Response to infections in patients with asthma and atopic disease: an epiphenomenon or reflection of host susceptibility?

Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-8300, USA.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology (Impact Factor: 12.05). 08/2012; 130(2):343-51. DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.05.056
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Associations between respiratory tract infections and asthma inception and exacerbations are well established. Infant respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus infections are known to be associated with an increased risk of asthma development, and among children with prevalent asthma, 85% of asthma exacerbations are associated with viral infections. However, the exact nature of this relationship remains unclear. Is the increase in severity of infections an epiphenomenon, meaning respiratory tract infections just appear to be more severe in patients with underlying respiratory disease, or instead a reflection of altered host susceptibility among persons with asthma and atopic disease? The main focus of this review is to summarize the available levels of evidence supporting or refuting the notion that patients with asthma or atopic disease have an altered susceptibility to selected pathogens, as well as discussing the biological mechanism or mechanisms that might explain such associations. Finally, we will outline areas in need of further research because understanding the relationships between infections and asthma has important implications for asthma prevention and treatment, including potential new pathways that might target the host immune response to select pathogens.

0 0
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Bacterial and viral infections occur early and recurrently in life and thereby impose a substantial disease burden. Besides causing clinical symptoms, a potential role of infection in the development of the asthma syndrome later in life has also been suggested. However, whether bacterial and viral infections unmask host factors in children at risk of asthma or whether they directly cause asthma remains unclear; both viewpoints could be justified, but the underlying mechanisms are complex and poorly understood. Recently, the role of the bacterial microbiome has been emphasised. But data are still sparse and future studies are needed for definitive conclusions to be made. In this Review, we discuss present knowledge of viruses and bacteria that infect and colonise the respiratory tract and mucosal surfaces, including their timepoint of action, host factors related to infection, and their effect on childhood asthma. Childhood asthma could be the result of a combination of altered host susceptibility and infectious agents.
    The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 11/2013; 1(9):743-54.
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this case--control study was to analyse the clinical characteristics of children with recurrent community-acquired pneumonia (rCAP) affecting different lung areas (DLAs) and compare them with those of children who have never experienced CAP in order to contribute to identifying the best approach to such patients. The study involved 146 children with >=2 episodes of radiographically confirmed CAP in DLA in a single year (or >=3 episodes in any time frame) with radiographic clearing of densities between occurrences, and 145 age- and gender-matched controls enrolled in Milan, Italy, between January 2009 and December 2012. The demographic and clinical characteristics of the cases and controls were compared, and a comparison was also made between the cases with rCAP (i.e. <=3 episodes) and those with highly recurrent CAP (hrCAP: i.e. >3 episodes). Gestational age at birth (p = 0.003), birth weight (p = 0.006), respiratory distress at birth (p < 0.001), and age when starting day care attendance (p < 0.001) were significantly different between the cases and controls, and recurrent infectious wheezing (p < 0.001), chronic rhinosinusitis with post-nasal drip (p < 0.001), recurrent upper respiratory tract infections (p < 0.001), atopy/allergy (p < 0.001) and asthma (p < 0.001) were significantly more frequent. Significant risk factors for hrCAP were gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD; p = 0.04), a history of atopy and/or allergy (p = 0.005), and a diagnosis of asthma (p = 0.0001) or middle lobe syndrome (p = 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis, adjusted for age and gender, showed that all of the risk factors other than GERD and wheezing were associated with hrCAP. The diagnostic approach to children with rCAP in DLAs is relatively easy in the developed world, where the severe chronic underlying diseases favouring rCAP are usually identified early, and patients with chronic underlying disease are diagnosed before the occurrence of rCAP in DLAs. When rCAP in DLAs does occur, an evaluation of the patients' history and clinical findings make it possible to limit diagnostic investigations.
    BMC Pulmonary Medicine 10/2013; 13(1):60. · 2.76 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The pathogenetic mechanisms leading to asthma are likely to be diverse, influenced by multiple genetic polymorphisms as well as elements of the environment. Recent data on the microbiome of the airway have revealed intriguing differences between the number and diversity of microbial populations in healthy persons and asthmatics. There is convincing evidence that early viral infections, particularly with human rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus, are often associated with the development of chronic asthma and with exacerbations. Recent studies suggest that two unrelated types of atypical bacteria, Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mpn) and Chlamydia pneumoniae, are present in the airways of a substantial proportion of the population, bringing up the possibility that the persistent presence of the organism may contribute to the asthmatic phenotype in a subset of patients. This review will examine the current data regarding a possible role for infection in chronic asthma with a particular focus on atypical bacterial infections.
    Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 10/2013; · 2.75 Impact Factor

Kristina M James