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Local and systemic immunological parameters associated with remission of asthma symptoms in children

Susan Waserman15*, Parameswaran Nair1, Denis Snider2, Mary Conway1, Lata Jayaram1, Lynn M McCleary4, Jerry Dolovich1, Frederick E Hargreave1 and Jean S Marshall3

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

2 Departments of Pathology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

3 Departments of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

4 Microbiology & Immunology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

5 Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, McMaster University Medical Centre, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada

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Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 2012, 8:16  doi:10.1186/1710-1492-8-16

Published: 8 October 2012


The immunological and clinical parameters that are associated with asthma remission are poorly understood. The cytokine and local mediator changes associated with the resolution of asthma symptoms were examined in three groups of subjects 12–18 years of age (n = 15 in each group): (a) continuing asthma group (CA) who had persistent symptoms since early childhood, (b) an age, sex and atopic status-matched group who had persistent symptoms in early childhood but in whom these had resolved (RA), and (c) a non-atopic, non-asthmatic control group. Clinical parameters, sputum cell counts, peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cytokine production and activation marker expression were determined. All of the CA had methacholine airway hyperresponsiveness compared with only half of the RA subjects. The CA showed elevated numbers of eosinophils and increased ECP and IL-5 in sputum, which were not observed in the RA. PBMC cytokine studies revealed increased production of the type 1 cytokines IL-12, IFN-γ and TNF-α in the CA group compared with the RA group, under a range of activation conditions, however, the production of IL-4 and IL-5 were unchanged. These findings suggest that decreased type 1 cytokine expression as well as decreased eosinophilic inflammation is associated with the resolution of asthma symptoms.

Asthma in children; Eosinophils; IL-5; TNF-α; IL-12