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Stability of peripheral blood immune markers in patients with asthma.

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Published:29th Apr 2019
Author: Shrestha Palikhe N, Bosonea AM, Laratta C, Gandhi VD, Nahirney D, Hillaby A et al.
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Ref.:Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2019;15:30.

Background: Asthma is a complex disease with variable course. Efforts to identify biomarkers to predict asthma severity, the course of disease and response to treatment have not been very successful so far. We have previous suggested that PAR-2 and CRTh2 expression on specific peripheral blood cell subtypes may be biomarkers of asthma severity. We reasoned that parameters that remain stable when asthma symptoms are controlled would be the most appropriate to evaluate for their utility to predict loss of asthma control and/or severity of the disease.

Methods: Nineteen stable asthmatics were recruited from the University of Alberta Asthma clinic and followed in clinic every 3 months for a total of 4 visits. Patients had spirometry and completed the ACQ questionnaire in every visit. Blood was drawn in every visit and analyzed for a number of immune parameters by flow cytometry. These parameters included PAR-2 and CRTh2 expression on monocyte subgroups and T lymphocytes respectively, as well as numbers of eosinophils, innate lymphoid type-2 cells (ILC2) and dendritic cells. Within person stability of immune and physiological parameters was calculated using the intraclass correlation (ICC) using R version 3.4.0.

Results: FEV1 (% predicted), FEV1/FVC ratio, ACQ5 and ACQ7 did not differ significantly over the 4 visits, as would be expected for patients with stable asthma. Peripheral blood eosinophil numbers by Kimura stain and by flow cytometry showed ICC scores of 0.44 and 0.52 respectively, indicating moderate stability. The % of ILC2 cells in peripheral blood also showed moderate stability [ICC score of 0.45 (0.14–0.67)]. The stability for all other immune parameters was poor.

Conclusion: Among the peripheral blood immune parameters we studied, only numbers of eosinophils and ILC2 in peripheral blood were moderately stable over a year in stable asthmatics. Further studies are required to understand the reasons for the variability of the other cell types.


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