This study aims to explore the potential of
in situairway differentiation of eosinophil progenitors (EoPs) and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) in sputum and peripheral blood from patients with non-asthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis (NAEB), eosinophilic asthma (EA), and healthy controls (HC). Methods
Using flow cytometry, we enumerated sputum and blood HPCs and EoPs in patients with NAEB (n=15), EA (n=15), and HC (n=14) at baseline. Patients with NAEB and EA were then treated for 1 month with budesonide (200 μg, bid) or budesonide and formoterol (200/6 μg, bid), respectively. HPCs and EoPs in both compartments were re-evaluated.
At baseline, NAEB and EA both had significantly greater numbers of sputum but not blood HPCs and EoPs (
p<0.05) compared to HC. There were no differences between NAEB and EA. After 1 month of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment, NAEB patients showed a significant improvement in cough symptoms, but the attenuation of sputum HPC and EoP levels was not significant. Conclusions
NAEB patients have increased airway levels of HPCs and EoPs. One-month treatment with ICS did not fully suppress the level of EoPs in NAEB. Controlling
in situairway differentiation of EoPs may control airway eosinophilia and provide long-term resolution of symptoms in NAEB.