Background: Serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) has
been promoted as a marker of inflammatory activity in bronchial asthma.
Bronchial responsiveness, measured either by inhaling pharmacologically
active substances such as histamine or methacholine, or by applying
physical stimuli such as the hyperventilation of cold dry air, is also
considered to be an indirect marker of bronchial inflammation.
Objectives: In this study, we investigated the possible
relationship between serum ECP and bronchial responsiveness to both
cold dry air and histamine in presently symptom- and medication-free
pediatric and adolescent asthma patients.
Thirty-six children and adolescents with atopic asthma were
Methods: On 2 consecutive days, bronchial
responsiveness was assessed nonpharmacologically by cold dry air and
pharmacologically by histamine in random order. Blood samples for
determination of ECP were collected before each challenge.
Results: Serum ECP levels correlated with neither cold dry
air-induced changes in FEV1 nor the provocation
concentrations of histamine causing a 20% fall in FEV1.
Subjects with bronchial hyperresponsiveness to cold dry air and
histamine had somewhat higher levels of serum ECP than subjects with
normal responses, but these differences were insignificant.
Conclusions: Our results indicate a lack of relationship
both between serum ECP and bronchial responsiveness to cold dry air and
between serum ECP and bronchial responsiveness to