RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Induced sputum eosinophils and neutrophils and bronchiectasis severity in allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a hypersensitivity reaction to the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus that may progress to bronchiectasis. The aim of the present study was to characterize airway inflammation in patients with clinically stable ABPA and asthma, and to correlate this with bronchiectasis severity. Subjects with ABPA and central bronchiectasis (ABPA-CB; n=16) and ABPA with serological evidence alone (ABPA-S; n=10) were studied. Comparison groups were A. fumigatus-sensitized asthma (n=19), non-A. fumigatus-sensitized asthma (n=15) and healthy controls (n=8). Hypertonic saline challenge, sputum induction and high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the chest were performed. Sputum eosinophil numbers were markedly elevated in ABPA-CB (median 8.4%) compared to ABPA-S (2.4%), A. fumigatus-sensitized asthma (1.8%), asthma (1.8%) and controls (0.3%) (p<0.01); sputum eosinophil cationic protein levels were higher in ABPA-CB (median 13,706 ng.mL(-1)), compared to ABPA-S (1,633.5 ng.mL(-1)), A. fumigatus-sensitized asthma (1,550.7 ng.mL(-1)), asthma (309.2 ng.mL(-1)), and controls (110 ng.mL(-1)) (p<0.001). ABPA-CB also showed increased sputum neutrophil number (median 60.3%) compared to the other groups (controls 29.3%) (p=0.01). The severity of bronchiectasis on HRCT correlated with sputum neutrophil (r=0.6) and eosinophil number (r=0.5) but not serum immunoglobulin-E levels. In conclusion, clinically stable allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis with bronchiectasis is characterized by an intense heterogenous inflammatory infiltrate consisting of eosinophils and neutrophils, which correlates closely with the severity of bronchiectasis on high-resolution computed tomography. Sputum analysis may be useful in monitoring the course of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.

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