Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2019 Feb;122(2):175-183.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2018.10.021. Epub 2018 Oct 29.
BACKGROUND: Upper respiratory tract viral infections cause asthma exacerbations in children. However, the impact of natural colds on children with asthma in the community, particularly in the high-risk urban environment, is less well defined.
OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that children with high-symptom upper respiratory viral infections have reduced airway function and greater respiratory tract inflammation than children with virus-positive low-symptom illnesses or virus-negative upper respiratory tract symptoms.
METHODS: We studied 53 children with asthma from Detroit, Michigan, during scheduled surveillance periods and self-reported respiratory illnesses for 1 year. Symptom score, spirometry, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), and nasal aspirate biomarkers, and viral nucleic acid and rhinovirus (RV) copy number were assessed.
RESULTS: Of 658 aspirates collected, 22.9% of surveillance samples and 33.7% of respiratory illnesses were virus-positive. Compared with the virus-negative asymptomatic condition, children with severe colds (symptom score ≥5) showed reduced forced expiratory flow at 25% to 75% of the pulmonary volume (FEF25%-75%), higher nasal messenger RNA expression of C-X-C motif chemokine ligand (CXCL)-10 and melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5, and higher protein abundance of CXCL8, CXCL10 and C-C motif chemokine ligands (CCL)-2, CCL4, CCL20, and CCL24. Children with mild (symptom score, 1-4) and asymptomatic infections showed normal airway function and fewer biomarker elevations. Virus-negative cold-like illnesses demonstrated increased FeNO, minimal biomarker elevation, and normal airflow. The RV copy number was associated with nasal chemokine levels but not symptom score.
CONCLUSION: Urban children with asthma with high-symptom respiratory viral infections have reduced FEF25%-75% and more elevations of nasal biomarkers than children with mild or symptomatic infections, or virus-negative illnesses.