Bronchiectasis in severe asthma is associated with eosinophilic airway inflammation and activation

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Bronchiectasis is a common comorbidity in severe asthma; causative pathogenic mechanisms are not fully understood but may differ from other causes of bronchiectasis. The role of eosinophilic airway inflammation, a classic feature of asthma predominantly driven by IL-5 and IL-13, in bronchiectasis is unclear, but association with disruption of the airway epithelium through eosinophil degranulation and increased mucus production is plausible.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to describe the prevalence of bronchiectasis in an unselected population of patients with severe asthma, and the association with the airway eosinophilic inflammation and activation.

METHODS: All patients with severe asthma according to European Respiratory Society/American Thoracic Society criteria (high-dose inhaled corticosteroids/oral corticosteroids), attending 4 respiratory clinics over a 1-year period, were included. All patients underwent high-resolution computed tomography and induced sputum was collected and analyzed for a cell differential count, free eosinophilic granules, and airway messenger RNA expression of T2 inflammatory pathways.

RESULTS: Bronchiectasis was present in 31% (34 of 108) of patients with severe asthma, and half (52%) of these patients had airway eosinophilia whereas only 16% of patients without bronchiectasis had airway eosinophilia. Patients with bronchiectasis had a significantly higher sputum eosinophil count (5.3 vs 0.8; P = .001) as well as more extensive eosinophil degranulation, compared with those without bronchiectasis (13% vs 2%; P = .05), suggesting a higher degree of eosinophil activation. Pairwise analyses identified significantly higher messenger RNA expression of Charcot-Leyden crystal galectin in patients with bronchiectasis (P = .02).

CONCLUSIONS: Bronchiectasis in severe asthma was associated with eosinophilic airway inflammation and eosinophilic degranulation as well as messenger RNA expression of Charcot-Leyden crystal galectin.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftThe journal of allergy and clinical immunology. Global
Vol/bind2
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)36-42
Antal sider7
ISSN2772-8293
DOI
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2023

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