows lymphocytic inflammation enriched by eosinophils. In severe asthma, the predominant pattern of inflammation changes, with increases in the numbers of neutrophils and, in many, an extension of the changes to involve smaller airways (that is, bronchioli). Structural alterations (that is, remodeling) of bronchi in mild asthma include epithelial fragility and thickening of its reticular basement membrane. With increasing severity of asthma there may be increases in airway smooth muscle mass, vascularity, interstitial collagen, and mucus-secreting glands. Remodeling in the nose is less extensive than that of the lower airways, but the epithelial reticular basement membrane may be slightly but significantly thickened.
Inflammation is a key feature of both allergic rhinitis and asthma. There are therefore potential benefits for application of anti-inflammatory strategies that target both these anatomic sites.
PMCID: PMC1698498  PMID: 17140423
25.  Effects of sodium cromoglycate and nedocromil sodium on histamine secretion from human lung mast cells. 
Thorax  1988;43(10):756-761.
Sodium cromoglycate and nedocromil sodium produced a dose dependent inhibition of histamine secretion from human pulmonary mast cells obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage and by enzymatic dissociation of lung parenchyma. Both compounds were significantly more active against the lavage cells than against the dispersed lung cells, and nedocromil sodium was an order of magnitude more effective than sodium cromoglycate against both cell types. Tachyphylaxis was observed with the parenchymal cells but not with the lavage cells. Nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglycate also inhibited histamine release from the lavage cells of patients with sarcoidosis and extrinsic asthma.
PMCID: PMC461499  PMID: 2462755

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