Allergy Asthma Immunol Res.  2020 Jan;12(1):125-136. 10.4168/aair.2020.12.1.125.

Circulating MicroRNAs and T-Cell Cytokine Expression Are Associated With the Characteristics of Asthma Exacerbation

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Immunology and Allergy, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland. marek.kowalski@csk.umed.lodz.pl
  • 2Department of Rheumatology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.

Abstract

PURPOSE
Immunological mechanisms underlying asthma exacerbation have not been elucidated. The aim of this study was to assess the associations of various asthma exacerbation traits with selected serum microRNA (miRNA) expression and T-cell subpopulations.
METHODS
Twenty-one asthmatics were studied during asthma exacerbation (exacerbation visit [EV] and the follow-up visit [FV] at 6 weeks). At both visits, spirometry was performed, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) was measured, and nasopharyngeal and blood samples were collected. In nasopharyngeal samples, respiratory viruses were assayed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and bacterial cultures were performed. Serum miRNAs were assayed with real-time PCR. T-cell surface markers, eosinophil progenitors and intracellular cytokines were assessed by flow cytometry.
RESULTS
Two-thirds of patients had moderate or severe exacerbation and the FV, overall improvement in asthma control was observed. The mean expression of serum miRNA-126a, miRNA-16 and miRNA-21 was significantly lower at the EV than at the FV. At EV, miRNA-29b correlated with FeNO (r = 0.44, P < 0.05), and 5 of 7 miRNA tested correlated with pulmonary function tests. The number of cluster of differentiation (CD)45+CD4+interleukin (IL)4+ cells was significantly higher at the EV than at the FV, and positive correlations of T-regulatory cells and eosinophil progenitors with asthma control was found. At the EV, serum miRNAs negatively correlated with the number of T cells expressing IL-4, IL-17, IL-22 and interferon gamma, while at the FV both positive and negative correlations with T-cell subsets were observed. No association of detected pathogen (viruses and bacteria) in nasopharyngeal fluid with clinical, functional and immunological parameters was found.
CONCLUSIONS
Epigenetic dysregulation during asthma exacerbation could be related to respiratory function, airway inflammation and T-cell cytokine expression.

Keyword

Asthma; microRNAs; T-lymphocytes; cytokines; disease progression; asthma

MeSH Terms

Asthma*
Cytokines
Disease Progression
Eosinophils
Epigenomics
Flow Cytometry
Follow-Up Studies
Humans
Inflammation
Interferons
Interleukin-17
Interleukin-4
MicroRNAs*
Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction
Nitric Oxide
Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
Respiratory Function Tests
Spirometry
T-Lymphocyte Subsets
T-Lymphocytes*
Cytokines
Interferons
Interleukin-17
Interleukin-4
MicroRNAs
Nitric Oxide
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