Effects of once daily dosing with inhaled budesonide on airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation following repeated low-dose allergen challenge in atopic asthmatics
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BACKGROUND: Repeated low-dose allergen challenge increases airway hyperresponsiveness and sputum eosinophils in atopic asthmatics. Inhaled corticosteroids attenuate the airway responses to high-dose allergen challenge, but have not been evaluated against repeated low dose challenge. OBJECTIVE: This study evaluates the effects of once daily treatments of two doses of inhaled budesonide on airway responses to repeated low-dose allergen challenge. METHODS: Eight atopic asthmatics with a dual airway responses to inhaled allergen were recruited into a randomized, double-blind crossover, placebo-controlled study. In the mornings of four consecutive days (day 1-day 4), subjects inhaled budesonide 100 microg, 400 microg, or placebo, 30 min before inhaling a concentration of allergen causing a 5% early fall in FEV1. Airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine and sputum eosinophils were measured at baseline, on the afternoon of day 2, day 4, and 24 h after the last challenge. There was a 1-week washout between each of the three treatment periods. RESULTS: The repeated low-dose allergen challenge induced increases in the percentage sputum eosinophils from 2.0 +/- 0.7% at baseline to 16.6 +/- 7.1% on day 4 (P = 0.002), and this effect was reduced by once daily budesonide 100 microg to 5.6 +/- 1.8% (P = 0. 01) and by once daily budesonide 400 microg to 3.1 +/- 0.9% (P = 0. 004). Also, the allergen-induced methacholine airway hyperresponsiveness which occurred by day 4 (P = 0.03) of the repeated low dose challenge was inhibited by budesonide 400 microg (P = 0.017). CONCLUSION: Both budesonide 100 microg and 400 microg inhaled once daily significantly reduces allergen-induced sputum eosinophilia after repeated low dose challenge; however, only the higher dose also attenuates the allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness.