Intravenous (IV) antibiotics are a mainstay of therapy in children with cystic fibrosis. It is unclear, however, over what period associated improvements in pulmonary function are maintained, and to what extent the underlying inflammatory process is impeded in children admitted for a course of IV antibiotics. This was a prospective, interventional study of 14 children (median age, 14 years; interquartile range, 10-14) with cystic fibrosis who were regular sputum producers and who required admission for a 2-week course of IV antibiotics. Children performed spirometry and provided a sputum sample prior to starting IV antibiotics and then weekly for 6 weeks, the first 2 weeks of which IV antibiotics were given. Sputum IL-8, TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-10, MIP1-alpha, and elastase were measured. Seven children were asked to repeat the protocol in a subsequent exacerbation to assess similarities in response to therapy. Significant improvements were seen in forced expired volume in 1 sec (FEV(1)) in association with IV antibiotics (27% relative improvement in predicted from baseline to end of week 1, median FEV(1) 41.3% increasing to 52.2%), but this continued only 1 week following cessation of antibiotics. Although IL-8 demonstrated a trend for reduction in association with antibiotics, no significant profile was demonstrated for any of the cytokines assessed. IL-10 was detectable in 64% of samples (all <100 pg/ml). In children with two episodes assessed, although there was a close correlation of FEV(1) and FVC between exacerbations (before antibiotics), no significant correlation was seen for IL-8, TNF-alpha, or IL-10 measured in both sets of samples at any sample point (indeed, a discordant response was seen between sample points in the two exacerbations). Although FEV(1) temporarily improves in response to admission for IV antibiotics, no such response is seen in sputum cytokine values. In addition, assessment of cytokines in subsequent exacerbations does not show a similar pattern of response to treatment.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.