Outcomes of pulmonary physiology have a central place in asthma clinical research.
At the request of National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes and other federal agencies, an expert group was convened to provide recommendations on the use of pulmonary function measures as asthma outcomes that should be assessed in a standardized fashion in future asthma clinical trials and studies to allow for cross-study comparisons.
Our subcommittee conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed to identify studies that focused on the validation of various airway response tests used in asthma clinical research. The subcommittee classified the instruments as core (to be required in future studies), supplemental (to be used according to study aims and in a standardized fashion), or emerging (requiring validation and standardization). This work was discussed at an NIH-organized workshop in March 2010 and finalized in September 2011.
A list of pulmonary physiology outcomes that applies to both adults and children older than 6 years was created. These outcomes were then categorized into core, supplemental, and emerging. Spirometric outcomes (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1], forced vital capacity [FVC], and FEV1/FVC) are proposed as core outcomes for study population characterization, for observational studies, and for prospective clinical trials. Bronchodilator reversibility and pre- and post-bronchodilator FEV1 also are core outcomes for study population characterization and observational studies.
The subcommittee considers pulmonary physiology outcomes of central importance in asthma and proposes spirometric outcomes as core outcomes for all future NIH-initiated asthma clinical research.
Spirometry; airway responsiveness; peak expiratory flow monitoring; lung volumes; gas exchange
Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) has previously been shown to improve asthma control out to 2 years in patients with severe persistent asthma.
To assess effectiveness and safety of BT in asthma patients 5 years post therapy.
BT-treated subjects from the Asthma Intervention Research 2 (AIR2) Trial (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01350414) were evaluated annually for 5 years to assess long-term safety of BT and durability of treatment effect. Outcomes assessed post-BT included severe exacerbations, adverse events, healthcare utilization, spirometry data, and high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans.
162/190 BT-treated subjects (85.3%) from the AIR2 Trial completed 5 years of follow-up. The proportion of subjects experiencing severe exacerbations and Emergency Room visits, and the rates of events in each of years 1 to 5 remained low and were less than those observed in the 12 months prior to BT treatment (average 5 year reduction in proportions: 44% for exacerbations and 78% for ER visits). Respiratory adverse events and respiratory-related hospitalizations remained unchanged in Years 2 through 5 as compared to the first year after BT. Pre-BD FEV1 values remained stable between years 1 and 5 after BT, despite a 17% reduction in average daily inhaled corticosteroid dose. HRCT scans from baseline to 5 years after BT showed no structural abnormalities that could be attributed to BT.
These data demonstrate the 5-year durability of the benefits of BT with regard to both asthma control (based on maintained reduction in severe exacerbations and ER visits for respiratory symptoms) and safety. BT has become an important addition to our treatment armamentarium and should be considered for patients with severe persistent asthma who remain symptomatic despite taking ICS (inhaled corticosteroids) and LABA (long-acting-β2-agonists).
Bronchial thermoplasty; asthma; Bronchoscopic procedure; Alair System; asthma exacerbation
Food allergy is an important public health problem that affects children and adults and may be increasing in prevalence. Despite the risk of severe allergic reactions and even death, there is no current treatment for food allergy: the disease can only be managed by allergen avoidance or treatment of symptoms. The diagnosis and management of food allergy also may vary from one clinical practice setting to another. Finally, because patients frequently confuse nonallergic food reactions, such as food intolerance, with food allergies, there is an unfounded belief among the public that food allergy prevalence is higher than it truly is. In response to these concerns, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, working with 34 professional organizations, federal agencies, and patient advocacy groups, led the development of clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy. These Guidelines are intended for use by a wide variety of health care professionals, including family practice physicians, clinical specialists, and nurse practitioners. The Guidelines include a consensus definition for food allergy, discuss comorbid conditions often associated with food allergy, and focus on both IgE-mediated and non-IgE-mediated reactions to food. Topics addressed include the epidemiology, natural history, diagnosis, and management of food allergy, as well as the management of severe symptoms and anaphylaxis. These Guidelines provide 43 concise clinical recommendations and additional guidance on points of current controversy in patient management. They also identify gaps in the current scientific knowledge to be addressed through future research.
food; allergy; anaphylaxis; diagnosis; disease management; guidelines
In asthma and other diseases, vitamin D insufficiency is associated with adverse outcomes. It is not known if supplementing inhaled corticosteroids with oral vitamin D3 improves outcomes in patients with asthma and vitamin D insufficiency.
