Menopausal asthma: new phenotype characterized by neutrophilic airway inflammation

Female hormones play a role in women's lung health, especially in asthma pathophysiology. Growing interest has recently been aroused in asthma related to short-term reproductive states (menstruation and pregnancy). However, menopausal asthma has been little studied.

This Italian study included 40 women with menopausal asthma, 35 women with premenopausal asthma and 30 age-matched healthy controls.

Urinary LTE-4, induced sputum inflammatory cells, and exhaled LTE-4, IL-6, pH, and NO levels were measured.

Women with menopausal asthma showed decreased estradiol concentrations, high sputum neutrophils, and exhaled IL-6.

Women with premenopausal asthma presented instead an essentially eosinophilic inflammatory pattern.

The researchers postulate the existence of a new biological phenotype of menopausal asthma that is mainly characterized by neutrophilic airway inflammation and shares several characteristics of the severe asthma phenotype.

References:
Foschino Barbaro MP, Costa VR, Resta O, Prato R, Spanevello A, Palladino GP, Martinelli D, Carpagnano GE. Menopausal asthma: a new biological phenotype? Allergy 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02314.x.
Hormone replacement therapy (particularly estrogen) may increase asthma risk
Women are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma and suffer greater morbidity than men. Medscape, 2011.
Asthma in pregnancy - under-diagnosed and under-treated http://goo.gl/xDK6

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