Skip Navigation LinksHome > January 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 > Asthma phenotypes and endotypes
Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e32835b10ec
ASTHMA: Edited by Nicola A. Hanania

Asthma phenotypes and endotypes

Lin, Ting-Yua,b; Poon, Audrey H.a; Hamid, Qutaybaa

Free Access
Article Outline
Collapse Box

Author Information

aMeakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

bDepartment of Thoracic Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence to Dr Qutayba Hamid, Meakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University, 3626 Rue St-Urbain, Montreal, Quebec H2X 2P2, Canada. Tel: +1 514 398 38645 ext.00143; e-mail: qutayba.hamid@mcgill.ca

Collapse Box

Abstract

Purpose of review: It is increasingly clear that asthma is not a single disease, but a disorder with vast heterogeneity in pathogenesis, severity, and treatment response. In this review, we discuss the present understanding of different asthma phenotypes and endotypes, and the prospects of personalized medicine for asthma.

Recent findings: The recognition of diverse biological backgrounds in which asthma, and particularly severe asthma, can manifest has prompted the search for refined phenotypes and endotypes in asthma. Such appreciation of the heterogeneity in asthma is also prompting clinical trials to focus on specific subgroups of asthma, as demonstrated by the clinical trial of lebrikizumab.

Summary: Patients with severe asthma have asthma symptoms that are difficult to control, require high dosages of medication, and continue to experience persistent symptoms, asthma exacerbations or airflow obstruction even with aggressive therapy. Although asthma is traditionally viewed as an eosinophilic inflammatory disorder associated with a T-helper cell type 2 (Th2) immune response, recent studies have identified involvement of other effector cells, nonclassical Th2 cytokines and non-Th2 cytokines in severe asthma pathogenesis. Results of several clinical trials of anticytokine antibodies demonstrated the effectiveness of tailoring asthma treatment on the basis of an individual's biology.

Back to Top | Article Outline

INTRODUCTION

Asthma has generally been defined as a chronic disorder of the lung with variable airway obstruction, wheeze/cough, and an underlying inflammatory process. However, considerable heterogeneity exists within the population of patients with asthma-like symptoms. The disease is currently recognized as a complex condition with variable severity, natural history, and response to treatment. Such heterogeneity in the disease demands nonuniform treatment schemes. Treating asthma based on phenotypes, which are observable characteristics with no direct relationship to disease mechanisms, demonstrated some successes yet remains suboptimal, given the variability in treatment response; however, when combined with endotypes, which refers to subpopulations of a disease with similar molecular mechanisms or treatment response, it elicited more effective treatment responses [1–3]. In this review we will highlight the nature of heterogeneity in asthma in terms of pathogenesis, pathophysiology, and treatment response and give a perspective on the future of personalized medicine in the treatment of asthma.

Back to Top | Article Outline

TRADITIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF ASTHMA AND SEVERITY

Asthma is usually defined by observational characteristics. It is commonly defined by atopy status, serum total immunoglubin E (IgE) and blood eosinophils levels [2]. Traditionally, asthma has been categorized as either atopic/extrinsic or nonatopic/intrinsic. The classic paradigm of atopic/extrinsic asthma begins with allergen exposures, followed by progressive allergic inflammation, hyperresponsiveness and symptoms in the airways [3]. Individuals with atopic asthma often developed their asthma in their childhood, have a family history of asthma, and responded to treatment against anti-T-helper cell type 2 (anti-Th2) inflammation. On the contrary, nonatopic/intrinsic asthma is often associated with an adult onset form of the disease and an absence of family history [1,2]. Within the category of intrinsic asthma, individuals with adult onset are associated with more severe symptoms and nasal polyps, and persistent airflow limitation in men [4▪]. Both intrinsic and extrinsic asthma share the common feature of Th2 airway inflammation [5–7].

To define asthma severity, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program outlined four levels on the basis of the underlying physiological changes in the airways and treatment responses: intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, and severe persistent [8]. The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines has reclassified asthma severity into five levels on the basis of the treatment schemes needed to attain good asthma control [9].

