Background Allergic asthma is characterized by airway inflammation associated with recruitment and activation of eosinophils. In mice, allergen exposure induces platelet migration to the airways that is necessary for eosinophil recruitment and activation. We therefore hypothesized that in the airways of human subjects with asthma, platelet activation would be positively associated with eosinophil activation and platelet and eosinophil activation would both be associated with clinical asthma characteristics.
Methods Nasal wash levels of P-selectin (a measure of platelet activation) and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) (a measure of eosinophil activation) were compared with each other and with clinical asthma characteristics in a cross-sectional study of urban children and adolescents (age range, 6-20 years) with asthma.
Results Regression analysis revealed a significantly positive association between log10 P-selectin levels and log10 ECP levels (β = 0.50 ng/mL [95% confidence interval, 0.05-0.94 ng/mL]; P = 0.029). Additionally, ECP was significantly and negatively associated with 2 asthma-related quality of life measurements, and P-selectin was associated with one of these.
Conclusions Our study shows the first significant association between platelet and eosinophil activation in airways of human subjects with asthma. These data provide a first step toward delineating what seems to be an important role for platelets in airway eosinophilia.
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