To evaluate if vitamin D supplementation would improve the clinical efficacy of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with symptomatic asthma and lower vitamin D levels.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
The VIDA (Vitamin D Add-on Therapy Enhances Corticosteroid Responsiveness in Asthma) randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled trial studying adult patients with symptomatic asthma and a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of less than 30 ng/mL was conducted across 9 academic US medical centers in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s AsthmaNet network, with enrollment starting in April 2011 and follow-up complete by January 2014. After a run-in period that included treatment with an inhaled corticosteroid, 408 patients were randomized.
Oral vitamin D3 (100 000 IU once, then 4000 IU/d for 28 weeks; n = 201) or placebo (n = 207) was added to inhaled ciclesonide (320 µg/d). If asthma control was achieved after 12 weeks, ciclesonide was tapered to 160 µg/d for 8 weeks, then to 80 µg/d for 8 weeks if asthma control was maintained.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
The primary outcome was time to first asthma treatment failure (a composite outcome of decline in lung function and increases in use of β-agonists, systemic corticosteroids, and health care).
Treatment with vitamin D3 did not alter the rate of first treatment failure during 28 weeks (28%[95% CI, 21%-34%] with vitamin D3 vs 29% [95% CI, 23%–35%] with placebo; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.9 [95% CI, 0.6–1.3]). Of 14 prespecified secondary outcomes, 9 were analyzed, including asthma exacerbation; of those 9, the only statistically significant outcome was a small difference in the overall dose of ciclesonide required to maintain asthma control (111.3 µg/d [95% CI, 102.2–120.4 µg/d] in the vitamin D3 group vs 126.2 µg/d [95% CI, 117.2–135.3 µg/d] in the placebo group; difference of 14.9 µg/d [95% CI, 2.1–27.7 µg/d]).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Vitamin D3 did not reduce the rate of first treatment failure or exacerbation in adults with persistent asthma and vitamin D insufficiency. These findings do not support a strategy of therapeutic vitamin D3 supplementation in patients with symptomatic asthma.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01248065
Tiotropium has activity as an asthma controller. However, predictors of a positive response to tiotropium have not been described.
To describe individual and differential response of patients with asthma to salmeterol and tiotropium, when added to an ICS, as well as predictors of a positive clinical response.
Data from the double-blind, three-way crossover NHLBI Asthma Clinical Research Network’s TALC trial (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00565266) were analyzed for individual and differential treatment responses to salmeterol and tiotropium, and predictors of a positive response to the endpoints FEV1, morning peak expiratory flow (AM PEF), and asthma control days (ACDs).
While approximately equal numbers of patients showed a differential response to salmeterol and tiotropium in terms of AM PEF (90 and 78, respectively), and ACDs (49 and 53, respectively), more showed a differential response to tiotropium for FEV1 (104) than salmeterol (62). An acute response to a short-acting bronchodilator, especially albuterol, predicted a positive clinical response to tiotropium for FEV1 (OR 4.08 [CI 2.00–8.31], P < 0.001) and AM PEF (OR 2.12 [CI 1.12–4.01], P = 0.021), as did a decreased FEV1/FVC ratio (FEV1 response increased 0.39% of baseline for every 1% decrease in the FEV1/FVC ratio). Higher cholinergic tone was also a predictor, while ethnicity, gender, atopy, IgE Level, sputum eosinophils, FENO, asthma duration, and BMI were not.
While these results need confirmation, predictors of a positive clinical response to tiotropium include a positive response to albuterol and airway obstruction, factors which could help identify appropriate patients for this therapy.
asthma; tiotropium; salmeterol; responder analysis; predictor of response
In this study, hyperpolarized (HP) 129Xe MR ventilation and 1H anatomical images were obtained from 3 subject groups: young healthy volunteers (HV), subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and age-matched control subjects (AMC). Ventilation images were quantified by 2 methods: an expert reader-based ventilation defect score percentage (VDS%) and a semi-automatic segmentation-based ventilation defect percentage (VDP). Reader-based values were assigned by two experienced radiologists and resolved by consensus. In the semi-automatic analysis, 1H anatomical images and 129Xe ventilation images were both segmented following registration, to obtain the thoracic cavity volume (TCV) and ventilated volume (VV), respectively, which were then expressed as a ratio to obtain the VDP. Ventilation images were also characterized by generating signal intensity histograms from voxels within the TCV, and heterogeneity was analyzed using the coefficient of variation (CV). The reader-based VDS% correlated strongly with the semi-automatically generated VDP (r = 0.97, p < 0.0001), and with CV (r = 0.82, p < 0.0001). Both 129Xe ventilation defect scoring metrics readily separated the 3 groups from one another and correlated significantly with FEV1 (VDS%: r = -0.78, p = 0.0002; VDP: r = -0.79, p = 0.0003; CV: r = -0.66, p = 0.0059) and other pulmonary function tests. In the healthy subject groups (HV and AMC), the prevalence of ventilation defects also increased with age (VDS%: r = 0.61, p = 0.0002; VDP: r = 0.63, p = 0.0002). Moreover, ventilation histograms and their associated CVs distinguished between COPD subjects with similar ventilation defect scores but visibly different ventilation patterns.