Box 1
Box 1
Image Tools

Conventionally, the terms ‘severe asthma’, ‘difficult-to-treat asthma’, or ‘refractory asthma’ have been used interchangeably to describe asthmatic individuals who could not attain good symptom control in spite of high dosages of medication. However, one needs to distinguish individuals with truly severe asthma from those who have failed to achieve good symptom control due to poor treatment compliance. To distinguish the ‘true’ severe asthmatic individuals from those who would have a milder form of the disease if treatment was complied with, various health organizations further defined severe asthma into subclasses. GINA defined ‘difficult-to-treat asthma’ as an asthmatic patient who could not achieve good asthma control in spite of high dosage of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) [9]. The American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society defined refractory asthma and ‘difficult/therapy-resistant asthma’, respectively, on the basis of the treatment scheme needed to attain good asthma control [10,11]. The WHO further categorized severe asthma into untreated severe asthma, difficult-to-treat-asthma, and treatment-resistant severe asthma on the basis of the defined criteria [12]. Finally, the Innovative Medicine Initiative proposed to subdivide ‘problematic asthma’ into ‘difficult asthma’ and ‘severe refractory asthma’, on the basis of treatment adherence and asthma control [13▪]. In this review, the terms ‘severe asthma’ refers to asthmatic individuals who have adhered to treatment yet need an aggressive treatment scheme to attain adequate asthma control.

Back to Top | Article Outline

PATHOGENESIS OF ASTHMA

In the past two decades, Th2-mediated inflammation has been the focus of understanding asthma pathogenesis [14]. Briefly, upon binding of antigens to their receptors on dendritic cells in the epithelium, dendritic cells are activated and present antigen to naive T cells, which differentiate into Th2, one of several T-helper cell types (e.g. Th1, Th2, and Th17). Different T-helper cells have different cytokine production profiles, and for Th2 cells interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 are the canonical cytokines [15]. IL-4 promotes the differentiation and stimulation of Th2 cells and IgE production from B cells. IL-13 mediates smooth muscle contraction, mucus secretion, and airway hyperresponsiveness [16,17▪], and induces eosinophil chemoattractants in the airways [18]. IL-5, another Th2 cytokine, is a critical cytokine for eosinophilic asthma and is essential for the recruitment, differentiation, and activation of eosinophils [19▪].

It has become apparent that severe asthma is a different disease than mild and moderate asthma, in which the dysregulation of the Th1/Th2 cytokines production in severe asthma differs from the milder forms of asthma. It has been postulated that specific sets of cytokines might be associated with different phenotypes and inflammatory markers production, which suggests that there are different phenotypes for asthma, at least at the cellular level [19▪].

Back to Top | Article Outline

AIRWAY REMODELING

Remodeling is believed to be the adaptive changes in the quantity and/or quality of structural cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) in response to various stress stimuli [20]. In asthma, the thickening of the bronchial reticular basement membrane, an increase of ECM, and angiogenesis have been observed in some asthmatic children, implying that remodeling could be a feature in subgroups of asthmatic individuals even at the early stage of the disease development [21,22].

Airway remodeling is also a hallmark characteristic of severe asthma and contributes to the problem of airflow obstruction, irreversibility, and severity [23▪,24,25]. Numerous studies have reported thickened airway wall and increased airway wall area and submucosal area in severe asthmatic individuals with persistent airway obstructions as compared to asthmatic individuals of lesser severity [26–30]. Furthermore, in severe asthmatic individuals, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1)% predicted was found to be inversely correlated with airway wall/area thickness and smooth muscle area [26,30]. Hence, structural changes in the airway walls contribute to airway remodeling and affect lung function and asthma severity. However, controversies exist on the correlation between subepithelial fibrosis and asthma severity, suggestive of heterogeneity in not only asthma per se but also in ‘severe asthma’. Such heterogeneity in severe asthma has great clinical implications.

