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Airway molecular phenotypes in pediatric asthma

Aujla, Shean J; Ross, Kristie R; Chmiel, James F; Holguin, Fernando

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 2 - p 122–126
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e328344874d
Pediatric asthma and development of atopy: Edited by Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani and Leonard B. Bacharier

Purpose of review The review discusses what is known regarding airway molecular phenotypes in pediatric asthma, specifically biomarkers that have been studied and their relation to the various clinical phenotypes of asthma.

Recent findings Pediatric asthma is a complex and heterogeneous disease that consists of several clinical phenotypes. There have been numerous studies investigating inflammatory markers that would increase our understanding of the underlying pathogenesis of asthma as well as facilitate the discovery of therapies for these patients. Some of these biomarkers, such as exhaled nitric oxide, exhaled breath condensate, urine leukotriene E4 and induced sputum are less invasive measures of inflammation than obtaining bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in children. Although recent data reveal that some of these measures may be helpful in classifying and managing pediatric asthma, further studies are critically needed before any of these biomarkers are able to be routinely used in clinical asthma care.

Summary The search for noninvasive biomarkers to help elucidate specific underlying molecular phenotypes in pediatric asthma should be a continued priority as we work towards improved care and management of these children.

aDivision of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

bDivision of Pediatric Pulmonology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Case Medical Center/Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Correspondence to Shean J. Aujla, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA Tel: +1 412 692 8112; fax: +1 412 692 6645; e-mail:

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