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Eur Respir J. 2006 May;27(5):908-12.

High sensitivity C-reactive protein in asthma.

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  • 1Dept of Respiratory Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


Asthma is characterised by chronic inflammation of the airways, but the relevance of high-sensitivity assays for C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), which are known to be a sensitive marker of low-grade systemic inflammation, has not been fully studied in asthma. The objective was to examine serum hs-CRP levels in patients with asthma and their relationship to clinical characteristics and degree of airway inflammation. Serum hs-CRP levels were cross-sectionally examined in steroid-naive (n = 22) and steroid-inhaling (n = 23) adult patients with asthma and healthy controls (n = 14). All were nonsmokers. Serum hs-CRP levels were significantly increased in steroid-naive patients (mean+/-sd 1.33+/-1.48 mg.L(-1)) compared with controls (0.21+/-0.30 mg.L(-1)), but not in patients on inhaled corticosteroid. Among steroid-naive patients, serum hs-CRP levels significantly negatively correlated with indices of pulmonary function (forced expiratory volume in one second/forced vital capacity and forced mid-expiratory flow) and positively with sputum eosinophil count. Among patients on inhaled corticosteroid, hs-CRP levels did not correlate with any indices. In conclusion, an increase in serum C-reactive protein levels measured by high-sensitivity assays may be associated with airflow obstruction and airway inflammation, and may serve as a surrogate marker of airway inflammation in asthma.

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