Cytokines As Biomarker May Uncover Uncontrolled Asthma

Study showing that new biomarker may uncover uncontrolled asthma; as cytokines are a type of proteins that are important to the signaling between cells in the body’s immune system; for example in the case of an infection or injury. This indicating that the cytokine interleukin(IL)-26 could be using as a biological marker (biomarker); for uncontrolled asthma in both adults and children; and could perhaps also be a future goal for new drugs against asthma.

According to the study it stating that roughly 10% of the population suffering from a problem with asthma; and society pays an estimated SEK 30 billion for this disease each year. On a global level, several hundred million people suffer from asthma; and in several countries there is a significant degree of mortality.

Cytokines as biomarker

Despite ongoing development of existing treatment principles as well as new treatments; there are currently patients who develop such severe asthma that they are not helping by the drugs they receive so called uncontrolled asthma. Researchers across the world therefore continue to study the underlying disease mechanisms. In the now published study has examining the presence of the cytokine interleukin(IL)-26 in adults patients with asthma.

The work is a continuation of previous studies into IL-26; where Anders Lindén’s research group has among other things been able to demonstrate higher levels of local IL-26 in the airways in certain children with uncontrolled asthma. The current results show similarities between adults and children, i.e. on average there are substantially higher levels of local IL-26 in airways; in the group of subjects with uncontrolled asthma compared to subjects with controlled asthma.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

This finding is clear even though both patient groups are being treating with anti-inflammatory drugs;  and bronchodilators according to the most recent international guidelines. At the same time we are showing that all patients with asthma; regardless of the severity of the disease; latter finding is very interesting since we have found in a previous study that IL-26 contributing to the mobilisation of important anti-bacterial cells, so called neutrophils, during an infection.

In light of existing experimental litterature; these findings could be interpreted as a general increase of local IL-26 as a consequence of severe asthma and that it in fact has a protective effect against inflammation. The generally lower level compared to healthy persons could then be due to the long-term cortisone treatment; that the majority of patients with asthma receive.