hyperpolarized; 129Xe; Xe-129; magnetic resonance imaging; ventilation; defect; segmentation; COPD; coefficient of variation; VDP; VDS; VDV; FEV1
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease in which airway epithelial cells are the first line of defense against exposure of the airway to infectious agents. Src homology protein (SHP)-1, a protein tyrosine phosphatase, is a negative regulator of signaling pathways that are critical to the development of asthma and host defense. We hypothesize that SHP-1 function is defective in asthma, contributing to the increased inflammatory response induced by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a pathogen known to exacerbate asthma. M. pneumoniae significantly activated SHP-1 in airway epithelial cells collected from nonasthmatic subjects by bronchoscopy with airway brushing but not in cells from asthmatic subjects. In asthmatic airway epithelial cells, M. pneumoniae induced significant PI3K/Akt phosphorylation, NF-κB activation, and IL-8 production compared with nonasthmatic cells, which were reversed by SHP-1 overexpression. Conversely, SHP-1 knockdown significantly increased IL-8 production and PI3K/Akt and NF-κB activation in the setting of M. pneumoniae infection in nonasthmatic cells, but it did not exacerbate these three parameters already activated in asthmatic cells. Thus, SHP-1 plays a critical role in abrogating M. pneumoniae-induced IL-8 production in non-asthmatic airway epithelial cells through inhibition of PI3K/Akt and NF-κB activity, but it is defective in asthma, resulting in an enhanced inflammatory response to infection.
Rationale: The function of the P2X7 nucleotide receptor protects against exacerbation in people with mild-intermittent asthma during viral illnesses, but the impact of disease severity and maintenance therapy has not been studied.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between P2X7, asthma exacerbations, and incomplete symptom control in a more diverse population.
Methods: A matched P2RX7 genetic case-control was performed with samples from Asthma Clinical Research Network trial participants enrolled before July 2006, and P2X7 pore activity was determined in whole blood samples as an ancillary study to two trials completed subsequently.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 187 exacerbations were studied in 742 subjects, and the change in asthma symptom burden was studied in an additional 110 subjects during a trial of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) dose optimization. African American carriers of the minor G allele of the rs2230911 loss-of-function single nucleotide polymorphism were more likely to have a history of prednisone use in the previous 12 months, with adjustment for ICS and long-acting β2-agonists use (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–6.2; P = 0.018). Despite medium-dose ICS, attenuated pore function predicted earlier exacerbations in incompletely controlled patients with moderate asthma (hazard ratio, 3.2; confidence interval, 1.1–9.3; P = 0.033). After establishing control with low-dose ICS in patients with mild asthma, those with attenuated pore function had more asthma symptoms, rescue albuterol use, and FEV1 reversal (P < 0.001, 0.03, and 0.03, respectively) during the ICS adjustment phase.
Conclusions: P2X7 pore function protects against exacerbations of asthma and loss of control, independent of baseline severity and the maintenance therapy.
asthma; P2X7; exacerbation; Asthma Clinical Research Network; corticosteroids
Epidemiological data demonstrate an increased risk of developing incident asthma with increasing adiposity. While the vast majority of studies support the interaction between obesity and asthma, the causality is unclear.
Scope of review
This article will review the current literature supporting the presence of an obese asthma phenotype and the possible mechanisms mediating the effects of obesity on asthma.
Obesity is associated with poor asthma control, altered responsiveness to medications and increased morbidity. Obesity is characterized by systemic inflammation that may result in increased airway inflammation. However, this assertion is not supported by current studies that demonstrate a lack of significant airway inflammation in obese asthmatics. In spite this observation one must consider limitations of these studies including the fact that most subjects were treated with inhaled corticosteroids that would likely alter inflammation in the lung. Thus, it remains unclear if obesity is associated with alterations in inflammation in the airways of subjects with asthma.
