Corticosteroid-induced improvement in the PC20 of adenosine monophosphate is more closely associated with reduction in airway inflammation than improvement in the PC20 of methacholine

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Oct 1;164(7):1127-32. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.164.7.2102135.


It has been suggested in cross-sectional studies that provocation with adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP) more closely reflects the inflammatory process in asthma than does provocation with methacholine or histamine. We investigated whether the steroid-induced improvement in the provocative concentration of AMP producing a 20% decline in FEV1 (PC20 AMP) is more closely associated with the concomitant reduction in airway inflammation than is the improvement in PC20 methacholine. In 120 asthmatic patients, we measured PC20 methacholine and PC20 AMP as well as sputum induction and nitric oxide (NO) in exhaled air before and after 2 weeks of treatment with corticosteroids. Improvement in PC20 AMP was solely related to reduction in airway inflammation (i.e., change in the number of sputum eosinophils, lymphocytes, epithelial cells, and concentration of NO in exhaled air). In contrast, improvement in PC20 methacholine was related to both reduction in airway inflammation (i.e., change in the number of sputum eosinophils and lymphocytes) and increase in FEV1 %predicted. The total explained variance of the improvement in bronchial hyperresponsiveness was greater for AMP than for methacholine (36% versus 22%, respectively). We conclude that PC20 AMP is more sensitive to changes in acute airway inflammation than is PC20 methacholine, further reinforcing the notion that PC20 AMP can be a useful tool for monitoring the effects of antiinflammatory therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate*
  • Adult
  • Androstadienes / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Fluticasone
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*


  • Androstadienes
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Fluticasone
  • Prednisone