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Respir Med. 2012 Oct;106(10):1376-82. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2012.06.007. Epub 2012 Jun 30.

Skin-blanching is associated with FEV(1), allergy, age and gender in asthma families.

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Department of Pulmonology, Groningen Research Institute for Asthma and COPD, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Inhaled glucocorticosteroids reduce airway inflammation in asthma patients, thereby improving lung function and reducing airway hyperresponsiveness and symptoms. The response to glucocorticosteroids can be measured with the glucocorticosteroid skin-blanching test. We investigated if asthmatics have a lower skin-blanching response to glucocorticosteroids than non-asthmatic subjects and if asthmatics with airway obstruction have lower skin-blanching response than those without obstruction. Finally, we assessed which clinical and inflammatory parameters influence the variability in skin-blanching response.


We evaluated the skin-blanching response to topical budesonide in a large group of 315 well-characterized asthmatics and their relatives (asthma n = 114, healthy n = 140, other = 61).


The skin-blanching scores of the asthma probands and their healthy spouses were not significantly different. The skin-blanching score of patients with FEV(1) < 80% predicted was lower than of patients without obstruction. Lower skin-blanching score was significantly associated with lower FEV(1) %predicted, higher age, female gender, absence of allergy and summer season, but not with use of inhaled or oral glucocorticosteroids or packyears smoking.


Asthmatics do not have lower skin-blanching response to glucocorticosteroids than healthy subjects. Furthermore, lower skin-blanching response to glucocorticosteroids is associated with lower FEV(1), female gender, higher age and the absence of allergy.

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