Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is an important pathophysiological feature of asthma. In addition to the diagnostic significance, BHR is associated with the severity of airway inflammation and BHR- based treatment approaches has been shown to be effective. Nevertheless, challenge tests are time consuming, inconvenient to patients, and are not accessible in every primary care physicians. We aimed to develop a questionnaire for the assessment of BHR in Korean subjects.
From the 24 University-affiliated hospitals, we recruited 149 adults between age 20 and 40 years with more than one asthmatic symptom (cough, sputum or dyspnea) and who had bronchial provocation test. A list of 33 symptoms, past history of allergy or smoking and 10 provoking stimuli were selected for the BHR questionnaire. After a methacholine challenge test patients were asked to complete each questionnaire. For each item of questionnaire, diagnostic odds ratios for the presence of BHR were calculated and multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to select final questionnaire items. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the selected questionnaire items.
Methacholine challenge test was positive in 36 patients (24.2%). Eleven symptoms and 2 provoking stimuli items were statistically significant by the results of diagnostic odds ratio. According to the result of multiple logistic regression analysis, 4 items were finally selected for the significant BHR questionnaire: the presence of wheezing episode, past history of physician-diagnosed asthma, family history of asthma. The psychiatric stress was negatively associated provoking stimuli item for the presence of BHR. The area under the ROC curve was 0.80 (95% CI, 0.72-0.86). Sensitivity was 84.9% (95% CI, 68.1-94.9) and specificity was 65.5% (95% CI, 55.8-74.3).
Four BHR questionnaire items including wheezing episode, past history of physician-diagnosed asthma, family history of asthma and psyachiatric stress stimuli were able to assess the presence of BHR in Korean adults.
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is a common feature of asthma. However, BHR is also present in asymptomatic individuals and its clinical and prognostic significance is unclear. We hypothesised that BHR might play a role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as asthma.
In 1991 respiratory symptoms and BHR to methacholine were evaluated in 7126 of the 9651 participants in the SAPALDIA cohort study. Eleven years later 5825 of these participants were re‐evaluated, of whom 4852 performed spirometric tests. COPD was defined as an FEV1/FVC ratio of <0.70.
In 1991 17% of participants had BHR, of whom 51% were asymptomatic. Eleven years later the prevalence of asthma, wheeze, and shortness of breath in formerly asymptomatic subjects with or without BHR was, respectively, 5.7% v 2.0%, 8.3% v 3.4%, and 19.1% v 11.9% (all p<0.001). Similar differences were observed for chronic cough (5.9% v 2.3%; p = 0.002) and COPD (37.9% v 14.3%; p<0.001). BHR conferred an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 2.9 (95% CI 1.8 to 4.5) for wheezing at follow up among asymptomatic participants. The adjusted OR for COPD was 4.5 (95% CI 3.3 to 6.0). Silent BHR was associated with a significantly accelerated decline in FEV1 by 12 (5–18), 11 (5–16), and 4 (2–8) ml/year in current smokers, former smokers and never smokers, respectively, at SAPALDIA 2.
BHR is a risk factor for an accelerated decline in FEV1 and the development of asthma and COPD, irrespective of atopic status. Current smokers with BHR have a particularly high loss of FEV1.