Back to Top | Article Outline

CORTICOSTEROID RESPONSIVENESS

ICS are the mainstream asthmatic medications because of their relatively nonspecific anti-inflammatory property. Under steroid responsive conditions, inflammatory stimulants signal the acetylation of DNA, which is wrapped around core histones, leading to the opening up of DNA chromatin for the initiation of inflammatory gene transcription [31]. Glucocorticoid acts by binding to glucocorticoid receptors in the cytoplasm, and histone acetyltransferase acetylates glucocorticoid–glucocorticoid receptor α complex and facilitates the translocation into the nucleus. The resulting complex binds to DNA and suppresses inflammation by regulating the expression of several immune genes [32]. However, for individuals with steroid hyporesponsiveness, extensive airway remodeling is common and nonreversible even when treatment is aggressive and has been adhered to.

Back to Top | Article Outline
Steroid hyporesponsiveness in severe asthma

Steroid resistance in asthma largely relates to glucocorticoid receptor dysfunction and dysregulation of histone acetylation and deacetylation. Glucocorticoid receptor dysfunction includes either altered glucocorticoid receptor binding affinity or glucocorticoid receptor β overexpression [33–40]. Two forms of glucocorticoid receptor exist, glucocorticoid receptor α and glucocorticoid receptor β [41]. Glucocorticoid receptor β binds to DNA but not glucocorticoid; hence, glucocorticoid receptor β inhibits glucocorticoid receptor α-mediated gene expression by forming transcriptionally inactive glucocorticoid receptor α/β heterodimers in the nucleus [42–44]. Upregulation of glucocorticoid receptor β has been reported in the airway and inflammatory cells of severe asthmatic patients [33]. Inflammatory cytokines such as IL-2, IL-4, IL-17A, and IL-17F have been shown to induce glucocorticoid receptor β expression in airway structural and immune cells [38,45,46]. Dysregulation of histone acetylation and deacetylation contribute to steroid resistance when transcription sites of immune genes could not be deacetylated by histone deacetylase (HDAC) [32]. In severe asthmatic individuals, reduced HDAC activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells was detected when compared to nonsevere asthmatic patients [47,48,49▪].

Back to Top | Article Outline

HETEROGENEITY OF INFLAMMATORY RESPONSES IN SEVERE ASTHMA

Asthma has been traditionally viewed as an eosinophilic airway inflammatory disorder associated with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) [50,51]. Asthma severity has been found to be associated with the number of eosinophils in the lung and has been used as an index to assign clinical phenotypes and respective therapy in severe asthma [50,52–54]. The focus on eosinophilia in the past reflected a view of asthma as a manifestation of the Th2 response, which is characterized by the production and secretion of Th2 cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, IL-13, and IL-33. These cytokines, in turn, drive eosinophilic inflammation and tissue damage, leading to BHR and release of additional mediators. However, in severe asthma, increased expression of other cytokines including interferon-γ, IL-8, IL-18, and IL-17 has been found in bronchial biopsies of severe asthmatic patients [20,55,56,57▪], and genetic studies have found non-Th2 genes to be associated with severe asthma [21,22,58]. Furthermore, neutrophils and mast cells are appearing to be important effector cells in some severe asthmatic individuals [59–66]. Once again, these observations are indicative of the vast heterogeneity in severe asthma.

Back to Top | Article Outline

ASTHMA PHENOTYPES VERSUS ENDOTYPES

Variability in clinical characteristics, inflammatory profiles and responses to treatment has made it increasingly clear that severe asthma is not a single disease. Treating asthma based on phenotypes has been shown to be suboptimal. Although phenotyping refers to grouping individuals with similar observable characteristics, endophenotyping, or ‘endotyping’ for short, groups individuals on the basis of underlying molecular mechanisms or treatment responses [67,68▪]. At present, some successes have been achieved in clinical trials when treatments are tailored to endotypes.

