The effect of inhaled corticosteroids on bronchoalveolar lavage cells and IL-8 levels in stable COPD patients

Respir Med. 2005 Dec;99(12):1494-500. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2005.04.025. Epub 2005 Jun 8.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by a chronic inflammatory process in the large and small airways, as well as in the lung parenchyma. Although the role of oral corticosteroids in the management of acute exacerbations of COPD is well documented, its role in stable COPD is not clear. We examined the anti-inflammatory effect of inhaled budesonide on the percentage of neutrophils and on interleukin-8 (IL-8) levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and their correlation with spirometry and symptom scores. Twenty-six patients with stable COPD were randomised, in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial with either 800 microg of inhaled budesonide or placebo for a 6-month period. The budesonide-treated subjects had significant reductions in IL-8 levels in the BAL after therapy (mean+/-sem, 1.53+/-0.72 at baseline vs. 0.70+/-0.48 ng/ml at 6 months, P=0.004) and a reduction in the mean percentages of neutrophils (17.16+/-2.67% vs. 13.25+/-2.28% P=0.002). The improvement in sputum production was of borderline (P=0.058) significance but there was no improvement in lung function. In stable patients with COPD, treatment with inhaled budesonide for a period of 6 months has a positive effect on markers of lung inflammation, as assessed by reduction in percentage neutrophils and IL-8 concentration in BAL.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Budesonide / administration & dosage*
  • Budesonide / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Spirometry
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Interleukin-8
  • Budesonide