bronchial hyperresponsiveness; asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; smoking; epidemiological study
There are increasing evidences that allergic rhinitis (AR) may influence the clinical course of asthma. We conducted methacholine challenge test and nasal eosinophils on nasal smear to patients with allergic rhinitis in order to investigate the mechanism of connecting upper and lower airway inflammation in 35 patients with AR during exacerbation. The methacholine concentration causing a 20% fall in FEV1 (PC20) was used as thresholds of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR). Thresholds of 25 mg/dL or less were assumed to indicate BHR. All patients had normal pulmonary function. Significant differences in BHR were detected in the comparison of patients with cough or postnasal drip and without cough or postnasal drip. There were significant differences of PC20 between patients with cough or postnasal drip and those without cough or postnasal drip (3.41+/-3.59 mg/mL vs 10.2+/-1.2 mg/mL, p=0.001). The levels of total IgE were higher in patients with seasonal AR than in patients with perennial AR with exacerbation (472.5+/-132.5 IU/L vs. 389.0+/-70.9 IU/L, p<0.05). Nasal eosinophils were closely related to log PC20 (r=-0.65, p<0.01). These findings demonstrated that nasal eosinophilic inflammation might contribute to BHR in patients with AR.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the effect of occupation on respiratory symptoms in a randomly selected adult population aged 20-44 years. METHODS: It is based on the phase II sampling of the New Zealand part of the European Community respiratory health survey. 1609 people (63.9% response rate) completed a detailed respiratory questionnaire. Of those responding, 1174 (73%) underwent skin tests and 1126 (70%) attended to undergo methacholine bronchial challenge. Current occupation was recorded and a previous occupation was also recorded if it had led to respiratory problems. 21 occupational groups were used for analysis for the five definitions of asthma wheezing in the previous 12 months; symptoms related to asthma; bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR); BHR with wheezing in the previous 12 months; and BHR with symptoms related to asthma. RESULTS: Prevalence odds ratios (ORs) were significantly increased for farmers and farm workers (OR 4.16, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.33 to 13.1 for the combination of wheezing and BHR). Increased risks of prevalence of asthma were also found for laboratory technicians, food processors (other than bakers), chemical workers, and plastic and rubber workers. Workers had also been divided into high and low risk exposure categories according to relevant publications. The prevalence of wheezing was greater in the high risk group (OR 1.57, 95% CI 0.83 to 2.95) than in the low risk group. Atopy was associated with asthma, but the prevalence of atopy did not differ significantly between occupational exposure groups. The attributable risk of wheezing that occurred after the age of 15 years and that was estimated to be due to occupational exposure (based on the defined high risk group) was 1.9%, but this increased to 3.1% when farmers and food processors (other than bakers) were also included in the high risk group. CONCLUSIONS: This population based study has identified certain occupations significantly associated with combinations of asthmatic symptoms and BHR.
We previously demonstrated in a group of patients with perennial allergic rhinitis alone impairment of spirometric parameters and high percentage of subjects with bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR). The present study aimed at evaluating a group of polysensitized subjects suffering from allergic rhinitis alone to investigate the presence of spirometric impairment and BHR during the pollen season.
One hundred rhinitics sensitized both to pollen and perennial allergens were evaluated during the pollen season. Spirometry and methacholine bronchial challenge were performed.
Six rhinitics showed impaired values of FEV1 without referred symptoms of asthma. FEF 25–75 values were impaired in 28 rhinitics. Sixty-six patients showed positive methacholine bronchial challenge. FEF 25–75 values were impaired only in BHR positive patients (p < 0.001). A significant difference was observed both for FEV1 (p < 0.05) and FEF 25–75 (p < 0.001) considering BHR severity.
This study evidences that an impairment of spirometric parameters may be observed in polysensitized patients with allergic rhinitis alone during the pollen season. A high percentage of these patients had BHR. A close relationship between upper and lower airways is confirmed.
allergic rhinitis; polysensitization; bronchial hyperreactivity; methacholine challenge; FEF 25–75
BACKGROUND: Children who suffer from recurrent wheezy episodes are often promptly classified as asthmatic. The aim of this study was to evaluate a population of mild wheezy children with repeatedly normal spirometric tests at rest for atopy, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and peak expiratory flow variability. METHODS: Thirty nine children aged 6-16 years with 1-12 wheezy attacks during the previous year were recruited from a community paediatric primary health care clinic serving an urban Israeli population. The conditions for inclusion were a physician-diagnosed wheeze on auscultation and normal spirometric tests at rest on at least three occasions. Evaluation included skin prick tests for atopy and a physician-completed questionnaire. In addition, two tests of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) were performed--namely, exercise-induced bronchospasm and inhaled methacholine hyperresponsiveness--as well as diurnal variability of peak expiratory flow (PV). RESULTS: One or more tests of BHR/PV were positive in 27 (69%) but repeatedly negative in 12 (31%). In terms of frequency of wheezing attacks, atopy, and questionnaire responses, there were no differences between BHR/PV and non-BHR/PV children, with the exception of a history of chest radiography proven pneumonia (only noted in the BHR/PV group). Overall, evidence of atopy (mainly indoor allergens) was noted in 21 (56%) of those tested and parental smoking in 29 (74%) of households. Thirty-two (82%) of the children complained of an exercise-related wheeze, yet exercise-induced bronchospasm was only demonstrated in nine (23%). CONCLUSIONS: This selected group of wheezy children appears to be intermediate between a normal and clearly asthmatic population and, despite the recurrent wheezy attacks, some should probably not be classified as asthmatic by conventional criteria. Important aetiological factors in the symptomatology of these children may include parental smoking and atopy as well as other elements such as viral infections.
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.