Back to Top | Article Outline
Therapeutic evidence for severe asthma endotypes

By definition, to endotype is to group patients according to treatment response, hence, observations that better treatment outcomes are seen in subgroups of severe asthma patients implied the existence and usefulness of treating severe asthmatic patients according to both phenotypes and endotypes.

Mepolizumab, an anti-IL-5 monoclonal antibody, did not show clinical benefit for mild-to-moderate asthmatic patients [69,70]; however, in trials on severe asthma with persistent eosinophil expression, mebolizumab could reduce acute exacerbations accompanied by reduction in eosinophils in both the airways and blood [53,69]. These findings demonstrated the effectiveness of treating asthma based on the underlying disease mechanism.

Blocking of the IL-4/IL-13 signaling pathway with anti-IL-4 and anti-IL-13 antibodies has been ineffective in treating mild atopic asthma and moderate persistent asthma; however, lebrikizumab (anti-IL-13 antibody) has shown promising effects in those severe asthma patients with a high Th2 response [71▪,72▪,73].

A clinical trial of golimumab, an anti-tumor necrosis factor-α antibody, for the treatment of severe persistent asthma has ended with the conclusion of ineffectiveness; however, subgroup analysis indicated that golimumab reduced risk of exacerbation in those asthmatic patients with a history of sinusitis or with a bronchodilator response reversibility of 12% or more [74].

Bronchial thermoplasty involves using radiofrequency to remove airway smooth muscle cells via a bronchoscopic procedure [75–78]. Bronchial thermoplasty has been shown to be effective in reducing exacerbations and improving asthma control in well controlled asthma and improving FEV1 and asthma control in severe refractory asthma [76,78].

Back to Top | Article Outline

PROSPECTS OF PERSONALIZED MEDICINE IN ASTHMA TREATMENT

Current clinical practice and clinical trials in disease treatment tend to aim at achieving the average of the best approaches to patient care. Such a ‘one size fits all’ treatment approach is facing major challenges when it is becoming clearer that complex and common diseases such as asthma are heterogeneous in pathogenesis. Thus, personalized medicine has become the realm of future medicine. The ultimate goal of personalized medicine is to bring the right drug to the right patient at the right dose in order to maximize therapeutic efficacy and diminishes side effects [79,80▪].

In order to practice personalized medicine, physicians must consider the molecular/biological profile of an individual patient and recognize the interactions with the environment. With the advance of the ‘-omic’ era, physicians are getting closer to being able to ‘tailor’ a treatment scheme on the basis of the unique individual's biological data such as genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic profiles, in addition to the traditionally defined asthma phenotypes. As aforementioned, some successes have been achieved in clinical trials when treatments are tailored to endotypes. Although the exact molecular mechanisms underlying asthma pathogenesis and treatment response are far from understood, targeting therapy on the basis of asthma phenotypes and endotypes would at least allow physicians to target treatment on the basis of individual biology.

Back to Top | Article Outline

CONCLUSION

It has become clear that severe asthma represents a disease entity that differs from mild and moderate asthma in pathology and disease mechanisms. The classical Th1/Th2 paradigm has been the focus of asthma pathogenesis for decades, and in severe asthma regulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines production has been shown to be different from mild and moderate asthma.

Furthermore, within the conventional definitions of severe/refractory asthma, vast heterogeneity exists in the types of effector cells present, responses to treatment, and other clinical characteristics. Hence, in order to move toward personalized medicine for asthma, one must combine an individual's phenotype and endotype in designing an individualized treatment scheme.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Acknowledgements

The Richard and Edith Strauss Foundation is acknowledged.

Back to Top | Article Outline
Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Back to Top | Article Outline

REFERENCES AND RECOMMENDED READING

Papers of particular interest, published within the annual period of review, have been highlighted as:

▪ of special interest

▪▪ of outstanding interest

Additional references related to this topic can also be found in the Current World Literature section in this issue (pp. 85–86).

Back to Top | Article Outline

REFERENCES

1. Knudsen TB, Thomsen SF, Nolte H, Backer V. A population-based clinical study of allergic and nonallergic asthma. J Asthma 2009; 46:91–94.

