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Sunday 01 June 2003

Reversibility to a beta2-agonist in COPD: relationship to atopy and neutrophil activation.

By: Sitkauskiene B, Sakalauskas R, Malakauskas K, Lotvall J.

Respir Med 2003 Jun;97(6):591-8

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by limited bronchial reversibility and chronic neutrophilic inflammation. However, in some cases of COPD, eosinophilic inflammation is present. We investigated the relationship between reversibility to beta2-agonist with atopy and neutrophil activation in patients with stable COPD. For this purpose, 38 outpatients with COPD (mean age: 64 years) 12 with asthma (mean age: 51 years) and 13 healthy controls (mean age: 49 years) were tested using increasing doses of inhaled salbutamol (up to 3100 microg). According to their reversibility, COPD patients were divided into two groups: reversible COPD (deltaFEV1 > or = 12% pred, n = 16) and non-reversible COPD (deltaFEV1 < 12% pred, n = 22). Atopy, assessed by skin prick, was found at similar frequencies in both COPD groups. Total serum IgE was higher in COPD patients vs. controls, but did not differ significantly between the COPD groups. The blood eosinophil count was significantly higher in the reversible COPD group than in the non-reversible COPD, and correlated with deltaFEV % pred (Rs = 0.54, P < 0.05), as well as in asthmatics. The non-reversible COPD group had a higher level of spontaneous neutrophil activation (by reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium) versus controls. We conclude that airway reversibility in COPD patients is associated with the degree of blood eosinophilia, but not with the degree of blood neutrophil activation.

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