Background: Treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with inhaled corticosteroids does not appear to be as effective as similar treatment of asthma. It seems that only certain subgroups of patients with COPD benefit from steroid treatment. A study was undertaken to examine whether inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP) had an effect on lung function and on indices of inflammation in a subgroup of COPD patients with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR).
Methods: Twenty three patients with COPD were studied. Patients had to be persistent current smokers between 40 and 70 years of age. Non-specific BHR was defined as a PC20 for histamine of ≤8 mg/ml. Patients received either 2 x 500 µg FP or placebo for 6 months. Expiratory volumes were measured at monthly visits, BHR was determined at the start of the study and after 3 and 6 months, and bronchial biopsy specimens were taken at the start and after 6 months of treatment. Biopsy specimens from asymptomatic smokers served as controls.
Results: In contrast to asthma, indices of BHR were not significantly influenced by treatment with FP. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) showed a steep decline in the placebo group but remained stable in patients treated with FP. FEV1/FVC, and maximal expiratory flows at 50% and 25% FVC (MEF50, MEF25) were significantly increased in the FP treated patients compared with the placebo group. Biopsy specimens were analysed for the presence of CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, MBP+, CD15+, CD68+, CD1a, and tryptase cells. FP treatment resulted in marginal reductions in these indices of inflammation.
Conclusion: In patients with COPD and BHR, FP has a positive effect on indices of lung function compared with placebo. Bronchial inflammation analysed in bronchial biopsy specimens is only marginally reduced.
3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), are effective serum cholesterol-lowering agents which also have anti-inflammatory properties. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of atorvastatin on bronchial hyperresponsiveness.
Adult patients (age 14 to 65 years) with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) diagnosis based on the spirometry with methacholine challenge test were entered into the study. The study was conducted in the National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Patients were randomized to receive either atorvastatin 20 mg/day or placebo for 4 weeks. Spirometric parameters were determined at baseline and at completion of the study. Twenty two patients with the age of 32.95±10.30 years completed the trial.
Changes in airway responsiveness categories (moderate to severe, mild, borderline, normal) after the intervention were not significant in atorvastatin group as in placebo group (p-value= 0.131 for atorvastatin group and p-value = 0.305 for placebo group). Also, changes in methacholine solution number (different concentrations of methacholine) which caused at least 20% decrease in FEV1 were not significant between groups (p-value = 0.089). Although we could not find a significant difference, the patients’ fall in FEV1 in atorvastatin group was observed in higher concentrations of methacholine. Median before treatment versus after treatment in atorvastatin group was 1 versus 4 mg/mL, while those were 2 versus 1 mg/mL in placebo group.
This study showed a better but not significant hyperresponsiveness control in the treatment group. The result might be presented more pronounced, if we could increase the sample size.
Bronchial hyperresponsiveness; Atorvastatin; Methacholine; Clinical Trial; Lung function; Statin
The assessment of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is considered essential for determining asthma diagnosis and asthma control. Recently a specific-condition questionnaire was developed on this purpose for asthma patients in primary care practice (Riemersa et al., 2009). The aim of the present study is to validate the BHR questionnaire in a Greek population.
Patients and methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Asthma Outpatient clinic of the Pulmonary Department, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Inclusion criteria were males and females, age 14 to 75, with recent history of asthma symptoms and without any other known respiratory/systemic disease that might affect BHR. During patient assessment, translated copies of the BHR questionnaire (BHRQ) were delivered to eligible subjects who had given informed consent. The gold standard method selected to validate the BHRQ was the mannitol challenge test.
Sixty-two patients in total (21 males and 41 females) were recruited: mean age 34±14.9 years, mean total score of the questionnaire 54.39±40.88 years and mean subscores for symptoms and stimuli 28.29±19.97 and 26.10±24.07 years respectively. During mannitol challenge subjects showed a mean fall of FEV1 of 13.41±6.97% from baseline and a mean provocative dose of mannitol, PD15 of 373.11±240.92 mg. Spearman’s rank correlations among variables have shown significant positive correlations among all score variables and negative correlations among the scores and the mannitol test variables. Construct validity was assessed with principal component analysis and managed to identify one underlying factor that explains 42.4% of the variance. The reliability of the questionnaire, as estimated with Cronbach’s alpha, was 0.957, which is considered to be a very good reliability regarding the internal consistency of the questionnaire items. Receiver Operating Curve (ROC) analysis has determined a cut off value of 26 of the total score for BHR response with sensitivity of 78.6% and specificity of 55%.