Hormones such as leptin and adiponectin are affected by obesity and may play a role in mediating innate immune responses and allergic responses, respectively. The role of oxidative stress remains controversial and the current evidence suggests that while oxidative stress is important in asthma, it does not fully explain the characteristics associated with this unique phenotype.
Obesity related asthma is associated with increased morbidity and differential response to asthma therapies. Understanding the mechanisms mediating this phenotype would have significant implications for millions of people suffering with asthma. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biochemistry of Asthma.
Asthma; Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Oxidative stress; Leptin; Inflammation
No consensus exists for adjusting inhaled corticosteroid therapy in patients with asthma. Approaches include adjustment at outpatient visits guided by physician assessment of asthma control (symptoms, rescue therapy, pulmonary function), based on exhaled nitric oxide, or on a day-to-day basis guided by symptoms.
To determine if adjustment of inhaled corticosteroid therapy based on exhaled nitric oxide or day-to-day symptoms is superior to guideline-informed, physician assessment–based adjustment in preventing treatment failure in adults with mild to moderate asthma.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A randomized, parallel, 3-group, placebo-controlled, multiply-blinded trial of 342 adults with mild to moderate asthma controlled by low-dose inhaled corticosteroid therapy (n=114 assigned to physician assessment–based adjustment [101 completed], n=115 to biomarker-based [exhaled nitric oxide] adjustment [92 completed], and n=113 to symptom-based adjustment [97 completed]), the Best Adjustment Strategy for Asthma in the Long Term (BASALT) trial was conducted by the Asthma Clinical Research Network at 10 academic medical centers in the United States for 9 months between June 2007 and July 2010.
For physician assessment–based adjustment and biomarker-based (exhaled nitric oxide) adjustment, the dose of inhaled corticosteroids was adjusted every 6 weeks; for symptom-based adjustment, inhaled corticosteroids were taken with each albuterol rescue use.
Main Outcome Measure
The primary outcome was time to treatment failure.
There were no significant differences in time to treatment failure. The 9-month Kaplan-Meier failure rates were 22% (97.5% CI, 14%-33%; 24 events) for physician assessment–based adjustment, 20% (97.5% CI, 13%-30%; 21 events) for biomarker-based adjustment, and 15% (97.5% CI, 9%-25%; 16 events) for symptom-based adjustment. The hazard ratio for physician assessment–based adjustment vs biomarker-based adjustment was 1.2 (97.5% CI, 0.6-2.3). The hazard ratio for physician assessment–based adjustment vs symptom-based adjustment was 1.6 (97.5% CI, 0.8-3.3).
Among adults with mild to moderate persistent asthma controlled with low-dose inhaled corticosteroid therapy, the use of either biomarker-based or symptom-based adjustment of inhaled corticosteroids was not superior to physician assessment–based adjustment of inhaled corticosteroids in time to treatment failure.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00495157
Rationale: Obesity is associated with increased prevalence and severity of asthma. Adipose tissue macrophages can contribute to the systemic proinflammatory state associated with obesity. However, it remains unknown whether alveolar macrophages have a unique phenotype in overweight/obese patients with asthma.
Objectives: We hypothesized that leptin levels would be increased in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from overweight/obese subjects and, furthermore, that leptin would alter the response of alveolar macrophages to bacterial LPS.
Methods: Forty-two subjects with asthma and 46 healthy control subjects underwent research bronchoscopy. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from 66 was analyzed for the level of cellular inflammation, cytokines, and soluble leptin. Cultured primary macrophages from 22 subjects were exposed to LPS, leptin, or leptin plus LPS. Cytokines were measured in the supernatants.
Measurements and Main Results: Leptin levels were increased in overweight/obese subjects, regardless of asthma status (P = 0.013), but were significantly higher in overweight/obese subjects with asthma. Observed levels of tumor necrosis factor-α were highest in overweight/obese subjects with asthma. Ex vivo studies of primary alveolar macrophages indicated that the response to LPS was most robust in alveolar macrophages from overweight/obese subjects with asthma and that preexposure to high-dose leptin enhanced the proinflammatory response. Leptin alone was sufficient to induce production of proinflammatory cytokines from macrophages derived from overweight/obese subjects with asthma.
