Neonates with reduced neonatal lung function have systemic low-grade inflammation

Bo L.K. Chawes, Jakob Stokholm, Klaus Bønnelykke, Susanne Brix Pedersen, Hans Flinker Bisgaard

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    Background: Children and adults with asthma and impaired lung function have been reported to have low-grade systemic inflammation, but it is unknown whether this inflammation starts before symptoms and in particular whether low-grade inflammation is present in asymptomatic neonates with reduced lung function. ObjectiveWe sought to investigate the possible association between neonatal lung function and biomarkers of systemic inflammation. 
    Methods: Plasma levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and CXCL8 (IL-8) were measured at age 6 months in 300 children of the Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood2000 birth cohort who had completed neonatal lung function testing at age 4 weeks. Associations between neonatal lung function indices and inflammatory biomarkers were investigated by conventional statistics and unsupervised principal component analysis. 
    Results: The neonatal forced expiratory volume at 0.5 seconds was inversely associated with hs-CRP (β-coefficient, −0.12; 95% CI, −0.21 to −0.04; P <.01) and IL-6 (β-coefficient, −0.10; 95% CI, −0.18 to −0.01; P = .03) levels. The multivariate principal component analysis approach, including hs-CRP, IL-6, TNF-α, and CXCL8, confirmed a uniform upregulated inflammatory profile in children with reduced forced expiratory volume at 0.5 seconds (P = .02). Adjusting for body mass index at birth, maternal smoking, older children in the home, neonatal bacterial airway colonization, infections 14 days before, and asthmatic symptoms, as well as virus-induced wheezing, at any time before biomarker assessment at age 6 months did not affect the associations. Conclusion: Diminished neonatal lung function is associated with upregulated systemic inflammatory markers, such as hs-CRP.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)1450-1456
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Asthma
    • Children
    • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
    • Proinflammatory cytokines
    • Spirometry


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