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1.  Prevalence of asthma symptoms based on the European Community Respiratory Health Survey questionnaire and FENO in university students: gender differences in symptoms and FENO 
Background
The fractional concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled air (FENO) is used as a biomarker of eosinophilic airway inflammation. FENO is increased in patients with asthma. The relationship between subjective asthma symptoms and airway inflammation is an important issue. We expected that the subjective asthma symptoms in women might be different from those in men. Therefore, we investigated the gender differences of asthma symptoms and FENO in a survey of asthma prevalence in university students.
Methods
The information about asthma symptoms was obtained from answers to the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaire, and FENO was measured by an offline method in 640 students who were informed of this study and consented to participate.
Results
The prevalence of asthma symptoms on the basis of data obtained from 584 students (266 men and 318 women), ranging in age from 18 to 24 years, was analyzed. Wheeze, chest tightness, an attack of shortness of breath, or an attack of cough within the last year was observed in 13.2% of 584 students. When 38.0 ppb was used as the cut-off value of FENO to make the diagnosis of asthma, the sensitivity was 86.8% and the specificity was 74.0%. FENO was ≥ 38.0 ppb in 32.7% of students. FENO was higher in men than in women. The prevalence of asthma symptoms estimated by considering FENO was 7.2%; the prevalence was greater in men (9.4%) than women (5.3%). A FENO ≥ 38.0 ppb was common in students who reported wheeze, but not in students, especially women, who reported cough attacks.
Conclusions
The prevalence of asthma symptoms in university students age 18 to 24 years in Japan was estimated to be 7.2% on the basis of FENO levels as well as subjective symptoms. Gender differences were observed in both FENO levels and asthma symptoms reflecting the presence of eosinophilic airway inflammation.
Trial registration number
UMIN000003244
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-15
PMCID: PMC3193803  PMID: 21923950
2.  Mucosal exposure to cockroach extract induces allergic sensitization and allergic airway inflammation 
Background
Allergic sensitization to aeroallergens develops in response to mucosal exposure to these allergens. Allergic sensitization may lead to the development of asthma, which is characterized by chronic airway inflammation. The objective of this study is to describe in detail a model of mucosal exposure to cockroach allergens in the absence of an exogenous adjuvant.
Methods
Cockroach extract (CE) was administered to mice intranasally (i.n.) daily for 5 days, and 5 days later mice were challenged with CE for 4 consecutive days. A second group received CE i.n. for 3 weeks. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was assessed 24 h after the last allergen exposure. Allergic airway inflammation was assessed by BAL and lung histology 48 h after the last allergen exposure. Antigen-specific antibodies were assessed in serum. Lungs were excised from mice from measurement of cytokines and chemokines in whole lung lysate.
Results
Mucosal exposure of Balb/c mice to cockroach extract induced airway eosinophilic inflammation, AHR and cockroach-specific IgG1; however, AHR to methacholine was absent in the long term group. Lung histology showed patchy, multicentric damage with inflammatory infiltrates at the airways in both groups. Lungs from mice from the short term group showed increased IL-4, CCL11, CXCL1 and CCL2 protein levels. IL4 and CXCL1 were also increased in the BAL of cockroach-sensitized mice in the short-term protocol.
Conclusions
Mucosal exposure to cockroach extract in the absence of adjuvant induces allergic airway sensitization characterized by AHR, the presence of Th2 cytokines in the lung and eosinophils in the airways.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-22
PMCID: PMC3264496  PMID: 22168152
3.  Efficacy and onset of action of mometasone furoate/formoterol and fluticasone propionate/salmeterol combination treatment in subjects with persistent asthma 
Background
Mometasone furoate/formoterol (MF/F) is a novel combination therapy for treatment of persistent asthma. This noninferiority trial compared the effects of MF/F and fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (FP/S) combination therapies on pulmonary function and onset of action in subjects with persistent asthma.
Methods
Following a 2- to 4-week run-in period with MF administered via a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) 200 μg (delivered as 2 inhalations of MF-MDI 100 μg) twice daily (BID), subjects (aged ≥12 y) were randomized to MF/F-MDI 200/10 μg BID (delivered as 2 inhalations of MF/F-MDI 100/5 μg) or FP/S administered via a dry powder inhaler (DPI) 250/50 μg (delivered as 1 inhalation) BID for 12 weeks. The primary assessment was change from baseline to week 12 in area under the curve for forced expiratory volume in 1 second measured serially for 0-12 hours postdose (FEV1 AUC0-12 h). Secondary assessments included onset of action (change from baseline in FEV1 at 5 minutes postdose on day 1) and patient-reported outcomes.