Conclusions: Ex vivo studies indicate that alveolar macrophages derived from overweight/obese subjects with asthma are uniquely sensitive to leptin. This macrophage phenotype, in the context of higher levels of soluble leptin, may contribute to the pathogenesis of airway disease associated with obesity.
tumor necrosis factor-α; leptin; innate immunity; lipopolysaccharide; environmental lung disease
Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp) frequently colonizes the airways of patients with chronic asthma and likely contributes to asthma exacerbations. We previously reported that mice lacking surfactant protein A (SP-A) have increased airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) during M pneumoniae infection versus wild-type mice mediated by TNF-α. Mast cells (MCs) have been implicated in AHR in asthma models and produce and respond to TNF-α.
Determine the contribution of MC/TNF interactions to AHR in airways lacking functional SP-A during Mp infection. Methods: Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected from healthy and asthmatic subjects to examine TNF-α levels and M pneumoniae positivity. To determine how SP-A interactions with MCs regulate airway homeostasis, we generated mice lacking both SP-A and MCs (SP-A−/−KitW-sh/W-sh) and infected them with M pneumoniae.
Our findings indicate that high TNF-α levels correlate with M pneumoniae positivity in human asthmatic patients and that human SP-A inhibits M pneumoniae–stimulated transcription and release of TNF-α by MCs, implicating a protective role for SP-A. MC numbers increase in M pneumoniae–infected lungs, and airway reactivity is dramatically attenuated when MCs are absent. Using SP-A−/−KitW-sh/W-sh mice engrafted with TNF-α−/− or TNF receptor (TNF-R)−/− MCs, we found that TNF-α activation of MCs through the TNF-R, but not MC-derived TNF-α, leads to augmented AHR during M pneumoniae infection when SP-A is absent. Additionally, M pneumoniae– infected SP-A−/−KitW-sh/W-sh mice engrafted with TNF-α−/− or TNF-R−/− MCs have decreased mucus production compared with that seen in mice engrafted with wild-type MCs, whereas burden was unaffected.
Our data highlight a previously unappreciated but vital role for MCs as secondary responders to TNF-α during the host response to pathogen infection.
Mast cells; TNF; Mycoplasma species; airway hyperres-ponsiveness; mucus
The lung is constantly challenged during normal breathing by a myriad of environmental irritants and infectious insults. Pulmonary host defense mechanisms maintain homeostasis between inhibition/clearance of pathogens and regulation of inflammatory responses that could injure the airway epithelium. One component of this defense mechanism, surfactant protein-A (SP-A), exerts multifunctional roles in mediating host responses to inflammatory and infectious agents. SP-A has a bacteriostatic effect on Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp), which occurs by binding surface disaturated phosphatidylglycerols. SP-A can also bind the Mp membrane protein, MPN372. In this study we investigated the role of SP-A during acute phase pulmonary infection with Mp using mice deficient in SP-A. Biologic responses, inflammation and cellular infiltration, were much greater in Mp infected SP-A−/− mice than wild type mice. Likewise, physiologic responses (airway hyperresponsiveness and lung compliance) to Mp infection were more severely affected in SP-A−/− mice. Both Mp-induced biologic and physiologic changes were attenuated by pharmacologic inhibition of TNF-α. Our findings demonstrate that SP-A is vital to preserving lung homeostasis and host defense to this clinically relevant strain of Mp by curtailing inflammatory cell recruitment and limiting an overzealous TNF-α response.
lung; inflammation; bacterial
Allergic asthma is a complex disease characterized by eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation, mucus production and reversible airway obstruction1. Exposure to indoor allergens is a clear risk factor for asthma, but this disease is also associated with high household levels of total and Gram-negative bacteria2. The ability of bacterial products to act as adjuvants3 suggests they might promote asthma by priming allergic sensitization to inhaled allergens. In support of this idea, house dust extracts (HDEs) can activate antigen presenting dendritic cells (DC) in vitro and promote allergic sensitization to inhaled innocuous proteinsin vivo4. It is unknown which microbial products provide most of the adjuvant activity in HDEs. A screen of microbial products for their adjuvant activity in the airway revealed that the bacterial protein, flagellin (FLA) stimulated strong allergic responses to an innocuous inhaled protein. Moreover, toll-like receptor (TLR)5, the mammalian receptor for FLA5,6, was required for priming strong allergic responses to natural indoor allergens present in HDEs. In addition, the incidence of human asthma was associated with high serum levels of FLA-specific antibodies. Together, these findings suggest that household FLA promotes the development of allergic asthma by TLR5-dependent priming of allergic responses to indoor allergens.
