The effects of regular inhaled formoterol and budesonide on preformed Th-2 cytokines in mild asthmatics

Respir Med. 2002 Dec;96(12):1021-5. doi: 10.1053/rmed.2002.1388.


In a recent placebo-controlled study in mild atopic asthmatics, we observed a significant decrease in eosinophils in the bronchial submucosa, after 2 months oftreatment with inhaled formoterol and budesonide. Biopsy material from each treatment group; formoterol (24 microg bid), budesonide (400 microg b. i. d.) and placebo has been further assessed to investigatethe role of Th-2 cytokines by immunohistochemistry using Mabs to eosinophils as an index of inflammation, IL-4 and IL-5. Treatment with formoterol significantly reduced the number of eosinophils (EG2+) in the submucosa and epithelium, but this was not paralleled by changes in cytokine immunoreactivity In contrast, treatment with budesonide significantly reduced both the number of eosinophils (EG2+) and immunoreactivity for IL-4 and IL-5 in the submucosa. Thus, while budesonide has effects on cytokines involved in eosinophil recruitmentthis explanation does not apply tothe eosinopaenia observed with the long-acting beta2 adrenoreceptor agonist formoterol.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Bronchi / immunology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Budesonide / therapeutic use*
  • Cytokines / analysis*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Eosinophilia / drug therapy
  • Ethanolamines / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Formoterol Fumarate
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / analysis
  • Interleukin-5 / analysis
  • Male
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Ethanolamines
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-4
  • Budesonide
  • Formoterol Fumarate