Abstract

Background
High bronchodilator reversibility in adult asthma is associated with distinct clinical characteristics. In this study, we aim to make a comparison with T-helper 2 (Th2)-related biomarkers, lung function and asthma control between asthmatic patients with high airway reversibility (HR) and low airway reversibility (LR).
Methods
Patients with asthma diagnosed by pulmonologist according to Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines were recruited from the outpatient department of our hospital from August 2014 to July 2017. Patients were divided into HR and LR subgroups based on their response to bronchodilators of lung function (HR = Δforced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) postbronchodilator ≥ 20%). Blood eosinophil count and serum IgE level, which are biomarkers of T-helper (Th)-2 phenotypes, were detected for patients. Asthma Control Test (ACT) was used to assess asthma control after the first-month initial treatment.
Results
A total of 265 patients with asthma were followed 1 month after initial treatment. HR group shows a higher level of Th2-high biomarkers (blood eosinophil count (10^9/L): 0.49 ± 0.28 vs 0.36 ± 0.19, P < 0.01; IgE (ng/ml): 1306 ± 842 vs 413 ± 261, P < 0.01), lower baseline lung function (FEV1%pred: 51.91 ± 19.34% vs 60.42 ± 19.22%, P < 0.01; forced expiratory flow (FEF)25–75: 0.76 ± 0.37 vs 1.00 ± 0.67, P < 0.01; FEF25–75%pred: 21.15 ± 10.09% vs 29.06 ± 16.50%, P < 0.01), and better asthma control (ACT score: 22 ± 4 vs 20 ± 4, P = 0.01) than LR group. HR was associated with a decreased risk of uncontrolled asthma after the first-month initial treatment (adjusted OR: 0.12 [95% confidence intervals: 0.03–0.50]).
Conclusions
HR is a physiologic indicator of lower lung function and severer small airway obstruction, and is more related with an increased level of Th2-biomarkers than LR. Moreover, HR may indicate controlled asthma after the first-month initial treatment. This finding may contribute to identification of asthma endotype.