It is the first time that a BHR questionnaire was validated in a Greek population and it has been shown to be a usable and valid tool for assessing BHR in primary care practice.
Asthma can be difficult to diagnose, but bronchial provocation with methacholine, exercise or mannitol is helpful when used to identify bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), a key feature of the disease. The utility of these tests in subjects with signs and symptoms of asthma but without a clear diagnosis has not been investigated. We investigated the sensitivity and specificity of mannitol to identify exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) as a manifestation of BHR; compared this with methacholine; and compared the sensitivity and specificity of mannitol and methacholine for a clinician diagnosis of asthma.
509 people (6–50 yr) were enrolled, 78% were atopic, median FEV1 92.5% predicted, and a low NAEPPII asthma score of 1.2. Subjects with symptoms of seasonal allergy were excluded. BHR to exercise was defined as a ≥ 10% fall in FEV1 on at least one of two tests, to methacholine a PC20 ≤ 16 mg/ml and to mannitol a 15% fall in FEV1 at ≤ 635 mg or a 10% fall between doses. The clinician diagnosis of asthma was made on examination, history, skin tests, questionnaire and response to exercise but they were blind to the mannitol and methacholine results.
Mannitol and methacholine were therapeutically equivalent to identify EIB, a clinician diagnosis of asthma, and prevalence of BHR. The sensitivity/specificity of mannitol to identify EIB was 59%/65% and for methacholine it was 56%/69%. The BHR was mild. Mean EIB % fall in FEV1 in subjects positive to exercise was 19%, (SD 9.2), mannitol PD15 158 (CI:129,193) mg, and methacholine PC20 2.1(CI:1.7, 2.6)mg/ml. The prevalence of BHR was the same: for exercise (43.5%), mannitol (44.8%), and methacholine (41.6%) with a test agreement between 62 & 69%. The sensitivity and specificity for a clinician diagnosis of asthma was 56%/73% for mannitol and 51%/75% for methacholine. The sensitivity increased to 73% and 72% for mannitol and methacholine when two exercise tests were positive.
In this group with normal FEV1, mild symptoms, and mild BHR, the sensitivity and specificity for both mannitol and methacholine to identify EIB and a clinician diagnosis of asthma were equivalent, but lower than previously documented in well-defined populations.
This was a multi-center trial comprising 25 sites across the United States of America. (NCT0025229).
Rationale: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is associated with increased reports of respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function, but the long-term effects of ETS are unclear, notably in healthy individuals with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR).
Objective: To assess the longitudinal effects of ETS exposure on the development of respiratory symptoms and spirometry in subjects with BHR.
Methods: The study population included 1,661 never-smokers from the SAPALDIA (Swiss Study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults) cohort, assessed in 1991 (baseline) and 11 yr later, who were symptom-free at baseline. Incident reports of respiratory symptoms and results of spirometry were assessed at the follow-up survey.
Main Results: Exposure to ETS reported in the two surveys was strongly associated with the development of cough (odds ratio, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–3.7; p = 0.01). In subjects with BHR exposed to ETS at both surveys, a trend for strong associations were observed for wheeze, cough, dyspnea, and chronic bronchitis; however, the association reached statistical significance only for the symptom of dyspnea (p < 0.01). Lower FEV1/FVC (mean ± SD, 72.9 ± 7.7 vs. 76.8 ± 6.1%; p < 0.01) and FEF25–75 (forced expiratory flow, midexpiratory phase)/FVC (mean ± SD, 56.1 ± 22.5 vs. 68.1 ± 21.6%; p < 0.01) were observed in subjects with BHR exposed to ETS compared with nonexposed subjects without BHR. Lower values were found in subjects continuing exposure by the follow-up survey.
Conclusion: Exposure to ETS was strongly associated with the development of respiratory symptoms in previously asymptomatic subjects with BHR within 11 yr. Furthermore, subjects with underlying BHR had reduced lung function at follow-up, thus suggesting a higher risk for the development of chronic respiratory disease in this subset of the population.
bronchial hyperreactivity; cohort studies; environmental tobacco smoke; lung function; respiratory symptoms
To evaluate the sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of spirometry for the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma in patients suspected of suffering from an obstructive airway disease (OAD) in primary care.
Cross sectional diagnostic study of 219 adult patients attending 10 general practices for the first time with complaints suspicious for OAD. All patients underwent spirometry and structured medical histories were documented. All patients received whole-body plethysmography (WBP) in a lung function laboratory. The reference standard was the Tiffeneau ratio (FEV1/VC) received by the spirometric maneuver during examination with WBP. In the event of inconclusive results, bronchial provocation was performed to determine bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR). Asthma was defined as a PC20 fall after inhaling methacholine concentration ≤ 16 mg/ml.
