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Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2017 Jul;9(4):378-382. doi: 10.4168/aair.2017.9.4.378.

Plasma LTE4/PGF2α Ratio and Blood Eosinophil Count Are Increased in Elderly Asthmatics With Previous Asthma Exacerbation.

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Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University School of Medicine, Anyang, Korea.
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Seoul National University College of Medicine and Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.


The tools for asthma control assessment recommended by the current guideline are cognitive function- and effort-dependent, which is substantially impaired in the elderly. The aim of this study is to investigate objective assessment tools of asthma control status and previous asthma exacerbation (AE) in elderly subjects. Asthmatics aged >60 years who were treated with step 2 or 3 by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guideline were enrolled. During the 12-week study period, the subjects used either 400 μg of budesonide plus 10 mg of montelukast or 800 μg of inhaled budesonide. The occurrence of AE during the 4-week run-in and 12-week treatment period was monitored. After 12-week of treatment, sputum eosinophil count, peripheral eosinophil count, the plasma leukotriene E4 (LTE4), and prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) metabolite levels were measured using the UHPLC/Q-ToF MS system. The study subjects were divided into group 1 (asthmatics who experienced AE during the study period) and group 2 (those who did not). A total of 101 patients aged 60-85 years were enrolled. Twenty-three patients (22.8%) had experienced AE. The plasma LTE4 level, LTE4/PGF2α ratio, and peripheral eosinophil count were significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (P=0.023, P=0.010, P=0.033, respectively). The plasma LTE4/PGF2α ratio and peripheral eosinophil count at week 12 were significantly associated with previous AE (odds ratio [OR]=1.748, P=0.013; OR=1.256, P=0.027). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to discriminate the subjects with previous AE, including these 2 parameters, showed that the area under the curve was 0.700 (P=0.004), with 73.9% sensitivity and 47.9% specificity. In conclusion, a combination of plasma LTE4/PGF2α ratio and peripheral eosinophil count can be an objective assessment tool which is significantly associated with asthma control status in elderly asthmatics.


Elderly asthma; exacerbation; leukotriene

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