2. Pearce N, Pekkanen J, Beasley R. How much asthma is really attributable to atopy? Thorax 1999; 54:268–272.

3. Reed CE. The natural history of asthma in adults: the problem of irreversibility. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999; 103:539–547.

4▪. Amelink M, de Nijs SB, Berger M, et al. Nonatopic males with adult onset asthma are at risk of persistent airflow limitation. Clin Exp Allergy 2012; 42:769–774.

This study identified male sex and absence of atopy to be risk factors for persistent airflow limitation in adult onset asthmatic individuals in the Netherlands, demonstrating that not all adult onset asthmatic individuals have the same underlying pathogenesis.

5. Humbert M, Durham SR, Ying S, et al. IL-4 and IL-5 mRNA and protein in bronchial biopsies from patients with atopic and nonatopic asthma: evidence against “intrinsic” asthma being a distinct immunopathologic entity. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1996; 154:1497–1504.

6. Humbert M, Grant JA, Taborda-Barata L, et al. High-affinity IgE receptor (FcepsilonRI)-bearing cells in bronchial biopsies from atopic and nonatopic asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1996; 153:1931–1937.

7. Walker C, Bode E, Boer L, et al. Allergic and nonallergic asthmatics have distinct patterns of T-cell activation and cytokine production in peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar lavage. Am Rev Respir Dis 1992; 146:109–115.

8. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Expert Panel Report. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma update on selected topics–2002. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002; 110:S141–S219.

9. Bateman ED, Hurd SS, Barnes PJ, et al. Global strategy for asthma management and prevention: GINA executive summary. Eur Respir J 2008; 31:143–178.

10. Proceedings of the ATS workshop on refractory asthma. Current understanding, recommendations, and unanswered questions. American Thoracic Society. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000; 162:2341–2351.

11. Chung KF, Godard P, Adelroth E, et al. Difficult/therapy-resistant asthma: the need for an integrated approach to define clinical phenotypes, evaluate risk factors, understand pathophysiology and find novel therapies. ERS Task Force on Difficult/Therapy-Resistant Asthma. European Respiratory Society. Eur Respir J 1999; 13:1198–1208.

12. Bousquet J, Mantzouranis E, Cruz AA, et al. Uniform definition of asthma severity, control, and exacerbations: Document presented for the World Health Organization Consultation on Severe Asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010; 126:926–938.

13▪. Bel EH, Sousa A, Fleming L, et al. Diagnosis and definition of severe refractory asthma: an international consensus statement from the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI). Thorax 2011; 66:910–917.

This article presents the definiton and diagnosis of severe asthma in children and adults on the basis of a stepwise manner that considers the distinction between severe and uncontrolled asthma, treatment adherence, alternate diagnosis, and comorbidities.

14. Anderson GP, Coyle AJ. TH2 and ‘TH2-like’ cells in allergy and asthma: pharmacological perspectives. Trends Pharmacol Sci 1994; 15:324–332.

15. Beier KC, Kallinich T, Hamelmann E. Master switches of T-cell activation and differentiation. Eur Respir J 2007; 29:804–812.

16. Barnes PJ. The cytokine network in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J Clin Invest 2008; 118:3546–3556.

17▪. Risse PA, Jo T, Suarez F, et al. Interleukin-13 inhibits proliferation and enhances contractility of human airway smooth muscle cells without change in contractile phenotype. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2011; 300:L958–L966.

This study demonstrated the ability of IL-13 to induce contractility and inhibit proliferation of human airway smooth muscle cells, and hence highlighted the possible mechanism of which IL-13 induced airway hyperresponsiveness.

18. Zimmermann N, Hershey GK, Foster PS, Rothenberg ME. Chemokines in asthma: cooperative interaction between chemokines and IL-13. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2003; 111:227–242.

19▪. Poon AH, Eidelman DH, Martin JG, et al. Pathogenesis of severe asthma. Clin Exp Allergy 2012; 42:625–637.

