Evaluation of airway reactivity and immune characteristics as risk factors for wheezing early in life

Weiguo Yao, Florencia M. Barbé-Tuana, Conrado J. Llapur, Marcus H. Jones, Christina Tiller, Risa Kimmel, Jeffrey Kisling, Evelyn T. Nguyen, James Nguyen, Zhangsheng Yu, Mark H. Kaplan, Robert S. Tepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Background: Childhood asthma is most often characterized by recurrent wheezing, airway hyperreactivity, and atopy; however, our understanding of these relationships from early in life remains unclear. Respiratory tract illnesses and atopic sensitization early in life might produce an interaction between innate and acquired immune responses, leading to airway inflammation and heightened airway reactivity. Objective: We hypothesized that premorbid airway reactivity and immunologic characteristics of infants without prior episodes of wheezing would be associated with subsequent wheezing during a 1-year follow-up. Methods: One hundred sixteen infants with chronic dermatitis were enrolled before episodes of wheezing. Airway reactivity, allergen-specific IgE levels, cytokine production by stimulated PBMCs, and percentages of dendritic cells were measured on entry, and airway reactivity was reassessed at the 1-year follow-up. Linear regression models were used to evaluate a predictor's effect on continuous outcomes. Results: Milk sensitization, egg sensitization, or both were associated with heightened airway reactivity before wheezing and after the onset of wheezing; however, these factors were not associated with an increased risk of wheezing. There was an interaction between initial airway reactivity and wheezing as a determinant of airway reactivity at follow-up. In addition, cytokine production by stimulated PBMCs was a risk factor for wheezing, whereas increased percentages of conventional dendritic cells were protective against wheezing. Conclusion: Our data in a selected cohort of infants support a model with multiple risk factors for subsequent wheezing that are independent of initial airway reactivity; however, the causative factors that produce wheezing very early in life might contribute to heightened airway reactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-488.e1
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • airway reactivity
  • atopy
  • cytokines
  • dendritic cells
  • dermatitis
  • food allergy
  • Infants
  • wheezing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Medicine(all)

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    Yao, W., Barbé-Tuana, F. M., Llapur, C. J., Jones, M. H., Tiller, C., Kimmel, R., Kisling, J., Nguyen, E. T., Nguyen, J., Yu, Z., Kaplan, M. H., & Tepper, R. S. (2010). Evaluation of airway reactivity and immune characteristics as risk factors for wheezing early in life. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 126(3), 483-488.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2010.06.028