90 (41.1%) patients suffered from asthma, 50 (22.8%) suffered from COPD, 79 (36.1%) had no OAD. The sensitivity for diagnosing airway obstruction in COPD was 92% (95%CI 80–97); specificity was 84% (95%CI 77–89). The positive predictive value (PPV) was 63% (95%CI 51–73); negative predictive value (NPV) was 97% (95%CI 93–99). The sensitivity for diagnosing airway obstruction in asthma was 29% (95%CI 21–39); specificity was 90% (95%CI 81–95). PPV was 77% (95%CI 60–88); NPV was 53% (95%CI 45–61).
COPD can be estimated with high diagnostic accuracy using spirometry. It is also possible to rule in asthma with spirometry. However, asthma can not be ruled out only using spirometry. This diagnostic uncertainty leads to an overestimation of asthma presence. Patients with inconclusive spirometric results should be referred for nitric oxide (NO) – measurement and/or bronchial provocation if possible to guarantee accurate diagnosis.
Identification of the risk factors for bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) would increase the understanding of the causes of asthma. The relationship between physical activity and BHR in men and women aged 28.0–56.5 years randomly selected from 24 centres in 11 countries participating in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II was investigated.
5158 subjects answered questionnaires about physical activity and performed BHR tests. Participants were asked about the frequency and duration of usual weekly exercise resulting in breathlessness or sweating. BHR was defined as a decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 s of at least 20% of its post‐saline value for a maximum methacholine dose of 2 mg.
Both frequency and duration of physical activity were inversely related to BHR. The prevalence of BHR in subjects exercising ⩽1, 2–3 and ⩾4 times a week was 14.5%, 11.6% and 10.9%, respectively (p<0.001). The corresponding odds ratios were 1.00, 0.78 (95% CI 0.62 to 0.99) and 0.69 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.94) after controlling for potential confounding factors. The frequency of BHR in subjects exercising <1 h, 1–3 h and ⩾4 h a week was 15.9%, 10.9% and 10.7%, respectively (p<0.001). The corresponding adjusted odds ratios were 1.00, 0.70 (95% CI 0.57 to 0.87) and 0.67 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.90). Physical activity was associated with BHR in all studied subgroups.
These results suggest that BHR is strongly and independently associated with decreased physical activity. Further studies are needed to determine the mechanisms underlying this association.
BACKGROUND--It is not clear whether asymptomatic bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) in children is a risk factor for the subsequent development of asthma. A longitudinal study was conducted to determine the predictive value of BHR for the development of asthma in a primary care patient population. METHODS--A standard free running asthma screening test (FRAST) was applied to 956 schoolchildren aged between 4 and 11 years in 1985. Peak expiratory flow (PEF) rates were measured before hard running for six minutes and following a three minute rest period. Children with a fall in PEF of more than 15% were labelled as having a positive FRAST. Clinical data from the patients' notes and from symptom questionnaires were compared with age and sex matched controls for children known to have asthma, and for those with a positive FRAST but no asthma (BHR group). Over the ensuing six years to 1991 further clinical data were gathered to compare the development of asthma and other diseases of the airways in both the BHR groups and their controls. RESULTS--Of the 956 children exercised in 1985, 60 who were not known to have asthma had an abnormal test. Of the 55 of these studied in 1991, 32 (58%) had developed asthma. The sensitivity of a positive FRAST for the development of asthma was 58%, its specificity 97%, and positive predictive value 72%. Hay fever, eczema, otitis media, "bronchitis," and family history of atopy also occurred more commonly in this group. CONCLUSIONS--Asymptomatic BHR, as shown by exercise challenge, can predict the development of clinical asthma. This study has also shown a relation between BHR, asthma, and other diseases of the airways, notably upper respiratory tract infection, "bronchitis," and otitis media.
Background: C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, is a powerful predictor of adverse cardiovascular events. Respiratory impairment is also associated with cardiovascular risk. Although some studies have found an inverse relationship between lung function and markers of systemic inflammation, only one study has reported a relationship between lung function and CRP levels. In contrast, little is known about the relationship between bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) and systemic inflammation. The association between lung function and CRP and between BHR and CRP has been investigated.
Methods: As part of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey follow up study serum CRP levels, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and BHR to methacholine (⩾20% decrease in FEV1 to <4 mg methacholine) were measured in 259 adults aged 28–56 years free of cardiovascular disease or respiratory infection.
