Noninvasive Sampling of Mucosal Lining Fluid for the Quantification of In Vivo Upper Airway Immune-mediator Levels

Helene Mygind Wolsk, Bo L. Chawes, Jonathan Thorsen, Jakob Stokholm, Klaus Bønnelykke, Susanne Brix Pedersen, H. Bisgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This protocol describes noninvasive sampling of undisturbed upper airway mucosal lining fluid. It also details the extraction procedure used prior to the analysis of immune mediators in fluid eluates for the study of the airway topical immune signature, without the need for stimulation procedures (often used by other techniques). The mucosal lining fluid is sampled on a strip of filter paper placed at the anterior part of the inferior turbinate and left for 2 min of absorption. Analytes are eluted from the filter papers, and the extracted protein-based eluates are analyzed by an electrochemiluminescence-based immunoassay, allowing for the high-sensitivity quantification of low- and high-level analytes in the same sample. We measured the in vivo levels of 20 preselected immune mediators related to specific immune signaling pathways in the upper airway mucosa, but the technique is not limited to that specific panel or sampling site. The technique was first implemented in 7-year-old children from the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood2000 (COPSAC2000) cohort with allergic rhinitis. It was thereafter used in the longitudinal COPSAC2010 birth cohort, sampled at 1 month, 2 years, and 6 years of age and at instances of acute respiratory symptoms. We successfully obtained and analyzed samples from 620 (89%) of 700 1-month-old children; a few samples were below the assay detection limit (reported as the median (Inter-Quartile Range (IQR)). The number of samples below the detection limit (i.e. from 0 to the set point for the lower limit of detection) for each mediator was 29 (7.25 - 119.5). This technique enables the quantification of the in vivo airway mucosal immune profile from birth, can be applied longitudinally, and can be applied to studies on the effect of genetics and early-life environmental exposures, pathophysiology, endotyping, and monitoring of respiratory diseases, and development and evaluation of novel therapeutics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number126
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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