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Exhaled particles as markers of small airway inflammation in subjects with asthma

Journal article
Authors Per Larsson
Mona Lärstad
Björn Bake
Oscar Hammar
Anna Bredberg
Ann-Charlotte Almstrand
Ekaterina Mirgorodskaya
Anna-Carin Olin
Published in Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
Volume 37
Issue 5
Pages 489-497
ISSN 1475-0961
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Pages 489-497
Language en
Keywords aerosol, airway opening, albumin, asthma, birch pollen, exhaled breath condensate, exhaled particles, PROTEINS SP-A, SURFACTANT PROTEINS, PULMONARY SURFACTANT, BRONCHOALVEOLAR LAVAGE, ALLERGIC PATIENTS, POLLEN, DISEASE, ALVEOLAR, ALBUMIN, LIQUID
Subject categories Environmental Health and Occupational Health, Allergology


Exhaled breath contains suspended particles of respiratory tract lining fluid from the small airways. The particles are formed when closed airways open during inhalation. We have developed a method called Particles in Exhaled air (PExA((R))) to measure and sample these particles in the exhaled aerosol. Here, we use the PExA((R)) method to study the effects of birch pollen exposure on the small airways of individuals with asthma and birch pollen allergy. We hypothesized that birch pollen-induced inflammation could change the concentrations of surfactant protein A and albumin in the respiratory tract lining fluid of the small airways and influence the amount of exhaled particles. The amount of exhaled particles was reduced after birch pollen exposure in subjects with asthma and birch pollen allergy, but no significant effect on the concentrations of surfactant protein A and albumin in exhaled particles was found. The reduction in the number of exhaled particles may be due to inflammation in the small airways, which would reduce their diameter and potentially reduce the number of small airways that open and close during inhalation and exhalation.

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