Relationship between the perception of dyspnoea and airway inflammatory markers

Respir Med. 2002 Mar;96(3):150-4. doi: 10.1053/rmed.2001.1248.


Poor dyspnoea perception in asthmatic patients seems to be associated with increased risk of asthma exacerbation. We have studied the relationship between basel ne dyspnoea perception and inflammatory markers in sputum in eight patients with mild asthma and in 13 patients with moderate to severe asthma. The perception of dyspnoea was scored on the Borg scale. Eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP) was measured by fluoroimmunoassay and by an interleukin (IL)-5 sandwich ELISA. The baseline Borg score was significantly higher in patients with severe asthma than in patients with mild to moderate asthma (4.1 +/- 0.29 vs. 2.28 +/- 0.28, P<0.05). The proportion of eosinophil and ECP levels in the sputum were significantly higher in patients with moderate to severe asthma. IL-5 in sputum was significantly increased in moderate to severe asthmatic patients compared to mild asthmatic patients. A significant relationship was found between the baseline perception score and FEV1/FVC (r = -0.53, P<0.01), sputum eosinophils (r = 0.70, P<0.01) and sputum ECP (r = 0.62, P<0.01). These findings suggest that the baseline perception score is related to inflammatory markers in sputum, and that the perception of dyspnoea as well as airway inflammatory markers may be considered to evaluate asthma severity.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / analysis
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Dyspnea / immunology
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology*
  • Eosinophils / chemistry
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Sputum / chemistry
  • Sputum / immunology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Biomarkers