Osteopontin expression and relation to disease severity in human asthma

Eur Respir J. 2011 Feb;37(2):331-41. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00017810. Epub 2010 Jun 18.


Recent studies have associated osteopontin (OPN) with allergic inflammation; however, its role in human asthma remains unclear. The aim of this study was to measure OPN levels in the serum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and bronchial tissue of healthy controls and asthmatics, identify cellular sources of OPN and examine possible correlations between OPN expression, disease severity and airway remodelling. Serum samples were obtained from 35 mild-to-moderate asthmatics, 19 severe asthmatics and 17 healthy controls in the steady state and in cases of exacerbation. Of these subjects, 29 asthmatics and nine controls underwent bronchoscopy with endobronchial biopsy and BALF collection. OPN expression was determined by ELISA and immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence. Reticular basement membrane thickness and goblet cell hyperplasia were also determined. Serum and BALF OPN levels were significantly increased in all asthmatics in the steady state, whereas serum levels decreased during exacerbations. OPN was upregulated in the bronchial tissue of all patients, and expressed by epithelial, airway and vascular smooth muscle cells, myofibroblasts, T-lymphocytes and mast cells. OPN expression correlated with reticular basement membrane thickness and was more prominent in subepithelial inflammatory cells in severe compared to mild-to-moderate asthma. OPN expression is upregulated in human asthma and associated with remodelling changes, and its subepithelial expression correlates with disease severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Airway Remodeling
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Basement Membrane / pathology
  • Bronchi / chemistry
  • Bronchi / metabolism
  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Goblet Cells / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / chemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Myofibroblasts / chemistry
  • Osteopontin / biosynthesis
  • Osteopontin / blood*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Up-Regulation


  • Osteopontin