Results: Mean (SD) FEV1 (adjusted for age, sex, height, and smoking status) was lower in subjects with a high CRP level (high tertile) (3.29 (0.44) l/s v 3.50 (0.44) l/s; p<0.001) and BHR was more frequent (41.9% v 24.9%; p = 0.005) than in subjects with lower CRP levels (low+middle tertiles). Similar results were obtained when the potential confounding factors were taken into account. Similar patterns of results were found in non-smokers and in non-asthmatic subjects.
Conclusions: Increased CRP levels are strongly and independently associated with respiratory impairment and more frequent BHR. These results suggest that both respiratory impairment and BHR are associated with a systemic inflammatory process.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) related to wood smoke exposure is characterized by important inflammation of the central and peripheral airways without significant emphysema. The objective of this study is to describe the bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) level in women with COPD related to wood smoke exposure and to compare it with the BHR in women with COPD related to tobacco smoking.
Materials and methods
Two groups of women with stable COPD were studied: (1) wood smoke exposed (WS-COPD); and (2) tobacco smoke exposed (TS-COPD). A methacholine challenge test (MCT) was performed in all patients according to American Thoracic Society criteria. BHR levels were compared using the methacholine concentration, which caused a 20% fall in the FEV1 (PC20).
Thirty-one patients, 19 with WS-COPD and 12 with TS-COPD, were included. There were no significant differences between the groups in baseline FVC, FEV1, IC, FEF25–75, and FEF25–75/FVC. All 31 patients had a positive MCT (PC20 < 16 mg/mL) and the fall in the FEV1 and IC was similar in both groups. The severity of BHR was significantly higher in the WS-COPD patients (PC20: 0.39 mg/mL) than in the TS-COPD patients (PC20: 1.24 mg/mL) (P = 0.028). The presence of cough, phlegm, and dyspnea during the test were similar in both groups.
We found moderate to severe BHR in women with WS-COPD, which was more severe than in the TS-COPD women with similar age and airflow obstruction. This paper suggests that the structural and inflammatory changes induced by the chronic exposure to wood smoke, described in other studies, can explain the differences with TS-COPD patients. Future studies may clarify our understanding of the impact of BHR on COPD physiopathology, phenotypes, and treatment strategies.
biomass fuels; indoor air pollution; wood smoke; COPD; methacholine challenge test
A number of subjects, especially the very young and the elderly, are unable to cooperate and to perform forced expiratory manoeuvres in the evaluation of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR). The objective of our study was to investigate the use of the interrupter technique as a method to measure the response to provocation and to compare it with the conventional PD20 FEV1.
We studied 170 normal subjects, 100 male and 70 female (mean ± SD age, 38 ± 8.5 and 35 ± 7.5 years, respectively), non-smoking from healthy families. These subjects had no respiratory symptoms, rhinitis or atopic history. A dosimetric cumulative inhalation of methacholine was used and the response was measured by the dose which increases baseline end interruption resistance by 100% (PD100Rint, EI) as well as by percent dose response ratio (DRR).
BHR at a cut-off level of 0.8 mg methacholine exhibited 31 (18%) of the subjects (specificity 81.2%), 21 male and 10 female, while 3% showed a response in the asthmatic range. The method was reproducible and showed good correlation with PD20FEV1 (r = 0.76, p < 0.005), with relatively narrow limits of agreement at -1.39 μmol and 1.27 μmol methacholine, respectively, but the interrupter methodology proved more sensitive than FEV1 in terms of reactivity (DRR).
Interrupter methodology is clinically useful and may be used to evaluate bronchial responsiveness in normal subjects and in situations when forced expirations cannot be performed.
Wheezing during infancy has been linked to early loss of pulmonary function. We prospectively investigated the relation between bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) and progressive impairment of pulmonary function in a cohort of asthmatic infants followed until age 9 years. We studied 129 infants who had had at least three episodes of wheezing. Physical examinations, baseline lung function tests and methacholine challenge tests were scheduled at ages 16 months and 5, 7 and 9 years. Eighty-three children completed follow-up. Twenty-four (29%) infants had wheezing that persisted at 9 years of age. Clinical outcome at age 9 years was significantly predicted by symptoms at 5 years of age and by parental atopy. Specific airway resistance (sRaw) was altered in persistent wheezers as early as 5 years of age, and did not change thereafter. Ninety-five per cent of the children still responded to methacholine at the end of follow-up. The degree of BHR at 9 years was significantly related to current clinical status, baseline lung function, and parental atopy. BHR at 16 months and 5 years of age did not predict persistent wheezing between 5 and 9 years of age, or the final degree of BHR, but it did predict altered lung function. Wheezing that persists from infancy to 9 years of age is associated with BHR and to impaired lung function. BHR itself is predictive of impaired lung function in children, strongly pointing to early airway remodeling in infantile asthma.