The article is a review on the present understanding of the different signaling pathways underlying the pathogenesis of severe asthma and a proposal of pathways associated with individual endotypes.

20. Broide DH. Immunologic and inflammatory mechanisms that drive asthma progression to remodeling. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008; 121:560–570.

21. Barbato A, Turato G, Baraldo S, et al. Epithelial damage and angiogenesis in the airways of children with asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2006; 174:975–981.

22. Saglani S, Payne DN, Zhu J, et al. Early detection of airway wall remodeling and eosinophilic inflammation in preschool wheezers. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007; 176:858–864.

23▪. Al-Muhsen S, Johnson JR, Hamid Q. Remodeling in asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011; 128:451–462.

This review covered the histology, molecular mechanisms, and clinical relevance of airway remodeling in asthma.

24. Bergeron C, Tulic MK, Hamid Q. Airway remodelling in asthma: from benchside to clinical practice. Can Respir J 2010; 17:e85–e93.

25. Halwani R, Al-Muhsen S, Hamid Q. Airway remodeling in asthma. Curr Opin Pharmacol 2010; 10:236–245.

26. Aysola RS, Hoffman EA, Gierada D, et al. Airway remodeling measured by multidetector CT is increased in severe asthma and correlates with pathology. Chest 2008; 134:1183–1191.

27. Benayoun L, Druilhe A, Dombret MC, et al. Airway structural alterations selectively associated with severe asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2003; 167:1360–1368.

28. Bourdin A, Neveu D, Vachier I, et al. Specificity of basement membrane thickening in severe asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007; 119:1367–1374.

29. Bumbacea D, Campbell D, Nguyen L, et al. Parameters associated with persistent airflow obstruction in chronic severe asthma. Eur Respir J 2004; 24:122–128.

30. Pepe C, Foley S, Shannon J, et al. Differences in airway remodeling between subjects with severe and moderate asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005; 116:544–549.

31. Ito K, Barnes PJ, Adcock IM. Glucocorticoid receptor recruitment of histone deacetylase 2 inhibits interleukin-1beta-induced histone H4 acetylation on lysines 8 and 12. Mol Cell Biol 2000; 20:6891–6903.

32. Barnes PJ. Mechanisms and resistance in glucocorticoid control of inflammation. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2010; 120:76–85.

33. Bergeron C, Fukakusa M, Olivenstein R, et al. Increased glucocorticoid receptor-beta expression, but not decreased histone deacetylase 2, in severe asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006; 117:703–705.

34. Christodoulopoulos P, Leung DY, Elliott MW, et al. Increased number of glucocorticoid receptor-beta-expressing cells in the airways in fatal asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000; 106:479–484.

35. Hamid QA, Wenzel SE, Hauk PJ, et al. Increased glucocorticoid receptor beta in airway cells of glucocorticoid-insensitive asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1999; 159:1600–1604.

36. Irusen E, Matthews JG, Takahashi A, et al. p38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase-induced glucocorticoid receptor phosphorylation reduces its activity: role in steroid-insensitive asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002; 109:649–657.

37. Kam JC, Szefler SJ, Surs W, et al. Combination IL-2 and IL-4 reduces glucocorticoid receptor-binding affinity and T cell response to glucocorticoids. J Immunol 1993; 151:3460–3466.

38. Leung DY, Hamid Q, Vottero A, et al. Association of glucocorticoid insensitivity with increased expression of glucocorticoid receptor beta. J Exp Med 1997; 186:1567–1574.

39. Matthews JG, Ito K, Barnes PJ, Adcock IM. Defective glucocorticoid receptor nuclear translocation and altered histone acetylation patterns in glucocorticoid-resistant patients. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004; 113:1100–1108.

40. Sher ER, Leung DY, Surs W, et al. Steroid-resistant asthma. Cellular mechanisms contributing to inadequate response to glucocorticoid therapy. J Clin Invest 1994; 93:33–39.

