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.

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

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