alexa High serum levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-8 in severe asthma: markers of systemic inflammation?


Journal of Allergy & Therapy

Author(s): Silvestri M, Bontempelli M, Giacomelli M, Malerba M, Rossi GA

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BACKGROUND: Severe asthma is characterized by elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and neutrophilic inflammation in the airways. Blood cytokines, markers of 'systemic' inflammation, may be a feature of amplified inflammation in severe asthma. OBJECTIVE: To detect differences in IL-8, TNF-alpha, IL-16 and IL-13 levels in the serum(s) of stable severe and mild-moderate asthmatics related to blood leucocytes proportion, airway calibre and exhaled nitric oxide (NO) levels. METHODS: We assessed cytokine serum levels by ELISA and blood leucocyte counts by an alkaline peroxidase method in 20 healthy controls, 22 mild-moderate [forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1)(%pred): 89+/-3] and 14 severe asthmatics [FEV1(%pred): 49+/-2]. RESULTS: IL-8 and TNF-alpha levels were higher in severe asthmatics than in mild-moderate asthmatics or in controls (P<0.05). No differences in IL-16 and IL-13 levels were detected. Severe asthmatics showed higher circulating neutrophil and eosinophil number than controls (P<0.05). In severe asthmatics, exhaled NO levels were superior than in controls (P<0.05), but inferior than in mild-moderate asthmatics (P<0.05). We found positive correlation between TNF-alpha levels and exhaled NO (r=0.67; P=0.01) or circulating neutrophil counts (r=0.57; P=0.03) in severe asthmatics. CONCLUSION: sTNF-alpha and sIL-8 are markers of 'systemic' inflammation in severe asthmatics, in conjunction with augmented circulating neutrophils, suggesting the involvement of neutrophil-derived cytokine pattern in severe asthma.

This article was published in Clin Exp Allergy and referenced in Journal of Allergy & Therapy

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