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J Asthma. 2002 Sep;39(6):537-44.

Relation of airway reactivity and sensitivity with bronchial pathology in asthma.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Catholic University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Airway hyperresponsiveness in asthmatics, which may result from inflammation or remodeling, is expressed as the concentration of methacholine that causes a 20% fall in FEV1 in the concentration-response curve (PC20). A decrease in PC20 may be due to a steeper curve (hyperreactivity) and/or a curve shift to the left (hypersensitivity). Our purpose was to analyze the relation of airway sensitivity and reactivity to airway pathological changes. The PC6, as sensitivity parameter, and the slope between PC20 and PC40 as reactivity parameter, were calculated. Total and differential cell counts in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and percentage of epithelial shedding, basement membrane thickness, and submucosal thickness on bronchial biopsy, were measured. The PC6 showed a correlation with the baseline FEV1%. The slope was significantly correlated with the basement membrane thickness, and also demonstrated a strong association with submucosal thickness. The PC20 showed a correlation with the baseline FEV1% and the degree of epithelial shedding. These results suggest that the airway sensitivity and reactivity measurements reflect the degree of airway caliber and remodeling, respectively.

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