Although asthma is characterized as an inflammatory disease, recent reports highlight the importance of pulmonary physiology outcome measures to the clinical assessment of asthma control and risk of asthma exacerbation. Murine models of allergic inflammatory airway disease have been widely used to gain mechanistic insight into the pathogenesis of asthma; however, several aspects of murine models could benefit from improvement. This review focuses on aligning lung mechanics measures made in mice with those made in humans, with an eye toward improving the translational utility of these measures. A brief description of techniques available to measure murine lung mechanics is provided along with a methodological consideration of their utilization. How murine lung mechanics outcome measures relate to pulmonary physiology measures conducted in humans is discussed and we recommend that, like human studies, outcome measures be standardized for murine models of asthma.
airway hyperresponsiveness; murine; asthma; lung mechanics; translational research
The characteristics of human asthma are chronic inflammation and airway remodeling. Hyaluronan (HA), a major extracellular matrix component, accumulates during inflammatory lung diseases including asthma. Hyaluronan fragments stimulate macrophages to produce inflammatory cytokines. We hypothesized that HA and its receptors would play a role in human asthma.
To investigate the role of HA and HA binding proteins in human asthma.
Twenty-one subjects with asthma and 25 normal control subjects underwent bronchoscopy with endobronchial biopsy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Fibroblasts were cultured, HA and HA synthase expression was determined at baseline and after exposure to several mediators relevant to asthma pathobiology. The expression of HA binding proteins, CD44, TLR2 and TLR4 on BAL macrophages was determined by flow cytometry. IL-8 production by macrophages in response to HA fragment stimulation was compared.
Airway fibroblasts from asthma patients produced significantly increased concentrations of lower molecular weight HA compared to those of normal fibroblasts. Hyaluronan synthase 2 mRNA was markedly increased in asthmatic fibroblasts. Asthmatic macrophages showed a decrease in cell surface CD44 expression and an increase in TLR2 and TLR4 expression. Macrophages from asthmatic subjects showed an increase in responsiveness to low molecular weight HA stimulation, as demonstrated by increased IL-8 production.
HA homeostasis is deranged in asthma with increased production by fibroblasts and decreased CD44 expression on alveolar macrophages. Upregulation of TLR2 and TLR4 on macrophages with increased sensitivity to HA fragments suggests a novel pro-inflammatory mechanism by which persistence of HA fragments could contribute to chronic inflammation and airway remodeling in asthma.
Asthma; Hyaluronan; Cytokines; Fibroblasts; Macrophages
Rationale: Invasive cell phenotypes have been demonstrated in malignant transformation, but not in other diseases, such as asthma. Cellular invasiveness is thought to be mediated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). IL-13 is a key TH2 cytokine that directs many features of airway remodeling through TGF-β1 and MMPs.
Objectives: We hypothesized that, in human asthma, IL-13 stimulates increased airway fibroblast invasiveness via TGF-β1 and MMPs in asthma compared with normal controls.
Methods: Fibroblasts were cultured from endobronchial biopsies in 20 subjects with mild asthma (FEV1: 90 ± 3.6% pred) and 17 normal control subjects (FEV1: 102 ± 2.9% pred) who underwent bronchoscopy. Airway fibroblast invasiveness was investigated using Matrigel chambers. IL-13 or IL-13 with TGF-β1 neutralizing antibody or pan-MMP inhibitor (GM6001) was added to the lower chamber as a chemoattractant. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry were performed in a subset of subjects to evaluate IL-13 receptor levels.
Measurements and Main Results: IL-13 significantly stimulated invasion in asthmatic airway fibroblasts, compared with normal control subjects. Inhibitors of both TGF-β1 and MMPs blocked IL-13–induced invasion in asthma, but had no effect in normal control subjects. At baseline, in airway tissue, IL-13 receptors were expressed in significantly higher levels in asthma, compared with normal control subjects. In airway fibroblasts, baseline IL-13Rα2 was reduced in asthma compared with normal control subjects.
