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Wednesday 01 September 2004

Reduced eosinophil pro-fibrogenic effect in severe childhood asthma compared to mild disease: an effect of corticosteroids?

By: Puxeddu I, Lack G, Smith SJ, Levi-Schaffer F.

Pediatr Pulmonol 2004 Sep;38(3):222-8

Eosinophils play an important role in inflammation and probably in airway remodeling in asthma. We previously demonstrated that eosinophils from atopic subjects display pro-fibrogenic properties towards lung fibroblasts partially by preformed transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). We hypothesized that the pro-fibrogenic potential of eosinophils is increased in children with life-threatening asthma (LTA). Six children with atopic LTA clinically well-controlled by inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and 5 children with atopic mild asthma (MA) treated only with inhaled beta(2)-agonists were investigated. The effects of their peripheral blood eosinophils on fibroblast proliferation and lattice contraction were investigated. In addition, TGF-beta(1) and IL-6 eosinophil content were also evaluated. Unexpectedly, eosinophils from LTA increased fibroblast proliferation (5.4-fold) and gel contraction (1.1-fold) significantly less than those from MA. TGF-beta(1) but not IL-6 eosinophil content in LTA was significantly lower than that in MA (2.7-fold). In vitro, addition of dexamethasone on eosinophils stimulated by mast cells resulted in a marked decrease in their TGF-beta(1) content by 1.6-fold. In conclusion, eosinophils from children with ICS-treated LTA displayed significantly less pro-fibrogenic properties than those from MA treated only with beta(2)-agonists. Our data suggest that the pro-fibrogenic effect of eosinophils might be influenced by treatment with ICS in childhood asthma. Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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