Background: The definition or diagnosis of asthma is a challenge for both clinicians and epidemiologists. Symptom history is usually supplemented with tests of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) in spite of their uncertainty in improving diagnostic accuracy.
Methods: To assess the interrelationship between respiratory symptoms, BHR, and clinical diagnosis of asthma, the respiratory symptoms of 1633 schoolchildren were screened using a questionnaire (response rate 81.2%) and a clinical study was conducted in a subsample of 247 children. Data from a free running test and a methacholine inhalation challenge test were available in 218 children. The diagnosis of asthma was confirmed by a paediatric allergist.
Results: Despite their high specificity (>0.97), BHR tests did not significantly improve the diagnostic accuracy after the symptom history: area under the receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.90 for a logistic regression model with four symptoms and 0.94 for the symptoms with free running test and methacholine inhalation challenge results. On the other hand, BHR tests had low sensitivity (0.35–0.47), whereas several symptoms had both high specificity (>0.97) and sensitivity (>0.7) in relation to clinical asthma, which makes them a better tool for asthma epidemiology than BHR.
Conclusions: Symptom history still forms the basis for defining asthma in both clinical and epidemiological settings. BHR tests only marginally increased the diagnostic accuracy after symptom history had been taken into account. The diagnosis of childhood asthma should not therefore be overlooked in symptomatic cases with no objective evidence of BHR. Moreover, BHR should not be required for defining asthma in epidemiological studies.
Both atopy and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) are characteristic features of asthma. They are also found among non-asthmatic subjects, including allergic rhinitis patients and the general population. Atopy and BHR in asthma are closely related. Atopy induces airway inflammation as an IgE response to a specific allergen, which causes or amplifies BHR. Moreover, significant evidence of the close relationship between atopy and BHR has been found in non-asthmatic subjects. In this article, we discuss the relationship between atopy and BHR in the general population, asthmatic subjects, and those with allergic rhinitis. This should widen our understanding of the pathophysiology of atopy and BHR.
Allergic rhinitis; asthma; atopy; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; patients; population
Asthmatic inflammation is responsible for vital features of the disease, including bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR). At present we do not have precise markers for monitoring asthmatic inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, seemed to be a factor which could also reflect the level of asthmatic inflammation expressed by BHR. Therefore the relationship between CRP concentration and BHR was evaluated.
Materials and Methods:
One hundred and two patients entered the study. A skin prick test with a broad spectrum of common aeroallergens as well as baseline spirometry and a histamine bronchoprovocation test were performed in each subject. Blood samples for high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) measurement were taken before the bronchial challenge tests.
Serum hsCRP concentrations ranged from 0.20 to 14.5 mg/l (median: 1.2 mg/l, 25–75% quartiles: 0.6–2.4). Positive skin prick tests were found in 26 subjects. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness was confirmed in 42 patients (first subgroup), while 60 subjects did not demonstrate BHR (second subgroup). Among the patients with BHR, asthma was diagnosed in 33 cases and Corrao syndrome in 9. In both subgroups, serum hsCRP concentrations had similar levels (median: 1.4 mg/l, 25–75% quartiles: 0.8–2.4 and median: 0.9 mg/l, 25–75% quartiles: 0.5–2.8, respectively; p=0.297). There was no statistically significant correlation (r= −0.163, p=0.302) between serum hsCRP concentration and the level of BHR expressed as the 20% provocative concentration for histamine. In addition, hsCRP serum concentration, after adjustment for age, atopy, body mass index, and gender, was not a significant predictor of positive histamine bronchoprovocation test results (p=0.22, OR=0.86, 95% CI).
Serum hsCRP concentration is not a good marker of BHR, which is mainly dependent on asthmatic inflammation and is measured during bronchial challenge with histamine. This finding is important for interpreting and discussing results obtained from epidemiological and population-based studies on relationships between either CRP concentration and BHR or local and systemic inflammation.
asthmatic inflammation; asthma; Corrao syndrome; BHR; high-sensitivity CRP; systemic inflammation
The relationship between sensitisation to helminths and atopy, bronchial-hyperresponsiveness and allergic diseases may differ depending on many factors, including the genes of the population studied. We sought to examine this relationship in an African cohort.
