Sputum eosinophil counts and eosinophil cationic protein levels in cough-variant asthma and in classic asthma, and their relationships to airway hypersensitivity or maximal airway response to methacholine

Young Yoo, Young Yull Koh, H. Kang, J. Yu, K. M. Nah, C. K. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aims of this study were to compare the degree of airway inflammation in cough-variant asthma (CVA) with that in classic asthma (CA), and to examine the relationship between airway inflammation and airway hypersensitivity or maximal airway response to methacholine in both conditions. Methods: Sputum was induced in 41 CVA patients, in 41 methacholine PC20-matched CA patients, and in 20 healthy children. The sputum samples were analyzed for total and differential cell counts, and for eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP). A high-dose methacholine challenge test was performed in CVA and CA patients to determine PC20 and maximal airway response. Results: Sputum eosinophil percentages and ECP levels were significantly elevated in CVA and CA vs the control, but no significant differences were found between the two asthma groups. In the two asthma groups, neither sputum parameters correlated significantly with methacholine PC20. However, the absence of a maximal response plateau or its higher level, when present, was associated with increased eosinophil percentages and ECP levels in the CVA group. Conclusions: The degree of eosinophilic inflammation may not be causally related to differences in presented asthma manifestations. The identification of a maximal response plateau and the level of this plateau in patients with CVA may provide information pertinent to airway eosinophilic inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1062
Number of pages8
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Airway hypersensitivity
  • Classic asthma
  • Cough-variant asthma
  • Eosinophil cationic protein
  • Eosinophils
  • Induced sputum
  • Maximal airway response
  • Maximal response plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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