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The role of measuring airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammatory biomarkers in asthma

Authors Graeme P Currie, Tom C Fardon, Daniel KC Lee

Published 15 July 2005 Volume 2005:1(2) Pages 83—92

Graeme P Currie1, Tom C Fardon2, Daniel KC Lee3

1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK; 2Asthma and Allergy Research Group, Ninewells University Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland, UK; 3Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ipswich Hospital, Ipswich, England, UK

Abstract: Asthma is characterized by inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness, which results in episodic airflow obstruction. It is diagnosed once a compatible clinical history plus objective evidence of diurnal variability in peak expiratory flow or significant reversibility to inhaled bronchodilator is documented. In accordance with current guidelines, measures of airway calibre and symptoms allow patients and clinicians to assess the degree of asthma control and titrate pharmacotherapy. However, these parameters fail to reflect the extent of underlying endobronchial inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness, which in turn suggests that additional measures of asthma control may be of benefit. This evidence-based review highlights ways by which inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness can be assessed and how they may provide additional useful information in the diagnosis and management of asthmatic patients.

Keywords: asthma, inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophils, corticosteroids, beta-agonists

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