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Original Article


Sputum Levels of Transforming Growth Factor-ß1 in Asthma: Relation to Clinical and Computed Tomography Findings


M Yamaguchi, A Niimi, H Matsumoto, T Ueda, M Takemura, H Matsuoka, M Jinnai, K Otsuka, T Oguma, T Takeda, I Ito, K Chin, M Mishima

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2008; Vol. 18(3): 202-206



Background: Transforming growth factor (TGF) ß1 is considered to play central roles in the pathogenesis of airway remodeling in asthma. This notion is based primarily on the results of experimental studies; clinical evidence is limited. Objectives: To ascertain the involvement of TGF-ß1 in asthma.

Methods: We studied 27 patients with moderate-to-severe, but stable, asthma treated with inhaled corticosteroids and 8 healthy controls.
Helical computed tomography scans were acquired at full inspiration. Airway wall thickness (WT) was assessed on the basis of wall area corrected for body surface area (WA/BSA) and absolute WT corrected for BSA (WT/√BSA) according to a validated method. Induced sputum concentrations of TGF-ß1 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Pulmonary function was evaluated.

Results: Indices of expiratory airflow were significantly lower in the asthmatic patients than in the controls. WA/BSA, WT/√BSA , and sputum concentrations of TGF-ß1 were significantly higher in the asthmatic patients. Sputum TGF-ß1 concentrations correlated positively with WA/BSA and WT/√BSA and negatively with forced expiratory volume in 1 second in both asthmatic and control subjects.

Conclusions: Levels of TGF-ß1 in induced sputum are elevated in asthmatic patients despite treatment with inhaled corticosteroids and are associated with airflow obstruction and airway wall thickening. TGF-ß1 is involved in the pathogenesis of airway remodeling and resultant functional impairment and it may be a target for specific medical treatment.

Key words: Asthma. Transforming growth factor ß1. TGF-ß1. Airway remodeling. Computed tomography. Induced sputum.