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Thursday 01 March 2001

The effect of salmeterol on markers of airway inflammation following segmental allergen challenge.

By: Calhoun WJ, Hinton KL, Kratzenberg JJ.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001 Mar;163(4):881-6

Inflammation is a critical component of asthma. Drugs that control asthma generally reduce the degree of airway inflammation. There is theoretical controversy surrounding the effects of beta(2)-agonists on airway inflammation, with some studies suggesting an anti-inflammatory effect, and others predicting a proinflammatory influence. We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study of the effect of the long-acting beta(2)-agonist salmeterol on airway inflammation induced by segmental allergen challenge (SAC). We studied 13 allergic asthmatics controlled with as needed inhaled short-acting beta(2)-agonists alone, and used bronchoalveolar lavage 5 min and 48 h after SAC to assess airway inflammation, and the effects of salmeterol on this process. Salmeterol therapy improved FEV(1), but had no significant effect on the immediate or late cellular response to SAC. One measure of superoxide production was reduced, and interleukin-4 (IL-4) was reduced in baseline samples, but other indices of airway inflammation were unchanged by salmeterol therapy. We conclude that salmeterol therapy alone does not meaningfully reduce airway inflammation induced by SAC, but equally importantly, does not result in amplified inflammation.

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