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Endothelial Dysfunction and Pentraxin-3 in Clinically Stable Adult Asthma Patients

Pacholczak-Madej R1,2, Kuszmiersz P3, Iwaniec T3, Zaręba L4, Zarychta J3,5, Walocha JA1, Dropiński J3*, Bazan-Socha S3*

1Department of Anatomy, Jagiellonian University, Medical College, Cracow, Poland
2National Cancer Institute, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Institute, Cracow Branch, Poland
3Department of Internal Medicine, Jagiellonian University, Medical College, Cracow, Poland
4Interdisciplinary Centre for Computational Modelling, College of Natural Sciences, University of Rzeszow, Rzeszow, Poland
5Pulmonary Hospital, Zakopane, Poland
*Both authors contributed equally as senior authors

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2021; Vol 31(5) : 417-425
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0563

Background: Asthma is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation, prothrombotic state, and premature atherosclerosis.
Objective: To evaluate the relationships between asthma, inflammatory biomarkers, and parameters of endothelial dysfunction.
Material and Methods: We analyzed flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery and intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery using ultrasound in 92 clinically stable adult asthmatics and 62 well-matched controls. We also measured blood levels of selected inflammatory and asthma-specific biomarkers, including interleukin (IL) 4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12 (p70), IL-17A, IL-23, and interferon γ, as well as a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain–containing protein 33 (ADAM-33). In addition, we assessed endothelial damage using 2 laboratory biomarkers: circulating von Willebrand factor (vWF) and pentraxin-3. We analyzed relationships between the study variables and asthma severity, lung function abnormalities, airway remodeling indices on computed tomography, and transthoracic echocardiography parameters.
Results: Asthmatics had higher IL-6, IL-10, and ADAM-33 levels. They were also characterized by 23% lower FMD% and 15% thicker IMT, as compared with controls (P<.001, both). In asthma, vWF was related to age (ß=0.28 [95%CI, 0.15-0.41]) and remained inversely associated with FEV1 (ß=–0.2 [95%CI, –0.05 to –0.35]). Surprisingly, a negative correlation was revealed between vWF and pentraxin-3 (ß=–0.17 [95%CI, –0.3 to –0.04]). Pentraxin-3 remained positively associated with airway remodeling indices.
Conclusions: Asthma is characterized by endothelial dysfunction associated with airway obstruction. The biological role of pentraxin-3 is unknown, although our data suggest a protective role against endothelial damage and atherosclerosis.

Key words: Asthma. Endothelium, Flow-mediated dilatation, Intima-media thickness, Pentraxin-3

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