41. Hollenberg SM, Weinberger C, Ong ES, et al. Primary structure and expression of a functional human glucocorticoid receptor cDNA. Nature 1985; 318:635–641.

42. Bamberger CM, Bamberger AM, de CM, Chrousos GP. Glucocorticoid receptor beta, a potential endogenous inhibitor of glucocorticoid action in humans. J Clin Invest 1995; 95:2435–2441.

43. Oakley RH, Sar M, Cidlowski JA. The human glucocorticoid receptor beta isoform. Expression, biochemical properties, and putative function. J Biol Chem 1996; 271:9550–9559.

44. Oakley RH, Jewell CM, Yudt MR, et al. The dominant negative activity of the human glucocorticoid receptor beta isoform. Specificity and mechanisms of action. J Biol Chem 1999; 274:27857–27866.

45. Tliba O, Cidlowski JA, Amrani Y. CD38 expression is insensitive to steroid action in cells treated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma by a mechanism involving the up-regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor beta isoform. Mol Pharmacol 2006; 69:588–596.

46. Vazquez-Tello A, Semlali A, Chakir J, et al. Induction of glucocorticoid receptor-beta expression in epithelial cells of asthmatic airways by T-helper type 17 cytokines. Clin Exp Allergy 2010; 40:1312–1322.

47. Hew M, Bhavsar P, Torrego A, et al. Relative corticosteroid insensitivity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in severe asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2006; 174:134–141.

48. Ito K, Hanazawa T, Tomita K, et al. Oxidative stress reduces histone deacetylase 2 activity and enhances IL-8 gene expression: role of tyrosine nitration. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2004; 315:240–245.

49▪. Milara J, Navarro A, Almudever P, et al. Oxidative stress-induced glucocorticoid resistance is prevented by dual PDE3/PDE4 inhibition in human alveolar macrophages. Clin Exp Allergy 2011; 41:535–546.

This study demonstrated an anti-inflammatory mechanism by overcoming oxidative stress-induced steroid resistance in alvoelar macrophages via inhibition of PDE3/PDE4, implicative of potential therapeutic targets.

50. Fahy JV. Eosinophilic and neutrophilic inflammation in asthma: insights from clinical studies. Proc Am Thorac Soc 2009; 6:256–259.

51. Hogan SP, Mould A, Kikutani H, et al. Aeroallergen-induced eosinophilic inflammation, lung damage, and airways hyperreactivity in mice can occur independently of IL-4 and allergen-specific immunoglobulins. J Clin Invest 1997; 99:1329–1339.

52. Haldar P, Pavord ID, Shaw DE, et al. Cluster analysis and clinical asthma phenotypes. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008; 178:218–224.

53. Haldar P, Brightling CE, Hargadon B, et al. Mepolizumab and exacerbations of refractory eosinophilic asthma. N Engl J Med 2009; 360:973–984.

54. Hogan SP, Rosenberg HF, Moqbel R, et al. Eosinophils: biological properties and role in health and disease. Clin Exp Allergy 2008; 38:709–750.

55. Barnes PJ. Corticosteroid effects on cell signalling. Eur Respir J 2006; 27:413–426.

56. Laprise C, Laviolette M, Boutet M, Boulet LP. Asymptomatic airway hyperresponsiveness: relationships with airway inflammation and remodelling. Eur Respir J 1999; 14:63–73.

57▪. Portelli M, Sayers I. Genetic basis for personalized medicine in asthma. Expert Rev Respir Med 2012; 6:223–236.

This article reviewed the results of genetic association studies with various asthma treatment outcomes and discussed the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with various asthma drugs.

58. Hackett TL, Warner SM, Stefanowicz D, et al. Induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in primary airway epithelial cells from patients with asthma by transforming growth factor-beta1. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2009; 180:122–133.

59. Balzar S, Chu HW, Strand M, Wenzel S. Relationship of small airway chymase-positive mast cells and lung function in severe asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2005; 171:431–439.

