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30-03-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Severe asthma linked to increased serum IL-17


Free abstract

MedWire News: Patients with severe asthma have increased serum levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-17, researchers have found.

The findings, published in the journal of Respiratory Medicine, also indicate that increased serum IL-17 is an independent risk factor for severe asthma.

Ioana Agache (Transylvania University, Brasov, Romania) and team explain that increased expression of IL-17A has previously been noted in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

To investigate whether serum IL-17 levels have prognostic significance in patients with asthma, the researchers studied 85 patients (61% female) with the respiratory condition who were aged an average of 47 years. Based on GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma) guidelines, 23 patients had mild, 26 had moderate, and 36 had severe persistent asthma.

Blood samples from the participants were collected and analyzed for levels of IL-17.

The researchers found that patients with mild, moderate and severe asthma had medium serum IL-17 levels of 14.21, 12.22, and 24.72 pg/ml, respectively.

Serum IL-17 levels greater than 20 pg/ml were found in 13% of patients with mild asthma and 8% of those with moderate asthma, compared with 31% of patients with severe asthma.

Multiple regression analysis revealed that increased serum IL-17 (greater than 20 pg/ml) was a significant risk factor for severe asthma.

Agache and team conclude: “Serum IL-17 is increased in a subgroup of patients with severe asthma compared to mild/moderate forms of the disease and values above 20 pg/ml are an independent risk factor for severe asthma.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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