Repeatability of allergen-induced airway inflammation☆☆☆★
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BACKGROUND: Allergen inhalation challenge is a useful clinical model to investigate the effects of asthma therapies on allergen-induced airway responses; however, the repeatability of allergen-induced airway inflammation is not known. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the repeatability of allergen-induced increases in sputum eosinophils. This information will allow the prediction of the number of subjects required in studies evaluating asthma therapies. METHODS: Seventeen subjects completed 2 allergen challenges using the same dose of allergen, at least 3 weeks apart. Allergen-induced airway responses were measured for 7 hours after challenge. Differential cell counts from induced sputum were determined the day before and 7 and 24 hours after challenge; methacholine PC20 was measured the day before and 24 hours after challenge. RESULTS: The intraclass correlation coefficient for maximum percent late fall in FEV1 was 0.32 and for the area of the late response was 0.61. The sample size predicted to be necessary to observe 50% attenuation of the maximum percent late fall in FEV1 and the late area under the curve with a power of 0.95 was 9 subjects. The intraclass correlation coefficient for percent of allergen-induced sputum eosinophils was 0.60 at 7 hours and 0.53 at 24 hours after challenge. With a randomized cross-over study design, the sample size predicted to be necessary to observe 50% attenuation of allergen-induced percent of eosinophils with a power of 0.95 was 5 subjects. CONCLUSION: Allergen inhalation challenge with measurements of sputum eosinophils is a noninvasive and reliable method for evaluating the anti-inflammatory effects of asthma therapies.
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