Urban Xhosa children were tested for ascaris IgE levels, bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) by methacholine challenge, atopic sensitisation (skin tests to aeroallergens) and allergic disease (asthma, eczema and rhinitis) assessed by questionnaire.
Ascaris sensitisation was strongly associated with BHR but not with asthma, eczema or rhinitis. There was a dose-response relationship between increasing class of ascaris IgE and increased BHR (Prevalence ratio (PR) 1.75; CI 1.09-2.82). Higher levels of ascaris IgE were seen in those with BHR. Ascaris IgE was associated with atopic sensitisation to aeroallergens. There was a dose-response relationship between increasing class of ascaris IgE and sensitisation to one or more allergen (PR 1.65; CI, 1.27-2.13), sensitisation to house dust mites (HDM) (PR 1.79; CI, 1.29-2.46) and grass (PR 2.66; CI, 1.24-5.71) and number of positive skin prick tests (PR 1.78; CI, 1.27-2.49). Presence of any sensitisation to ascaris was associated with more than doubling the prevalence of HDM sensitisation (41.5 vs 18.5%) and almost quadrupling the prevalence of grass sensitisation (10.8 vs 2.8%).
Ascaris sensitisation was strongly associated with BHR and with atopy, but not with allergic diseases. Possible explanations might be that the type of ascaris infection that causes high levels of ascaris IgE in this genetic population may also favour the development of atopy or that atopics in Africa have upregulation of their defence system against parasitic infection. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive.
Background: There is substantial evidence for an association between symptoms of asthma and overweight or obesity. However, a study that reported no association between bronchial responsiveness (BHR) and body mass index (BMI) suggested that the relation of symptoms to obesity was due to increased diagnosis of asthma. The relation of BHR to BMI was therefore investigated in a large multicentre study.
Methods: Data were obtained for 11 277 participants in stage II of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). BHR to methacholine was analysed in relation to BMI adjusted for a number of factors known to be associated with BHR, including baseline lung function and allergen sensitisation, and combined across 34 centres using random effects meta-analysis.
Results: BHR increased with increasing BMI in men (ECRHS slope changed by –0.027 for each unit increase in BMI, 95% confidence interval –0.044 to –0.010, p=0.002), but the relation in women was weak (–0.014, 95% CI –0.033 to 0.005, p=0.14). There was no evidence for an interaction of sex with BMI (p=0.41).
Conclusions: BHR is related to BMI in the ECRHS. This suggests that the association is not due to greater diagnosis or perception of symptoms in obese people compared with those of normal weight. The data do not support the finding by some studies of a relation between asthma and obesity in women but not in men.
The definition of "clinical asthma remission" is based on absence of symptoms and use of medication. However, in the majority of these subjects airway inflammation is still present when measured. In the present study we investigated whether "complete asthma remission", additionally defined by the absence of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) and the presence of a normal lung function, is associated with the absence of airway inflammation.
Patients with a former diagnosis of asthma and a positive histamine provocation test were re-examined to identify subjects with complete asthma remission (no asthma symptoms or medication, PC20 histamine > 32 mg/ml, FEV1 > 90% predicted). Patients with PC20 histamine ≤ 32 mg/ml were defined as current asthmatics and were divided in two groups, i.e. asthmatics with and without BHR to adenosine 5'monophoshate (AMP). Sputum induction was performed 1 week before and 1 hour after AMP provocation. Sputum induction and AMP provocation were previously shown to be sensitive markers of airway inflammation.
Seven patients met criteria for complete asthma remission. Twenty-three were current asthmatics, including twelve without hyperresponsiveness to AMP. Subjects with complete asthma remission showed no AMP-induced sputum eosinophilia (median (range) 0.2 (0 - 4.6)% at baseline and 0.2 (0 - 2.6)% after AMP). After AMP, current asthmatics had a significant increase in sputum eosinophils (0.5 (0 - 26.0)% at baseline and 2.6 (0 - 32.0) % after AMP), as had the subgroup of current asthmatics without hyperresponsiveness to AMP (0.2 (0 - 1.8)% at baseline and 1.3 (0 - 6.3)% after AMP).
Subjects with complete asthma remission, in contrast to subjects with current asthma, do not respond with eosinophilic inflammation in sputum after AMP provocations. These data lend support to the usefulness of the definition of complete asthma remission.