Grace Williamson

Queen's University Belfast, Béal Feirste, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

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Publications (2)5.71 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies show that some children develop wheezing after 3 yr of age which tends to persist. It is unknown how this starts or whether there is a period of asymptomatic inflammation. The aim of this study is to determine whether lower airway allergic inflammation pre-exists in late onset childhood wheeze (LOCW). Follow-up study of children below 5 yr who had a non-bronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) performed during elective surgery. The children had acted as normal controls. A modified ISAAC questionnaire was sent out at least 7 yr following the initial BAL, and this was used to ascertain whether any children had subsequently developed wheezing or other atopic disease (eczema, allergic rhinitis). Cellular and cytokine data from the original BAL were compared between those who never wheezed (NW) and those who had developed LOCW. Eighty-one normal non-asthmatic children were recruited with a median age of 3.2 . Of the 65 children contactable, 9 (16.7%) had developed wheeze, 11 (18.5%) developed eczema and 14 (22.2%) developed hay fever. In five patients, wheeze symptoms developed mean 3.3- yr (range: 2-5 yr) post-BAL. Serum IgE and blood eosinophils were not different in the LOCW and NW, although the blood white cell count was lower in the LOCW group. The median BAL eosinophil % was significantly increased in the patients with LOCW (1.55%, IQR: 0.33 to 3.92) compared to the children who never wheezed, NW (0.1, IQR: 0.0 to 0.3, p = 0.01). No differences were detected for other cell types. There were no significant differences in BAL cytokine concentrations between children with LOCW and NW children. Before late onset childhood wheezing developed, we found evidence of elevated eosinophils in the airways. These data suggest pre-existent airways inflammation in childhood asthma some years before clinical presentation.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2010 · Pediatric Allergy and Immunology
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    ABSTRACT: There is a need for reproducible and effective models of pediatric bronchial epithelium to study disease states such as asthma. We aimed to develop, characterize, and differentiate an effective, an efficient, and a reliable three-dimensional model of pediatric bronchial epithelium to test the hypothesis that children with asthma differ in their epithelial morphologic phenotype when compared with nonasthmatic children. Primary cell cultures from both asthmatic and nonasthmatic children were grown and differentiated at the air-liquid interface for 28 d. Tight junction formation, MUC5AC secretion, IL-8, IL-6, prostaglandin E2 production, and the percentage of goblet and ciliated cells in culture were assessed. Well-differentiated, multilayered, columnar epithelium containing both ciliated and goblet cells from asthmatic and nonasthmatic subjects were generated. All cultures demonstrated tight junction formation at the apical surface and exhibited mucus production and secretion. Asthmatic and nonasthmatic cultures secreted similar quantities of IL-8, IL-6, and prostaglandin E2. Cultures developed from asthmatic children contained considerably more goblet cells and fewer ciliated cells compared with those from nonasthmatic children. A well-differentiated model of pediatric epithelium has been developed that will be useful for more in vivo like study of the mechanisms at play during asthma.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · Pediatric Research