60. Balzar S, Fajt ML, Comhair SA, et al. Mast cell phenotype, location, and activation in severe asthma: data from the severe asthma research program. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2011; 183:299–309.

61. Hastie AT, Moore WC, Meyers DA, et al. Analyses of asthma severity phenotypes and inflammatory proteins in subjects stratified by sputum granulocytes. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010; 125:1028–1036.

62. Miranda C, Busacker A, Balzar S, et al. Distinguishing severe asthma phenotypes: role of age at onset and eosinophilic inflammation. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004; 113:101–108.

63. Ordonez CL, Shaughnessy TE, Matthay MA, Fahy JV. Increased neutrophil numbers and IL-8 levels in airway secretions in acute severe asthma: Clinical and biologic significance. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000; 161:1185–1190.

64. Shaw DE, Berry MA, Hargadon B, et al. Association between neutrophilic airway inflammation and airflow limitation in adults with asthma. Chest 2007; 132:1871–1875.

65. Wenzel SE, Schwartz LB, Langmack EL, et al. Evidence that severe asthma can be divided pathologically into two inflammatory subtypes with distinct physiologic and clinical characteristics. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1999; 160:1001–1008.

66. Woodruff PG, Khashayar R, Lazarus SC, et al. Relationship between airway inflammation, hyperresponsiveness, and obstruction in asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2001; 108:753–758.

67. Anderson GP. Endotyping asthma: new insights into key pathogenic mechanisms in a complex, heterogeneous disease. Lancet 2008; 372:1107–1119.

68▪. Lotvall J, Akdis CA, Bacharier LB, et al. Asthma endotypes: a new approach to classification of disease entities within the asthma syndrome. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011; 127:355–360.

The article is a good introduction to the concept of endotyping asthma.

69. Flood-Page P, Swenson C, Faiferman I, et al. A study to evaluate safety and efficacy of mepolizumab in patients with moderate persistent asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007; 176:1062–1071.

70. Flood-Page PT, Menzies-Gow AN, Kay AB, Robinson DS. Eosinophil's role remains uncertain as antiinterleukin-5 only partially depletes numbers in asthmatic airway. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2003; 167:199–204.

71▪. Catley MC, Coote J, Bari M, Tomlinson KL. Monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of asthma. Pharmacol Ther 2011; 132:333–351.

The article is a good comprehensive review on the biology and clinical trials of monocloncal antibodies for the treatment of asthma.

72▪. Corren J, Lemanske RF, Hanania NA, et al. Lebrikizumab treatment in adults with asthma. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:1088–1098.

The article is an example of the usefulness of considering one's molecular biology in treating asthma.

73. Steinke JW. Antiinterleukin-4 therapy. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am 2004; 24:599–614.vi.

74. Wenzel SE, Barnes PJ, Bleecker ER, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockade in severe persistent asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2009; 179:549–558.

75. Castro M, Rubin AS, Laviolette M, et al. Effectiveness and safety of bronchial thermoplasty in the treatment of severe asthma: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2010; 181:116–124.

76. Cox G, Thomson NC, Rubin AS, et al. Asthma control during the year after bronchial thermoplasty. N Engl J Med 2007; 356:1327–1337.

77. Miller JD, Cox G, Vincic L, et al. A prospective feasibility study of bronchial thermoplasty in the human airway. Chest 2005; 127:1999–2006.

78. Pavord ID, Cox G, Thomson NC, et al. Safety and efficacy of bronchial thermoplasty in symptomatic, severe asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007; 176:1185–1191.

79. Piquette-Miller M, Grant DM. The art and science of personalized medicine. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2007; 81:311–315.

80▪. Weiss ST. New approaches to personalized medicine for asthma: where are we? J Allergy Clin Immunol 2012; 129:327–334.

The article is a discussion on the challenges and promises of personalized medicine for asthma from the perspecitve of genetics.

Keywords:

asthma; endotypes; personalized medicine; phenotypes

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Login

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.