Conclusions: IL-13 potentiates airway fibroblast invasion through a mechanism involving TGF-β1 and MMPs. IL-13 receptor subunits are differentially expressed in asthma. These effects may result in IL-13–directed airway remodeling in asthma.
airway remodeling; interleukin-13; transforming growth factor-β; matrix metalloproteinase
129Xe apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) MRI offers an alternative to 3He ADC MRI, given its greater availability and lower cost. To demonstrate the feasibility of HP 129Xe ADC MRI, we present results from healthy volunteers (HV), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) subjects, and age-matched healthy controls (AMC). The mean parenchymal ADC was 0.036±0.003 cm2/s for HV, 0.043±0.006 cm2/s for AMC, and 0.056±0.008 cm2/s for COPD subjects with emphysema. In healthy individuals, but not the COPD group, ADC decreased significantly in the anterior-posterior direction by ~22% (p = 0.006, AMC; 0.0059, HV), likely due to gravity-induced tissue compression. The COPD group exhibited a significantly larger superior-inferior ADC reduction (~28%) than the healthy groups (~24%) (p = 0.00018 HV; p = 3.45×10-5 AMC), consistent with smoking-related tissue destruction in the superior lung. Superior-inferior gradients in healthy subjects may result from regional differences in xenon concentration. ADC was significantly correlated with pulmonary function tests (FEV1, r=-0.77, p=0.0002; FEV1/FVC, r=-0.78, p=0.0002; DLCO/VA, r=-0.77, p=0.0002), and in healthy groups, increased with age by 0.0002 cm2/s/yr (r=0.56, p=0.02). This study shows 129Xe ADC MRI is clinically feasible, sufficiently sensitive to distinguish HV from subjects with emphysema, and detects age and posture-dependent changes.
Hyperpolarized 129Xe MRI; apparent diffusion coefficient; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pulmonary function testing
Improvement in lung function following macrolide antibiotic therapy has been attributed to reduction in bronchial infection due to specific bacteria. However, the airway may be populated by a more diverse microbiota, and clinical features of asthma may be associated with characteristics of the airway microbiota present.
To determine if relationships exist between the composition of the airway bacterial microbiota and clinical features of asthma, using culture-independent tools capable of detecting the presence and relative abundance of most known bacteria.
In this pilot study, bronchial epithelial brushings were collected from sixty-five adults with sub-optimally controlled asthma participating in a multicenter study of the effects of clarithromycin on asthma control, and ten healthy subjects. A combination of high-density 16S rRNA microarray and parallel clone library-sequencing analysis was used to profile the microbiota and examine relationships with clinical measurements.
Compared to controls, 16S rRNA amplicon concentrations (a proxy for bacterial burden) and bacterial diversity were significantly higher among asthmatic patients. In multivariate analyses, airway microbiota composition and diversity were significantly correlated with bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Specifically, the relative abundance of particular phylotypes, including members of the Comamonadaceae, Sphingomonadaceae, Oxalobacteraceae and other bacterial families, were highly correlated with the degree of bronchial hyperresponsiveness.
The composition of bronchial airway microbiota is associated with the degree of bronchial hyperresponsiveness among patients with sub-optimally controlled asthma. These findings support the need for further functional studies to examine the potential contribution of members of the airway microbiota in asthma pathogenesis.
microbiome; bacteria; asthma; 16S rRNA; PhyloChip
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) studies have demonstrated evidence of M. pneumoniae and C. pneumoniae in the lower airways of patients with asthma.
To test the hypothesis that clarithromycin would improve asthma control in individuals with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma that was not well-controlled despite treatment with low-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).
Adults with an Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) score ≥1.5 after a 4 week period of treatment with fluticasone propionate were entered into a PCR-stratified randomized trial to evaluate the effect of 16 weeks of either clarithromycin or placebo, added to fluticasone, on asthma control in individuals with or without lower airway PCR evidence of M. pneumoniae or C. pneumoniae.
92 participants were randomized. Twelve (13%) subjects demonstrated PCR evidence of M. pneumoniae or C. pneumoniae in endobronchial biopsies; 80 were PCR negative for both organisms. In PCR positive participants, clarithromycin yielded a 0.4±0.4 unit improvement in the ACQ score, with a 0.1±0.3 unit improvement in those allocated to placebo. This between-group difference of 0.3±0.5 (p=0.6) was neither clinically nor statistically significant. In PCR negative participants, a non-significant between-group difference of 0.2±0.2 units (p=0.3) was observed. Clarithromycin did not improve lung function or airway inflammation but did improve airway hyperresponsiveness, increasing the methacholine PC20 by 1.2±0.5 doubling doses (p=0.02) in the study population.
