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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Oct;111(4):268-275.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2013.06.028. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Elevation of S100 calcium binding protein A9 in sputum of neutrophilic inflammation in severe uncontrolled asthma.

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Genome Research Center for Allergy and Respiratory Disease, Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Bucheon, Korea.



Neutrophilic airway inflammation is frequently observed in severe uncontrolled asthma (UA) and controlled asthma (CA). However, there is no sputum biomarker to differentiate the 2 conditions.


To identify biomarkers of severe uncontrolled asthma with neutrophilic airway inflammation.


Sputum with a neutrophil content larger than 70% was pooled from 5 patients with severe UA and from 10 patients with CA. Two-dimensional electrophoresis was adopted for differential display proteomics, and candidate proteins were identified using matrix-assisted laser adsorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometric analysis. S100 calcium binding protein A9 (S100A9) was identified by western blot and its level was measured in sputum from asthmatics with varying disease severity, patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, and normal controls using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Fourteen protein spots exhibited differences in relative intensity between patients with severe UA and those with CA. Matrix-assisted laser adsorption/ionization-time of flight/time of flight of these spots showed an increase in human neutrophil peptide-2, S100A9, β-amylase, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, 4-aminobutyrate transaminase, and cystatin SA in patients with UA compared with patients with CA. There was a decrease in the plunc precursor, complement C3 component, immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable region, glial fibrillary acidic protein isoform-1, IgM κIIIb SON, MLL-AF4 der(11) fusion protein, cytokeratin-8, and recombinant IgG4 heavy chain. S100A9 was detected at a higher level in western blots of neutrophilic sputum from patients with severe UA vs CA. S100A9 levels were significantly increased, as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in neutrophilic UA compared with CA, eosinophilic UA and CA, and chronic obstructive lung disease.


S100A9 in sputum may be a biomarker of neutrophilic inflammation in severe UA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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