Results
722 subjects were randomized to MF/F-MDI (n = 371) or FP/S-DPI (n = 351). Mean FEV1 AUC0-12 h change from baseline at week 12 for MF/F-MDI and FP/S-DPI was 3.43 and 3.24 L × h, respectively (95% CI, -0.40 to 0.76). MF/F-MDI was associated with a 200-mL mean increase from baseline in FEV1 at 5 minutes postdose on day 1, which was significantly larger than the 90-mL increase for FP/S-DPI (P < 0.001). The overall incidence of adverse events during the 12-week treatment period that were considered related to study therapy was similar in both groups (MF/F-MDI, 7.8% [n = 29]; FP/S-DPI, 8.3% [n = 29]).
Conclusions
The results of this 12-week study indicated that MF/F improves pulmonary function and asthma control similar to FP/S with a superior onset of action compared with FP/S. Both drugs were safe, improved asthma control, and demonstrated similar results for other secondary study endpoints.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00424008
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-21
PMCID: PMC3298511  PMID: 22152089
asthma; mometasone furoate/formoterol; fluticasone propionate/salmeterol; noninferiority; onset of action
4.  Effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supplementation on cow's milk allergy in a mouse model 
Background
Cow's milk allergy (CMA) is one of the most prevalent human food-borne allergies, particularly in infants and young children from developed countries. Our study aims to evaluate the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) administration on CMA development using whole cow's milk proteins (CMP) sensitized Balb/C mice by two different sensitization methods.
Methods
LGG supplemented mice were either sensitized orally with CMP and cholera toxin B-subunit (CTB) as adjuvant, or intraperitoneally (IP) with CMP but without the adjuvant. Mice were then orally challenged with CMP and allergic responses were accessed by monitoring hypersensitivity scores, measuring the levels of CMP-specific immunoglobulins (IgG1, IgG2a and IgG) and total IgE from sera, and cytokines (IL-4 and IFN-γ) from spleen lysates.
Results
Sensitization to CMP was successful only in IP sensitized mice, but not in orally sensitized mice with CMP and CTB. Interestingly, LGG supplementation appeared to have reduced cow's milk allergy (CMA) in the IP group of mice, as indicated by lowered allergic responses.
Conclusions
Adjuvant-free IP sensitization with CMP was successful in inducing CMA in the Balb/C mice model. LGG supplementation favourably modulated immune reactions by shifting Th2-dominated trends toward Th1-dominated responses in CMP sensitized mice. Our results also suggest that oral sensitization by the co-administration of CMP and CTB, as adjuvant, might not be appropriate to induce CMA in mice.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-20
PMCID: PMC3261804  PMID: 22145744
5.  VIP Regulates the Development & Proliferation of Treg in vivo in spleen 
Background
Mounting evidence supports a key role for VIP as an anti-inflammatory agent and promoter of immune tolerance. It suppresses TNF-α and other inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, upregulates anti-inflammatory IL-10, and promotes immune tolerant cells called T regulatory (Treg) cells. VIP KO mice have recently been demonstrated to have spontaneous airway and pulmonary perivascular inflammatory responses, as part of asthma-like and pulmonary hypertension phenotypes, respectively. Both inflammatory responses are correctable with VIP. Focusing on this model, we have now investigated the influence of VIP not only on inflammatory cells but also on Treg cells.
Methods
Using flow cytometric analysis, we examined the relative preponderance of CD25+CD4+ cells and anti-inflammatory Treg cells, in extracts of thymus and spleen from VIP KO mice (5 VIP KO; 5 VIP KO+ VIP; 10 wild-type). This method allowed antibody-based flow cytometric identification of Treg cells using surface markers CD25 and CD4, along with the: 1) intracellular activation marker FoxP3; and 2) Helios, which distinguishes cells of thymic versus splenic derivation.
Conclusions
Deletion of the VIP gene results in: 1) CD25+CD4- cell accumulation in the thymus, which is corrected by VIP treatment; 2) more Treg in thymus lacking Foxp3 expression, suggesting VIP is necessary for immune tolerance; and, 3) a tendency towards deficiency of Treg cells in the spleen, which is normalized by VIP treatment. Treg lacking Helios are induced by VIP intrasplenically rather than by migration from the thymus. These results confirm the dual role of VIP as an anti-inflammatory and immune tolerance-promoting agent.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-19
PMCID: PMC3286388  PMID: 22126441

Results 1-25 (75)