Adding clarithromycin to fluticasone in adults with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma that was suboptimally-controlled by low-dose ICS alone did not further improve asthma control. Although there was an improvement in airway hyperresponsiveness with clarithromycin, this benefit was not accompanied by improvements in other secondary outcomes.
asthma; infection; antibiotic
Rapid, accurate diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae is compromised by low sensitivity of culture and serology. PCR has emerged as a sensitive method to detect M. pneumoniae DNA in clinical specimens. However, conventional real-time PCR is not cost-effective for routine out-patient or implementation. Here, we evaluate a novel microfluidic real-time PCR platform (Advanced Liquid Logic, Inc.) that is rapid, portable, and fully automated. We enrolled patients with CAP and extracted DNA from nasopharyngeal wash (NPW) specimens using a biotinylated capture probe and streptavidin-coupled magnetic beads. Each extract was tested for M. pneumoniae-specific DNA by real-time PCR on both conventional and microfluidic platforms using Taqman probe and primers. Three of 59 (5.0%) NPWs were positive, and agreement between the methods was 98%. The microfluidic platform was equally sensitive but three times faster and offers an inexpensive and convenient diagnostic test for microbial DNA.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae; real-time PCR; DNA-based diagnostics; community-acquired pneumonia; diagnostic microbiology
Long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) therapy improves symptoms in patients whose asthma is poorly controlled by an inhaled glucocorticoid alone. Alternative treatments for adults with uncontrolled asthma are needed.
In a three-way, double-blind, triple-dummy crossover trial involving 210 patients with asthma, we evaluated the addition of tiotropium bromide (a long-acting anticholinergic agent approved for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease but not asthma) to an inhaled glucocorticoid, as compared with a doubling of the dose of the inhaled glucocorticoid (primary superiority comparison) or the addition of the LABA salmeterol (secondary noninferiority comparison).
The use of tiotropium resulted in a superior primary outcome, as compared with a doubling of the dose of an inhaled glucocorticoid, as assessed by measuring the morning peak expiratory flow (PEF), with a mean difference of 25.8 liters per minute (P<0.001) and superiority in most secondary outcomes, including evening PEF, with a difference of 35.3 liters per minute (P<0.001); the proportion of asthma-control days, with a difference of 0.079 (P = 0.01); the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) before bronchodilation, with a difference of 0.10 liters (P = 0.004); and daily symptom scores, with a difference of −0.11 points (P<0.001). The addition of tiotropium was also noninferior to the addition of salmeterol for all assessed outcomes and increased the prebronchodilator FEV1 more than did salmeterol, with a difference of 0.11 liters (P = 0.003).
When added to an inhaled glucocorticoid, tiotropium improved symptoms and lung function in patients with inadequately controlled asthma. Its effects appeared to be equivalent to those with the addition of salmeterol. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00565266.)
Rationale: Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) is a bronchoscopic procedure in which controlled thermal energy is applied to the airway wall to decrease smooth muscle.
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of BT versus a sham procedure in subjects with severe asthma who remain symptomatic despite treatment with high-dose inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β2-agonists.
Methods: A total of 288 adult subjects (Intent-to-Treat [ITT]) randomized to BT or sham control underwent three bronchoscopy procedures. Primary outcome was the difference in Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) scores from baseline to average of 6, 9, and 12 months (integrated AQLQ). Adverse events and health care use were collected to assess safety. Statistical design and analysis of the primary endpoint was Bayesian. Target posterior probability of superiority (PPS) of BT over sham was 95%, except for the primary endpoint (96.4%).
Measurements and Main Results: The improvement from baseline in the integrated AQLQ score was superior in the BT group compared with sham (BT, 1.35 ± 1.10; sham, 1.16 ± 1.23 [PPS, 96.0% ITT and 97.9% per protocol]). Seventy-nine percent of BT and 64% of sham subjects achieved changes in AQLQ of 0.5 or greater (PPS, 99.6%). Six percent more BT subjects were hospitalized in the treatment period (up to 6 wk after BT). In the posttreatment period (6–52 wk after BT), the BT group experienced fewer severe exacerbations, emergency department (ED) visits, and days missed from work/school compared with the sham group (PPS, 95.5, 99.9, and 99.3%, respectively).
Conclusions: BT in subjects with severe asthma improves asthma-specific quality of life with a reduction in severe exacerbations and healthcare use in the posttreatment period.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinialtrials.gov (NCT00231114).
asthma; Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System; bronchial thermoplasty; bronchoscopic procedure; Asthma Quality of Life