The nasal passage of subjects with asthma has a decreased ability to warm and humidify inspired air

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Nov 1;164(9):1640-6. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.164.9.2103086.


We previously showed that individuals with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) had a reduced ability to condition air, which was improved by inflammation. We hypothesized that individuals with perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR) would condition air like SAR with inflammation. Because individuals with asthma usually have inflammation in the nose, we hypothesized that they would condition air like individuals with PAR. We performed a prospective, parallel study on 15 normal subjects, 15 subjects with SAR outside their allergy season, 15 subjects with PAR, and 15 subjects with asthma. Cold, dry air (CDA) was delivered to the nose and the temperature and humidity of the air were measured before entering and after exiting the nasal cavity. The total water gradient (TWG) was calculated and represents the nasal conditioning capacity. The TWG in the SAR group was significantly lower than that in normal subjects. There were no significant differences in TWG between the PAR and normal groups. Subjects with asthma had a significantly lower TWG than did normal subjects. There was a significant negative correlation between TWG and Aas score in the group with asthma (r(s) = -0.8, p = 0.0007). Our data show that subjects with asthma have a reduced ability of the nose to condition CDA compared with normal subjects, but which is similar to SAR out of season.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Cavity / immunology
  • Nasal Cavity / physiopathology*
  • Nasal Mucosa / immunology
  • Nasal Mucosa / physiopathology*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / physiopathology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / physiopathology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Temperature*