Nasal wash as an alternative to bronchoalveolar lavage in detecting early pulmonary inflammation in children with cystic fibrosis

Respirology. 2005 Mar;10(2):177-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2005.00649.x.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether nasal inflammation reflects pulmonary inflammation in young children with cystic fibrosis (CF), as assessed by inflammatory markers in nasal wash (NW) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), respectively.

Methods: CF patients younger than 6 years of age who were to undergo bronchoscopy for routine BAL from May 2000 to October 2001 were recruited for this study. NW was collected immediately after the patient was sedated for bronchoscopy. Total cell counts (TCC), differential cell counts and interleukin (IL)-8 levels (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were assessed in NW and BAL.

Results: In total, 19 children with CF (mean age, 1.9 years; SD, 1.7 years) were included in the study. There was a significant relationship between IL-8 and the percentages of neutrophils in NW (r (2) = 0.76; P < 0.001) and in BAL fluid (r 2 = 0.62; P = 0.006). Similarly, IL-8 concentrations in the NW correlated with those in the BAL (r 2 = 0.48; P = 0.036) and neutrophil percentages in NW correlated significantly with those in BAL (r 2 = 0.7; P = 0.004).

Conclusion: When measured under 'ideal' conditions, nasal IL-8 reflects lower airway levels and may reflect the inflammatory stimulus that results in neutrophilic inflammation. These data encourage further assessment of nasal wash under clinically appropriate conditions to determine its utility for assessing inflammation in young children with CF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Cell Count
  • Chemokines, CXC / analysis
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis
  • Male
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid* / chemistry
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid* / cytology
  • Nasal Provocation Tests
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Pneumonia / complications
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia / physiopathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Interleukin-8