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Allergy. 2010 Oct;65(10):1306-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02314.x. Epub 2010 Jun 12.

Menopausal asthma: a new biological phenotype?

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Institute of Respiratory Disease, Department of Medical and Occupational Sciences, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.



Female hormones play an important role in women's lung health, especially in asthma pathophysiology. Although a growing interest has recently been aroused in asthma related to short-term reproductive states, menopausal asthma has been little studied in the past. The aim of the present study was to explore airway inflammation in menopausal asthmatic women in a noninvasive manner.


Forty consecutive women with menopausal asthma, 35 consecutive women with premenopausal asthma and 30 age-matched healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Urinary LTE-4, induced sputum inflammatory cells, and exhaled LTE-4, IL-6, pH, and NO levels were measured in all the subjects enrolled.


Women with menopausal asthma showed decreased estradiol concentrations, high sputum neutrophils, and exhaled IL-6. Women with premenopausal asthma presented instead an essentially eosinophilic inflammatory pattern. Higher urine and breath condensate LTE-4 concentrations were found in premenopausal and menopausal asthma compared to controls.


Our results substantiate the existence of a new biological phenotype of menopausal asthma that is mainly characterized by neutrophilic airways inflammation and shares several characteristics of the severe asthma phenotype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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